The Importance of Getting Kicked Out

I’ve been thinking on the issues facing the PCUSA and it occurred to me that the point is the Gospel. The point is not church. It is not ordination. It is not the definition of “marriage” or “family.” Amazingly, the point is not even equal rights. The point is the Gospel. The point is the relationship between God and humanity.
The church is an institution that was created, organized and structured to assist the meeting of those who heard and received the Gospel. Leaders for the institution were selected and designated through procedure and ceremony for special responsibilities within the institution to guide and assist those who heard and received the Gospel. These responsibilities included a number of ceremonies to be led by these leaders alone in hopes of protecting, guiding and assisting those who heard and received the Gospel.
Those who heard and received the Gospel brought life and hope to those around them in the greater community. They sought to share the Gospel. Their primary motivational force was and has been to teach those who live near them that they are valued by their Creator in a manner that was far beyond their imaginations. This included, as they had experienced, a relationship with their Creator that was love best expressed in obedience. Sometimes sharing this Gospel to their neighbors cost them their possessions and sometimes it cost them their families and sometimes it cost them their own lives. They found within the Gospel a stalwart truth that taught them that any of this sacrifice was worth it, entirely.
One essential element within this Gospel was that they did not have within themselves any resource by which to achieve or through which to create purity or wholeness. This essential element included the truth that they must rely abjectly on the one who brought the Gospel initially. All power and wholeness was to be ascribed to this one still
We now come to a place within the life of the institution, as we have before, where there is a battle raging over the retaining or obtaining of power. We are at the place, again, where those designated haves and have-nots are at odds and each is confident of the rightness of their position. But this has nothing to do with the Gospel. It has to do with power. For those who point to the definition of words as battle sites at which to find defeat or victory, the issue remains power. For those who claim victimhood as an ally in the battle over rights, the issue remains power. The war for power within the institution does not alter or establish or have anything to do with the Gospel.
The Gospel is now and always will be expressed in the everyday life of individuals and their small communities. It will never be within the purview of institutions. It is its own authority and is obeyed by individuals who show this by treating others with kindness or dignity beyond their societal rights. Participating in any of the institutional battles would make those under the Gospel’s authority ashamed.
For individuals who live under the authority of the Gospel within the institution, there is one choice and that is to teach, celebrate and live out obedience to the Gospel. That work should be done until one is asked to leave by the institution that does not want them anymore. This is the example of Jesus, the disciples, the reformers and others in the life of the Gospel until we reached America, where we started the practice of leaving. Those before us did not leave. They got kicked out and that is the example to follow.kicked out We remain and share the Gospel until we are kicked out.
And this is important because we will then clearly learn and demonstrate that our dismissal doesn’t change us or what we do with our lives. Whether we are in the institution or not, we live this Good News in obedience to the one who brought it to us.

One response to “The Importance of Getting Kicked Out

  1. Good stuff, Geoff. Well said.

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