"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Monday, February 6, 2012

Grace Grieving

     There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

   a time to plant and a time to uproot. . .
             a time to tear down and a time to build,
   a time to weep and a time to laugh,
             a time to mourn and a time to dance. . .
   a time to tear and a time to mend,
             a time to be silent and a time to speak. . .

     I don't feel a sense either of victory or of defeat. I just feel sad. I think all of us do, no matter what "side" we identify with. We finally saw laid out before us in black and white that the family at Grace is deeply split.
     That and other evidence convinces us that the vote was counted with meticulous care and integrity. One of those who counted the votes (until 1:30 this morning!) said to us today, "Everyone is hurting. There is carnage everywhere. It's a time to be silent and a time to reflect, to give God's spirit space to work."    
     We agree. It's the end of a chapter, if not an era. Jerry and I have been part of this church for 36 and 39 years, respectively. We came with our first spouses as young couples, were baptized here, raised our children here, were widowed and married again here. Whether we leave or stay, we will never be the same.
     The church will never be the same, either. We can only hope Biblical faith will be restored, the body of Christ here will be healed, and from what we hope will just be a close call it will emerge stronger and better than ever. 
     But right now it is at least a time to step back and grieve.

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