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The Ten Commandments and the Mainline Church

September 30, 2011

I have to give the children’s sermon this coming Sunday and in preparation I decided to read some commentary on the Hebrew Scripture lectionary text.  It just so happens that we are reading the Ten Commandments, and I came upon this article by Amy Erickson of the Illif School of Theology:

If I may be so bold (since this is about preaching the Ten Commandments, perhaps a little brazenness is in order!), I’d like to think out-loud about how struggling, mainline churches might imagine themselves in the wilderness. I hear so much conversation that depicts the mainline church in the U.S. as dying, in part, because it no longer enjoys a privileged place in society.

Like the Israelites in the wilderness, when churches don’t have the money to pay the grocery or water bill, they sometimes long for the way things used to be, for the fabulous food in Egypt. After all, journeying through the wilderness can be terrifying — all the securities and apparent guarantees of survival are gone — but the wilderness could also provide the church with an opportunity to re-define itself according to what matters most.

As they say, read the whole thing.  I don’t agree with everything here, but that part about the mainline church mourning its priviledged place makes some sense and makes me think about the congregation I serve.  It’s too easy to just paint the past so simply, but there is some truth there.  What if losing something means gaining something else that’s even more valuable?

I dunno…I think some long-haired guy said something about losing your life to find it and all that…

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