Here I am at my desk, working on a sermon, thinking about some things, trying to get over a headache, and sleep deprivation. So maybe I am not working, more like vegetating.
Here are some thoughts that have been floating through my head about being here in the Shoals area that I have been wanting to write about, but have not known what to say. This area is a big Church of Christ area. They dominate this area, not the Baptist but the Church of Christ. Do you know what Church of Christ believe in, and hold too?
They don't believe in Women as Preachers or Pastors that's for sure; "In each congregation, which has existed long enough to become fully organized, there is a plurality of elders or presbyters who serve as the governing body. These men are selected by the local congregations on the basis of qualifications set down in the scriptures (1 Timothy 3:1-8). Serving under the elders are deacons, teachers, and evangelists or ministers. " Nope, no women.
You'll find no piano, organ, guitars, keyboard, drums or any other musical instrument in a Church of Christ church; "a return to New Testament Faith and practice - acappella singing is the only music used in the worship. " Nor will you find other forms of worship like "candles, incense, and other similar elements", its not N. T. Can't have contemporary service or Taize or emerging worship there.
They disdain the Protestant and Catholic churches. The Churches of Christ historically do not use the Old Testament to authorize practices, relying solely on the New Testament for matters of practice. They believe that the commands of the Old Testament were to Jews (under Mosaic Law) only and were done away with when Christ died. What no OT?
They believe that only members of the Church of Christ are Christians, the rest of us are going to hell. Well, well, and who made you God?
I have a very good child hood friend who is Church of Christ. I have known about these beliefs and practices for a long time. But the Church of Christ were not in the majority in my hometown or any of the other areas I have lived. But here in Florence, they are. They put a lot of pressure on persons who don't believe the way they do and who are not members of their church. That means they really pressure my members to come to the Church of Christ.
As my members say though, they aren't intersted, they see how these people live their lives outside of church and it is confusing. But can you imagine what pressure they have put on my members that now they have a female pastor? The heat has been turned up as hot as the summer heat wave we are in. My members have been asking what's the best way to deal with some of the things being said to them, what to say? One of my members told a friend of her's this; "now so and so we are just not going to go there. You and I are just going to disagree, and you and are best friends, and I would rather be best friends that get into an argument that is going to ruin our friendship".(That includes playing cards mind you.) So far that has worked for them, but some of the others are really being given a hard time.
This church and I are the big topic of conversation around here.
And we are all going to hell, especially me, according to them.