Friday, February 16, 2007

My Dad—My Denomination: Dealing with Health Issues.

Many years ago my dad joined millions of Americans with adult-on-set Type II diabetes. He was the third person in my immediate family with diabetes. When he developed diabetes he was over weight, didn’t get very much exercise and didn’t eat what he should be eating—sound familiar? Today he is 100+ pounds over weight, gets no exercise, doesn’t eat right, has lost the feeling in his fingers and has serious circulation problems in his feet.

His health issues scare me. I am 30 pounds over weight. I love to eat (why is it that everything that tastes good is bad for you?). Exercise—does walking from my car to the office count as exercise? That was in the past! Five weeks ago I decide to make some life changes so that I do not end up like my dad! My wife and I joined the YMCA and exercise five or six time per week. My fitness program includes cardio and weight lifting. I am working with a coach to help me set and meet fitness goals. My diet is changing—darn! I haven’t lost a single pound—I have lost most of my “love handles” around my mid section.

You may be wondering why I am talking about my dad’s health, my health and the changes in my life? That is because there are too many similarities between my dad’s health and the PCUSA. My dad is seriously ill and doing very little about it. The PCUSA is seriously sick and I see very little that is being done about it.

Just today I received the “official” letter from Kirkpatrick and Valentine saying, “We have heard that a few Presbyterian congregations may soon announce their intention to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).” They are sad that some churches may want to leave the denomination. The letter is meant to calm Presbyterian fears about churches leaving the denomination. Why do they not say what is being done to address the issues bothering those churches—and many other churches? They are just like my dad in that they are doing nothing about what is making our denomination sick.

Our denomination is “over weight.” There have been many staff reductions at the Louisville office. We still have LOTS of staff—at all levels. At all levels of the church we have meetings for the sake of having meetings. We may have too many churches. We have lots of small churches in relative proximity that can’t afford a fulltime pastor. Why not merge? I know—pride and history. We are “over weight” in that we publish too many position papers that NO ONE reads. Every time I hear that the denomination is starting another “study” I am tempted to find a brick wall to pound my head into. “Over weight!”

Our denomination has lost feeling in its extremities. The denomination does not want to know what is going on in our local churches. It appears as though they could care less that their actions are harming our local churches. I have seen absolutely no evidence that senior staff with the PCUSA feel the pain that they are causing in our churches.

Our denomination has gets no spiritual exercise. I am saddened by poor quality of biblical scholarship that is put forth by our denomination. Some of our local churches are doing an outstanding job of writing their own materials. Others (like our church) turn to other sources for good Bible study material. Some material (like the Horizons Bible Study) is poison. We need to get our people reading the Bible, praying, fasting, tithing and practicing the rest of the spiritual disciplines. Spiritual exercise is needed. Now!


At 9:03 AM , Blogger Red_Cleric said...

Thanks for a wonderful analogy. I will draw from it when I visit with our church and it's need to adopt a missional outlook toward Portland.


At 7:53 PM , Blogger Alex said...

I am sorry for your dad's poor health. I am praying for him.

At 1:14 PM , Anonymous will spotts said...

well put.


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