April 29, 2019
Banks have stress tests to determine if they could survive a financial catastrophe.
Places of worship are enduring stress tests to determine if they can survive a spiritual crisis. The United Methodist Church is deciding whether they are going to be welcoming communities of worship or a place of happy homogeneity. The rabbi of the Chabad synagogue, his hands bandaged from an assault that took the life of one of his congregation, admitted that he requested another member, a border guard, to come to services armed “because you just never know what’s going to happen.” The pastor of a church in New Jersey said his colleagues are “always flabbergasted” to learn that black churches have “always had security as long as I can remember.”
But perhaps the most challenging stress test of some mainline denominations is relevancy. Membership is declining, the average age of parishioners is climbing, and young people are leaving. Perhaps they could take a lesson from the services for Jerry McLeese, whose standing-room-only “celebration of life” was a rainbow of humanity, gathered to honor a man who founded Interfaith Winston-Salem. As Bill Leonard, retired Dean of Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity, said so elegantly: “Sometimes the church brings judgment on the world; sometimes society brings judgment on the church. We are in that mode today.”
When, at dinner the other night, I commented on Jerry’s journey to find a church in which his faith could be fulfilled and his beliefs upheld, Carole gave me a baleful look and responded: “Warren, America is going through a stress test!”
Hate can do that to a person, a nation, and the world.
During a kitchen table conversation with our neighbor Vicky Auchincloss, she made a suggestion that makes sense to me. How about we elect Joe Biden President and Elizabeth Warren as Vice President? Being a real people-person “Uncle” Joe could set about healing the nation and Auntie Liz could keep insisting that the nation get back on a straight track to progressivism, doing the kind of things that a nation is supposed to do for ALL its people. Then, after Uncle Joe has spent four years healing the country, he could step aside to let Auntie Liz run the country with her customary moral fortitude. Shouldn’t take more than twelve years to decide what this country stands for after four years of being assaulted every day.
Course, I’ll be 94. Hopefully, I should live so long.
© 2019 WD Publishing