Week Three: The Past is the Hero
Autopsy of a Deceased Church by Thom S. Rainer
Back in 1983 Rebecca and I were first-year newlyweds. I was in my third year of seminary and we had gone home to visit our parents. During our visit, my mother called me back to her bedroom and said she wanted to talk with me. She began by saying, “You didn’t marry me. You married Rebecca. Stop telling her my mother does it like this! Support her and let Rebecca be Rebecca!”
It seems that Rebecca told my mother that I was saying things like: “My mother cooks like this, or cleans like that.” My mother was telling me that she heard Rebecca and that I needed to pay attention to Rebecca. And she was right. I did not marry my mother. I married Rebecca, a very capable woman.
For over 36 years I’ve been learning how others do things differently. Did you know there are at least three ways to open a bottle of Coke-a-Cola? The point is I wouldn’t have known that had I not been willing to listen to others.
Churches can be just as stubborn when it comes to recognizing options. Nostalgia is not always a good place to be. We think the old ways are the best ways and maybe they were then, but what about now? Today is not yesterday.
Rainer asks us to look at Hebrews 11. Many times, the writer uses the phrase “by faith…” What has your faith taught you about your church? What does faith mean to you?
The Rt. Rev. Morris K. Thompson, Jr.
Bishop of Louisiana
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