June 11, 2007

Our Story - How We Were Purpose Driven OUT part 1

This is meant to be a raw running account of correspondence we had during the time of our church struggle/trial. I apologize for the length. It was just much easier to do this way when we brought it over from the old site than many individual posts. I kept most of my correspondence and didn't alter it to make myself look better, hence you will see a LOT of frustration from qeylar (Paula) and Cyrano (Jason) and others who were involved. It was very difficult to make sense of what was going on and that confusion and the resultant anger and emotion I didn't attempt to hide. This is just ....how it was. This is the 'authentic relationship' version so you purpose drivers and emergents shouldn't have any problem with that.

I tried to fix most links. There may be a few that are still not working.  And the formatting is pretty weird, but would be a lot to go through and fix, so I may, or may not. I see our pdf's are missing off the server, so those will have to be fixed too.

Names of minor players have been changed. But suffice it to say, the church we are dealing with here is Oak Heights Evangelical Covenant Church and the pastor at that time was Todd Ertsgaard, heretofore known as Loki (with Sigyn as his wife of course). The Northwest Conference Director at the time was Jim Fretheim (still there as I write this up in March '08). I have heard more and more stories of Jim's roles in similar events in other Covenant Churches. People need to be made aware of his two faced behavior.

Summer 2004
Jul 09, 08:10 PM (qeylar)

Church Council convenes a subcommittee on how to incorporate an elder and deacon board into our Covenant Church. (membership around 150 – new church building in 2001) . Worship Director Fred on the Council offers to organize it. He asks all present including the Pastor whether they would like to be involved. All decline.
I was asked by Fred if I would participate because as he says ‘he respects my opinion.’ I agreed. Well after that how can I say no? (ha!) He also rounded up four other men to be on the panel: Max (our local KJV only Arminian) Vern, and Gil. So that makes five altogether. We met approximately four or five times over the next several months, and used pretty much Scripture (e.g. 1 Tim 3, Titus 1 and so on) to come up with guidelines. As the Evangelical Covenant Church prides itself on its motto “Where is it Written?” to determine positions on everything, allowing personal discretion on things that qualify as adiaphora, we didn’t worry about consulting any books written by Man. We did however consult other church constitutions just for ideas regarding the practical aspects of organizing structure. (e.g. Term limits, how many for what size church etc.)
Our basic recommendation went something like this (I wish I had kept a copy but the whole thing ended up thrown out later so I figured why bother…):
Elders according to Scripture were responsible for supporting the pastor’s work—filling in for him when he was absent, prayer, some counseling, spiritual guidance, and church discipline. They had to be men since it was clear from Scripture that women were not to have a place of spiritual authority over the men in the church.
During this time while we were meeting and coming up with these recommendations, while they were still being formatted, Fred who had volunteered to organize the subcommittee reported that the Church Chair had called him and asked how we were doing and that … ‘some people’ were concerned that we were going to force our recommendation on the church.
I sat there agog as no one had made ANY noises like that at church or anywhere else. Who would have come up with that idea? The only thing I could figure was they looked at the makeup of the subcommittee and realized at least two, maybe three (third would have been me) of the five were probably known for being opinionated (but not controlling or belligerent). This alerted me that a power struggle was in the works already… and since what we were going on was Scripture—why was there a power struggle?
Essentially our recommendation was this:
Deacons were more of a serving role in the practical day to day ministry of the church, and so women could be deaconnesses, and the guidelines for character (e.g. Having had past struggles with sin e.g. Divorce, remarriage, etc.) were not quite as stringent, assuming real repentance from those actions.
The four men and I (the token woman on the panel) met four times and came up with this. I honestly felt outclassed in Bible knowledge by the men and didn’t say a whole lot, but we all enjoyed each other’s company and at the end one of the men said he cannot remember having such a wonderful discussion with such a great group of people. I echoed the sentiment. By now it was getting into the Fall season.

Pastor End-Arounds Subcommittee Recommendation
The recommendation was mailed to the Council so they could read it and discuss it at the next meeting.
Within a day the Pastor had mailed out his own letter emphasizing how strongly he disagreed with our recommendation.
(names removed)


I did not get this, the Council did, and they are for the most part all in pastor’s camp. So coming by a copy isn’t the easiest thing anymore.
This raised alarm bells all over the place in the subcommittee. While we weren’t assuming (and actually not expecting) that they would just rubber stamp our recommendation, we were NOT expecting pastor to do an end-around and undermine it, or poison the waters before it even got to the table.
Pastor generally is a very genial, cheerful, outgoing man. This kind of manipulative tactic pulled me up short in my assessment of him and opened the door in my mind to further searching to find out what was going on with him.

Jan 2005

Thoughts on music and 'diaconates'
Jan 31, 08:19 PM (qeylar)
It occurred to me at church on Sunday ….
This worship band has Tina up there signing the words.
I had forgotten but it on Sunday it popped back into my head that a long time ago I asked her if she would be interested in signing with live music – because there was a song we both loved that she was interested in doing. (the first few times, she just signed to music played over the sound system). She shook her head and kind of mumbled some negative answer which was mostly “no, not really,..no,. no nah, no.” mumbling with no explanation. I almost got the impression she was embarrassed to say what she was thinking.
Yet she’s up there with them now? She seems to be doing fine. What’s with that? Don’t get me wrong, I love that she’s up there doing it but…
What is it about me that drives people the other direction? *And considering your personalities, would any of you guys even notice? ;-)*
And how about that subcommittee we were involved in? They talked about the issue and didn’t even MENTION that we had discussed it. They basically wasted our time completely, despite the ‘apology’ Loki gave to Fred. I kept looking at you on Sunday, Fred and you seemed to be mostly studying your hands and looking up as placidly as you could at Phil as he went over this topic and I thought for SURE you’d glance over to acknowledge that big elephant in the living room that I know you all know is there too. I found it amusing that you didn’t look. heh heh.
These structural changes then being voted on next month – the adoption of a ‘diaconate’ (so much more user-friendly term…) which will be basically elders and deacons (as we defined them) all lumped into one position. This is far too much for one person to deal with in my opinion, not to mention being gender neutral. Oh goody. So it’s going to say “godly men and women” for describing eligibility. They will not mention divorce status, or anything like that which is explicitly mentioned in the Scriptures. (“Gosh, where is it written again? The apocrypha?”). I can’t wait till next month’s meeting. I get to make waves! (as well as the rest of us on the subcommittee). Pastor did the end-around us when we submitted our findings. I felt better once I read the apology, which IMO should have been issued to ALL of us, not just Fred.
But now I’m beginning to wonder if the ‘apology’ wasn’t a real apology, just a method of pacification which automatically comes when someone who doesn’t like confrontation is confronted. Instead of looking at the issue honestly, say you’re sorry and it will go away like magic….
Silly us, we didn’t realize when we joined either, that the Covenant Church endorsed women oridination. We assumed with a motto ‘where is it written’ that women wouldn’t be ordained into the ministry. I talked to Gil who said he really strongly wonders if our recommendations ever made it to the Council or if pastor just snuffed it right there when we first submitted it, and wrote his letter ‘strongly disagreeing’ (I sent you that one didn’t I?) Cyrano said he was blown away by the question Vern asked – how it was phrased is going to have to make people realize what’s going on, but without sounding like he’s trying to do that.
There are also those constitutional changes being put forth – and guess what the most significant change is? They are striking the scripture reference from 1 Tim 3 about elders and deacons from the constitution! I can understand striking the actual text but at least leave the reference in! Go figure.
It’s bringing up imagery from Animal Farm. Just change one word here and there, and no one will notice. Come now, let’s get that frog a-boiling! I am rehearsing what I’m going to say next month. That “silly us” comment is one of them. Maybe I can serve as the poster child for why women shouldn’t be ordained?
*smile*
Now I am going to go and bang my forehead against the wall some more whilst I seriously contemplate writing my mind to Loki.

More diaconate thoughts
I just talked to Steve [last name] on the phone. His concerns were more practical than doctrinal, and also quite good. I hadn’t even thought of the practical part, I was so distracted by the doctrinal aspect. Basically he wonders why we need another layer of beauraucracy at this point when the church is still so small. What we need are more foot soldiers. We can’t even get those, so who is going to want more work?(my aside: sure they might want the power, but that’s not what it’s supposed to be about)
He is planning on voicing these concerns about it just before we vote, but he thought our plan to come up with a concise way to voice ours as well is a good idea. He didn’t want to attach his name to it at this time because they’re so new to the church, but he won’t be voting in favor of the changes, he said. His thoughts were that along with him, we who are concerned on the doctrinal issues should also stand up and say something as well before the vote so that it people get another visual reminder of the fact that it wasn’t unanimous. He had gotten the impression it was so unanimous that he didn’t ask all the questions he thought of asking on Sunday. He said it sounded like it was pretty much a done deal. (go figure! I am sure that’s exactly why they phrased it the way they did.) I assured him that wasn’t the reason at least some of us were being so quiet and then explained that. (I am playing out the scenario in my mind of you looking at me, Fred, and both of us cracking up—and Phil trying desperately not to notice) Either way, I said that I think it’s about time we are open and honest about our positions so that things can be discussed and resolved without a lot of rumors and backbiting. In my opinion that’s about the only way to minimize that kind of thing is to be forthright and unafraid to attach one’s name to a position.

Max weighs in
(Max was on the recommendation committee)
Since I wasn’t at that part of the meeting, then I am not sure about an “additional layer of bureaucracy .” Instead, I thought that Loki was focusing this group on the ever-so-present ‘care’ factor. In other words, hospital visitation, visiting those ‘regular attenders/members’ who have become ‘irregular’ would be their primary task. Not so much as a layer of accountability to which folks would answer or a group that preserves the doctrinal purity of the church…as we delineated in our committee.

qeylar replies
Well basically it would be adding spiritual care to what the council
already does – at least that’s my impression. And since when were those people on the Council chosen for that purpose? To now foist upon them a ministry they didn’t sign up for and may not be gifted for is unwise I think. And a month is nearly long enough for a congregation to even look at this issue in a practical sense even if you leave out the gender and divorce issues.
I could swear I heard Phil say “spiritual direction” of the church and
I definitely heard “church discipline” of “erring members.”

2/15/05 Email
Lucy – you weren’t there on Sunday, and please don’t take this to mean any comment on yours or Jane’s participation in Ron’s worship band…. just wanted to get that out of the way first. If you want to call and yak about it feel free. :-)
I can’t get this comment someone made to Cyrano about the music on Sunday out of my head. It wasn’t a bad comment, but to me it showed the true nature of this ‘worship band’—and the problems therein. The comment was something like this by Zack: “Oh Cyrano you guys are so good up there I wish you could just keep on going and going.”
And silly enough, I can do nothing but sit here and cry about it at 1:30 in the morning. Why is it suddenly hitting me like this? I can’t sleep, Cyrano is out of town for some computer thing. Maybe that’s part of it. But this music silliness greatly concerns me, not for the music itself, but for the… silliness… that surrounds it all.
Ed went on to say “I wish we could have a service without any message – just a whole service of praise and worship.”
I thought to myself “yeah, we do those things now and then. They’re called concerts.” And “Where would the hearing of the Word be then?” And that gave me genuine alarm. That someone would long to go to church and not hear the Word preached??!? What is wrong with our body of believers? And from a guy raised by missionaries, as I understand it?
So the rest of us who commit to singing regularly and who have helped hold this together all through these shenanigans are left looking lame and ‘untalented’ (for lack of a better description) while the congregation thinks we are excluding Ron and Ricky and all those ‘gifted’ musicians who end up by contrast looking “cool” and “hip” and that is quickly becoming equal to “spirit-led” or “anointed” or “spirit filled.” Does ANYONE know how LONG and OFTEN we have begged and cajoled and otherwise tried to convince them to play with us? Anyone at all? Zack’s comment served to answer that question for me – I sincerely doubt it.
I am seriously going to talk to Zack on Sunday and mention that the only reason we don’t have music like that more often is because the guys WON’T do it with us. The more I have read/heard the interchanges between Fred, Ron, Pastor, and Cyrano, the more I am convinced that [at least] unconsciously Ron approaches music as “my way or the highway.” I also thought about mentioning the comment to Ron himself and asking him to start setting people straight about how much time Cyrano and Fred spent trying to get him and Ricky involved and how many times Ricky basically stood us up. (I am not sure if Ron ever did that or just never committed to ‘be there,’ as Ricky did).
I am so frustrated by this. And the fact that the current ‘doctrinal question’ up before the congregation is not even on people’s radar is, for me, serving to bring BOTH issues into high relief.
I don’t want to sing special music, I don’t want to sing in the worship team, I don’t want to sing in the congregation (in fact, I didn’t on Sunday – I felt too upset once I finally finished collating and got into the Sanctuary) when I have all this hanging over my head. Now, at what point is that my problem, and at what point is that legitimate spiritual oppression because of the shenanigans that are going on? Right now I can’t imagine swallowing all this and volunteering to sing with the worship band [aside: anyone know where it is written that ‘david rebuilt the temple of praise” ??pshaw~! I guess that little jot / tittle isn’t that important… ]
Sorry …excuse me, pardon me…I feel a beat coming on ….
“oooooh…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah…there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…
there’s no God like Jehovah… there’s no God like Jehovah…”
Ah excuse me for that. Just had to get that out. Anyone else have a mental image problem with the line about the bread of one’s tongue leaving a trail of crumbs… etc? I’m either thinking Cookie Monster or ya know, some old guy in the nursing home that can’t really coordinate his mouth anymore…
I’m sorry if I sound terribly cynical… I certainly do feel that way.
It’s becoming a chore just to go to church sometimes, and I spent most of last Sunday feeling upset. I feel like we have this challenge to move to the next level coming up in our church Body, but we are all talking past it (except for a handful of people who see the big elephant in the Sanctuary…) The only thing I really enjoyed was Sunday School when I got to watch an image of some guy I don’t personally know talking about creation/evolution and tying it to orthodox Christian doctrine. [A nearly extinct bird nowadays…]
frustrated, but hopefully able to sleep now…

Talking to Fred about music
Feb 14, 11:30 AM (qeylar)
About the only things that I would disagree with you on are that 1. I am not convinced that Ron’s ‘my way or the highway’ attitude is unintentional. I think it is intentional,
Ok—I guess I can give in a bit on that one. ;-) I try to put the best construction on motives generally. I think he very well could be doing it intentionally because deep down he thinks we’re wrong or he’s been “called to serve” in this manner. Too bad he’s also not gifted to serve in this manner… you can’t lead music and lead rehearsals when you know precious little music theory, and much less than the people you’re trying to instruct – have I told you the times he’s tried to correct people and I would just sit there and go “what is he talking about???” – incredibly frustrating and it seemed to me that I watched many people who were involved in the beginning, although they may not have been able to articulate why, get discouraged by not being able to please the guy. I just figured out posthaste that he didn’t know what he was talking about, tried to do my best, and waited for any opportunity in which I might with tact be able to say “but I don’t understand what you want, Ron…?”
For example one time he frustrated [an instrumentalist] by writing up a harmony part for her to play with that Sunday night youth band they did for a while. Now, it strikes me odd that someone who can’t read music would try to write it… and then try to keep correcting her when she didn’t play it the way he had in mind.
There was also a comment made about she and I trying to do a duet sometime (I wasn’t there, Cyrano overheard this) and Ron said “Yeah but qeylar would expect you to play the right notes.”
What was THAT supposed to mean? A comment on my pickiness or a comment on her level of playing (she has improved since then but string instruments are bar none the toughest instruments to learn to play even passably. She’d better have a tough teacher.)
I believe that in all likelihood, for the last three years certain individuals have been seeing my attitude and leadership as a ‘Fred’s way or the highway’ kind of thing and have been using that to legitimize nonparticipation. To a small degree that is legitimate.
Yep I agree – It definitely can be perceived that way. Except that it was the whole worship committee, who wouldn’t be afraid to disagree with you if they felt it necessary, that came up with the ‘guidelines’ (which are completely disregarded now anyway – so how does the ‘my way or the highway’ thing hold together under honest scrutiny…? Honest being the working word there….)
Say if Chrissi jumps up and starts singing with the worship band I think we ought to include [our daughter] too. She’s got at least as much ability (less experience) than Chrissi does. (I have nothing against Chrissi – she has a better ear than her dad… and I’m sure she loves the Lord.)
It is impossible to truly lead without rubbing some folks this way. The only alternative is to fall into the leading by consensus fallacy and all that really does is drive it underground. 2. Please don’t take this as criticism, but I am concerned for you that you are experiencing so much anger over this that it is keeping you from worshiping.
Oh absolutely – but I have always had fuller worship experiences in choral rehearsals (e.g. minnesota valley chorale etc.) and daily, watching the sun rise and flowers bloom, reading creation/evolution books, sitting in anatomy class, than in any church I have been in. You’re an artist so I’m betting you know what I mean. If I wanted to be as picky about the music as these people are being, I’d have to go to .. ya know, St Olaf or something just to worship. I have a lot higher musical standards than I have ever applied to church because worship is so much more than just music. But the ‘extra’ thing that makes church music into worship – namely the connection with others in the body, despite our differences, is being eroded away more and more. I find the very small circle we have going between you, Cyrano, Max, Lucy, Harry, [another worship leader], very encouraging, but that’s a pretty small slice of the pie at church.
I do feel better (more resigned than anything) this morning. But I still tangibly resent what is going on at church. Believe me I’m trying to figure out whether this is legitimate indignation or has become just a personal grudge.
but I don’t believe He wants any of us to self-destruct over it.
Oh, don’t worry about that. I’m not going to self destruct. :-)
I have had my bouts of anger of this and other issues as well ([my wife] usually calms me down)
Yeah—I think that would help if Cyrano was here to hash over this again (for the zillionth time)—
but I refuse to let it keep me from worshiping (though having Ron continually add words to the music, unexpected key changes, harmonies that don’t harmonize
LOL! I was in the office putting Cyrano’s papers together, and Ron’s mic was turned up louder in the balance than anyone else’s of course. The hair on the back of my neck went up. Honestly if there wasn’t this baggage it may have made me shake my head but if I could trust his motives, I would probably laugh and think “praise God we all sound like scratchy old violins to him and he loves it anyway!”
My biggest challenge in all of this right now is a deep, all pervading sense of sadness. I feel like I am watching Our Church implode and degenerate into just one more spiritually empty church and there is nothing I can do about it (I tried but right now I think even the other members of the council have been just humoring me as being one more ‘out of touch conservative’ that has to be tolerated for the sake of peace but quietly marginalized).
Hmmm….. I wonder if more young conservatives stood up…
For so long I have wanted to get this all out in the open. That Dan Adler seminar would be great for opening up the discussion. I think too often this stuff gets talked around in committees and church members never get to hear what’s really going on. (case in point at the annual meeting)
I too found the hypnotic thrubbing of ‘No God like Jehovah” to have crossed over from irritating to annoying to alarming to just plain silly. I don’t need to be ‘conditioned’ to worship God and I don’t believe anyone else needs to be either; As for the bread-crumb thing – what a gross image! I mentioned at dinner that it may be in scripture somewhere though none of us could think of where – Gloria suggested maybe the Cotton Patch translation – but it is still a crude and gross image.
[aside: anyone know where it is written that ‘david rebuilt the temple of praise” ??pshaw~! I guess that little jot / tittle isn’t that important… ]
I would guess this is referring to the fact that David resurrected the ministry of music in the temple—
The temple wasn’t built until Solomon.
dedicating several individuals, family lines etc to singing, playing music, etc., also was responsible for having large numbers of musical instruments manufactured. He also did much to strengthen the daily practice of worship – since he wasn’t allowed to build the physical temple, I guess one could say that he did rebuild the ‘temple of praise’ among the Levites when he did all of this work with music and worship. My guess anyway.
Your guess but you know scripture as well. That was what I figured they must have been aiming at but for the people who don’t care about certain ‘minor’ facts they’re not going to think that deeply. Why not “psalms of praise” instead of “temple of praise”?
Christian praise song writers are for the most part too liberal in their art – they think because it sounds good it’s ok. No, it also has to accurately represent scripture. And like the bread on your tongue line, you HAVE to be aware of the image it creates for most people and how it is going to distract from or enhance worship. I mean, we are totally vulnerable and ‘naked’ spiritually before the Lord but would you put the word “naked” in a corporate worship song?
I get the impression from reading the Bible that they were pretty well established, developed and probably adhered to somewhat rigidly). That might make an interesting point of departure in a conversation with a lot of these folks who believe we should only have contemporary music.

Zack went on to say “I wish we could have a service without any message – just a whole service of praise and worship.”
I thought to myself “yeah, we do those things now and then. They’re called concerts.” And “Where would the hearing of the Word be then?” And that gave me genuine alarm. That someone would long to go to church and not hear the Word preached??!?
Maybe I just filtered everything through my own understanding, but this was my knee-jerk thought process to that:
  1. We’ve actually talked a bit about the opposite—a service with no music at all.

  2. A service with all music might be interesting, but it would need to cover more than the styles the band does in order to actually give a worship experience…
So I was thinking more in line of that, a service where the message and God’s Word would come not through preaching but through music. And I think that if the “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” approach were used, that such a service is possible without ignoring the hearing of the Word.
But that may have been my filtering, I don’t know—not sure if you or I had the more accurate take on what was actually said. We should probably talk through something that Dan Adler said re: worship and preaching.
Does ANYONE know how LONG and OFTEN we have begged and cajoled and otherwise tried to convince them to play with us? Anyone at all? Zack’s comment served to answer that question for me – I sincerely doubt it.
That’s a very legitimate and raw question. I’m putting together something for Tina as head of the committee and I’ll make sure it’s in that.
(I am not sure if Ron ever did that or just never committed to ‘be there,’ as [our drummer] did).
Any time Ron said he’d be there he was. I just didn’t ask him on a regular basis after he stepped away.
Right now I can’t imagine swallowing all this and volunteering to sing with the worship band [aside: anyone know where it is written that ‘david rebuilt the temple of praise” ??pshaw~! I guess that little jot / tittle isn’t that important… ]
I think it’s a legit poetic expression related to the writing of the Psalms, and in that context I don’t have a problem with it. Where it can become a problem is if everything is like that, if every lyric requires “interpretation” to fit into an accurate biblical understanding. If song selection (of any musical style) is predominantly “it speaks to me”, and actual clear expression of truth in lyric isn’t considered, then the criteria are wrong and the slope to “feeling worshipful” has been greased.

Music again (cont.)Feb 14, 12:32 PM (Cyrano)
About the only things that I would disagree with you on are that 1. I am not convinced that Ron’s ‘my way or the highway’ attitude is unintentional. I think it is intentional,
Ok—I guess I can give in a bit on that one. ;-) I try to put the best construction on motives generally.
FWIW, I think Ron has the right goal in mind (worship). I’d even say he generally has the right spirit about it; he really wants to only be an instrument to facilitate that worship. Unfortunately, the problem is in the details:
  1. His definition of worship is pretty good, but it shades in practice to the emotional. And IMO, others who see that emotion as essential to worship take that shading and darken it more, tying it more tightly to particular styles, and losing the right spirit.

  2. Ron has a real tunnel vision or naivite about how his own actions can be perceived or misinterpreted. “I mean well” and “I’m only trying to improve/lead worship” are not blanket pardons for behavior, nor do they prove that the behavior (or attitudes) are correct. It is frustrating to deal with someone who not only doesn’t apologize but doesn’t see any reason to understand why others might think he or she should.
This second point is something that I know has been especially trying for some. Most of Ron’s objections or concerns about what the worship team was trying to do were technical or practical ones. Many of his points were worth considering. But it is reasonable to say that the implementation of the praise band has almost exactly the same technical or practical concerns. It is grating that the only immediately perceivable difference is that Ron stepped back in the first case, and forward in the second.
have I told you the times he’s tried to correct people and I would just sit there and go “what is he talking about???”
This is something I’ve tried to accommodate Ron in, because I thought it was a legitimate point to explore. In the past couple of years, I’ve tried to simplify what I say and try to do in practice. I know at times I’ve gotten qeylar frustrated by not pushing harmony, etc. but it’s been a conscious effort to try to keep everyone included. It’s worship music. Those who are able to harmonize easily can do so, but those who would have to concentrate mightily would have the focus in the wrong place anyway.

[This is a draft of something I wrote to send to Loki, and asked Cyrano for editing suggestions. It was never sent in this form, though parts of it ended up in the anonymous handout and Ichabod email.]
**************
This will probably be hard to read and I apologize for that. But I am becoming more and more frustrated with what is going on at church, and I think you are encouraging it by your actions on the one hand (the deacons/elders issue) and and your inactions on the other (musical disagreements).
Loki – I know you disagree with the findings of our subcommittee on deacons and elders but the way this is being handled is really making me concerned for the direction of our church. It bothers me to even say it because I think it should be up to the men to be the spiritual leaders both in their homes and in our church. It blows my mind that men, who aren’t supposed to be so easily swayed by emotional issues, are buckling to pressure to conform to cultural norms of allowing women to take over their responsibilities, couching it in nice politically and culturally correct terms lest anyone find our church offensive for following Scripture.
I have made an observation that has been seconded by other people I have spoken to. You tend to manipulate and control when things aren’t going your way. This is not meaning that you shouldn’t confront poor behavior. When you handed out the “end-around” letter after we made our recommendations on deacons/elders in the church, this is what you did:
The Control Spirit
Sadly, some church leaders have got to the point where they must rely on techniques of manipulation and domination in order to maintain their positions of influence and authority. Such leaders are insecure and are easily threatened by those whom they cannot control. These leaders may have in the past been raised up by God for a great work, but at some point they departed seriously from God’s will. To maintain their positions of power and influence, to preserve their “territory”, such leaders resort to all kinds of manipulative political tactics which hinder the purposes of God’s Kingdom and delay the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon their communities.
Although it was not unexpected since you steered everything that direction with that letter even before the Council got to meet and discuss it, I found it odd that at the annual meeting they talked about the issue and didn’t even MENTION that the Council had convened a subcommitted which dutifully spent considerable time and energy discussing it. Throughout it all we felt quite unified – The only sticking point was the divorce issue, but we did hash that out. The one person who had reservations about the divorce qualification was also the first to say at the end that he thoroughly enjoyed our time together and had never participated in a study where he felt such unity and camaraderie. I seconded that. I think Fred mentioned to you that it was really unfair to ask us to do that if it was basically to be thrown out entirely. Phil not mentioning it at all gives me the impression it wasn’t even considered valid – that they want to forget they even asked, since we didn’t come up with something that supported their preconceived notion. So Fred and others of us who tend to be conservative in their hermeneutics are being marginalized because we refuse to buckle to social pressure regarding the feminization of our society and churches.
They basically wasted our time completely, despite the ‘apology’ you gave to Fred (—“I’m sorry you took it that way?” That’s just a cop-out) – which by rights even though none of us contacted or confronted you about your behavior, you should have swallowed your fear of conflict and taken the initiative, if you had nothing to hide, to have gone to ALL of us on the subcommittee to clear up this ‘misunderstanding.’ This kind of behavior oozes out every once in a while and betrays your tendency to control if things drift in a direction you don’t like. If things are going where you have a problem with it, take it up with the ones you have an issue with – e.g. those of us who were on the subcommittee would have been the ones to talk to. If someone has a problem, you can’t hash it out and solve it in their absence. This is also being done with music. Those who have a problem should somehow be in the loop so they see how their concerns are being addressed or ignored.

These governmental structural changes then being voted on next month – the adoption of a ‘diaconate’ (oh so much more a user-friendly/baggage-free term…??) which will be basically elders and deacons (as we defined them) all lumped into one position called… what…? deacons?—This is far too much for one person to deal with in my opinion, not to mention being gender neutral, and as was implied in Steve’s question, unnecessary in a church as small as ours to have more beauracracy. So the by laws are going to say “godly men and women” for describing eligibility. They will not mention divorce status, or anything which is controversial and which is explicitly spoken of in the Scriptures and which was in our recommendations because of Scripture. Did our recommendation ever get to the Council at all? They are acting as if we never existed, or at least their behavior is making us feel marginalized and irrelevant. But I do know they did receive our recommendations, which followed the guidelines they gave us – and so how did they account for the fact that our recommendation really was unanimous?
We didn’t realize when we joined Our Church, that the Covenant Church endorses the ordination of women. We assumed with a motto ‘where is it written’ that women wouldn’t be ordained. I want to make it clear that I would have thought a lot longer and harder about joining, had I known that at the time. In fact I can say with confidence that at most, we would be regular attenders.
Steve asked for them to come up with a schematic regarding how the diaconate proposal will change the accountability structure. Cyrano mentioned to me that it was an excellent question – because in providing an answer to it it will not be possible – or at least extremely difficult – to avoid the issue of women being spiritually in authority over men. I wonder how many other people don’t realize what the Covenant’s position on women in ministry is?
There are also those constitutional changes being put forth – and guess what the most significant change is? They are striking the scripture reference from 1 Tim 3 about the qualifications for elders and deacons from the constitution! Imagine that! I can understand striking the actual text but at least leave the reference in! Go figure. Have you ever read Orwell’s Animal Farm?
Put this in the context of bending over backward to accomodate ‘musical tastes’ which aren’t really a doctrinal issue and I think we have our priorities completely upside down on these two issues. Cyrano has spent endless hours trying to convince Ron and [our drummer] at least to help us out with music, and they drag their heels, hem and haw, and generally refuse to participate. [Our drummer] even commits and then doesn’t show. And yet the impression I am getting is that most people, even [our drummer]’s mom and maybe his dad, think we are excluding them. No one has actually asked us about it though of course. But have you taken any action on this bad behavior, this root of bitterness springing up? I am at the point where *I* don’t want to participate in music at all because I am up there before too many people that see me as a nitpicking perfectioninst because of the rumors that have circulated. Even your response to my invitation to participate in a small musical group was “I don’t read music” – where did you get the idea that I found that essential for everyone who participates? It must have come from somewhere.
You take preemptive action on the deacon/elder recommendations, yet you cut Ron a mile of slack for his stubborn refusal (‘my way or the highway’) to particpate in corporate worship. When we say “majoring in the majors and minoring in the minors,” and considering 1. women in ministry and 2. musical styles, which issue falls into which category?
in exasperation,

It is frustrating to deal with someone who not only doesn’t apologize but doesn’t see any reason to understand why others might think he or she should.
I’m sensing a double meaning there…. and if I wasn’t already so bummed I might laugh. :-)
This second point is something that I know has been especially trying for some. Most of Ron’s objections or concerns about what the worship team was trying to do were technical or practical ones. Many of his points were worth considering. But it is reasonable to say that the implementation of the praise band has almost exactly the same technical or practical concerns. It is grating that the only immediately perceivable difference is that Ron stepped back in the first case, and forward in the second.
EXACTLY!!!! So what’s the difference? The difference is that HE is in charge in the second. Or that YOU aren’t.
This is something I’ve tried to accommodate Ron in, because I thought it was a legitimate point to explore. In the past couple of years, I’ve tried to simplify what I say and try to do in practice. I know at times I’ve gotten qeylar frustrated by not pushing harmony, etc. but it’s been a conscious effort to try to keep everyone included. It’s worship music. Those who are able to harmonize easily can do so, but those who would have to concentrate mightily would have the focus in the wrong place anyway.
Nah – not during rehearsal. We should pick one song we already know and spend a little time having us learn parts so that we can actually do it sometime that way no matter who’s up there. No one is going to gain confidence doing it if we don’t try, or don’t practice. I think you’re underestimating people. You’ll have to tackle it the way we tackled our small group numbers. People will get more comfortable with it over time. The rehearsals we have are so low-key it would be a perfect time to start introducing people to holding a harmony on their own.
and then try to keep correcting her when she didn’t play it the way he had in mind.
Caveat: I have no idea whether the notes/rhythm were accurate to what he was asking for. If pushed, I’d assume the notes were, but I’d withhold judgement on the rhythm.
You told me he was telling her to 'hold it out two counts or something.' When he admits freely he doesn’t read music, and he’s trying to teach her to read what he wrote, it’s like the blind leading the blind (or was at the time). So whether the notes were accurate is irrelevant. They may have been, but who there would know? It’s like the time he handed me a lead sheet and asked me to sing melody – I was supposed to pick it up from him but his pitch isn’t accurate enough for me to figure out what he’s singing half the time. So, he may be singing the right note, but if I don’t know the song, how do I know? That was why I wanted written music, and he somehow made the leap that if we had written music he’d be forced to learn to read music.
Say if Chrissi jumps up and starts singing with the worship band I think we ought to include [our daughter] too. She’s got at least as much ability (less experience) than Chrissi does. (I have nothing against Chrissi – she has a better ear than her dad… and I’m sure she loves the Lord.)
No. If Chrissi jumps up it should be handled by the committee so that it doesn’t happen again.
Of course I was being facetious, but…Oh won’t /that/ committee meeting be fun… ! not to mention the results.
But I’ve learned to think through everything you say, whether my first impulse is to dismiss or not (and most of the time, I do get around to thinking through it. I’m not perfect, though…).
Yeah well… I’ve learned to live with that too. <>
Silly. It goes to embarrassing if you have to actually play it. No way on earth I could have actually gotten through singing it…
So… how does that affect your worship mindset? I’m thinking turnabout is fair play here. The other people get distracted by someone being orderly and mundane and not quite as ‘emotional’ as they’d like, and we get irritated by being distracted from worship.
I still think it’s a poetic image referring to him being such a prolific psalm writer, and known as a man after God’s own heart. In that context, I don’t consider it an objectionable phrase.
The fact that you have to think through it so much to decide that is more an issue. The fact that the three of us have different interpretations is still more an issue.
Uhuh… I have the same ‘interpretation’ of it as you, but my interpretation, as well as yours and Fred’s, is based on having a good grasp of Scripture – so how many people would be included in that kind of criteria, do you think, in our church?

2/15/05 Max Response

qeylar,
Well I guess you said your peace (or piece)!
I share your sentiments regarding not wanting to sing…but maybe not for exactly the same reasons as you’ve stated. I think it is because it seems to me that many people would prefer music over message…something I can’t bear.
It has been a downhill spiral (in my opinion…and many would disagree) for music at [OUR CHURCH]. Not because of who is doing worship, but of the congregation’s attitude (as you mentioned in your memo). I remember one council meeting where someone mentioned that they wanted more of the contemporary music because it just made the ‘sad’ that their kids couldn’t dance to the traditional music. Like their kids knew whether they were dancing to a contemporary spiritual song or some worldly pop piece.
This all goes back to the way people today are judging churches…that is, “What is the entertainment value.” Now, they probably don’t think of it so bluntly, but the crux of the matter is…how do they feel during and after church. Today, church to many is the ‘pick-me-up,’ one-day-a-week get-together that is supposed to make us feel good about ourselves. Music, of course, can be very emotionally charging.
More and more sermons today are rated on an entertainment scale, as opposed to the real preaching of God’s words. Anyone can get up front and read a message that they got over the internet or some commentary or funny story they’ve picked up in a book somewhere. Don’t get me wrong…there is a place for this…but not in the place of sound exegesis of scripture. I truly believe the reason for this is that people simply are not encourage, moreover exhorted, to have their noses in THE Book. In fact, there tends to be an emphasis AWAY from any scholastic or intellectual pursuit towards scripture. Again, this is not to say that there are people in the world today that do nothing but get ‘head knowledge’ and never live it out. This is a shame. However, there is no subsitute for studying and understanding scripture either…it’s simply that many pastors today just don’t know how to teach others to learn scripture (or worse yet, can’t themselves). Moreover, there is no expectation placed upon church goers to really “seek ye out the book of the Lord and read.” (Isaiah 34:16a).
As Amos 8:11 states, “there is a famine in the land regarding hearing God’s word.”
It still gets me that we have a ‘signer’ up front ONLY on any given Sunday (with the band) when the words are clearly on the screen in front, and then no signer when the message is delivered…simply makes no sense to me…all about entertainment or playing on emotions…I get enough of that elsewhere.
I also echo your feelings about repetitive phrases in music…one of the tricks used by the charasmatic groups to solicit tongue talking…I always stay away from that stuff.
The problem is, however, that I don’t hold the vision for the church…Pastor Loki does. I am not going to be a thorn in his flesh. It is tough to go to scripture and argue music style and other things that are influenced by the world. The Covenant denomination clearly takes a liberal approach to many doctrines (e.g., women in leadership positions within a spiritual context, baptism, etc.)and God has not placed me in [OUR CHURCH] to attempt to influence the denomination. Nor do I really believe God is calling me to attempt to change Pastor Loki’s vision and direction. As he stated in the letter to Fred, [OUR CHURCH] is his church (I always thought it was God’s) and he will hold the vision. That’s fine by me…I don’t want that responsibility. That said, I don’t have to stay under Loki’s leadership and authority. I will honor it and never try to usurp his authority…I will tell people what I believe and why in the right circumstances (and Loki and I talked about this and he knows it), but I will never preach something that would undermine Loki from the pulpit.
Oh well…enough said.
Hang in there and Isaiah 34:16a

qeylar wrote to Fred: I think your wife might enjoy my note

Fred's reply
Feb 20, 09:50 AM (qeylar)
She will ;-) I will bring a copy to her.
I understand the frustrations you express in your letter and certainly agree with pretty much all of it. I have to ask however, what outcome you desire from the letter. Are you primarily expressing your feelings, or are you hoping for an appeal to reason and maybe even a change in the way Loki and company are doing things? If you are trying to express your feelings to Loki, then your letter is pretty good as is. I personally might soften some of the emotion, but that is just me and it doesn’t make any sense for me to suggest that you express yourself like anyone other than yourself. If you are hoping to motivate Loki to take a fresh look at how he is doing things and make some changes, however, you might consider finding less threatening was of expressing some of the emotion in your letter. I am not suggesting you get rid of the emotion; I believe Loki needs to be aware of just how strongly people feel about these issues (he also needs to have a better grasp of how many feel this way). Knowing Loki, I think your letter as it stands may actually cause him to get stubborn, set his feet and be truly unmovable. The strength of the emotion you express in some of your points may actually keep Loki from seeing some of the truly good arguments you are making.
At any rate, the purpose of our meeting tonight is to discuss this question of how to present our feelings and desires in this situation in the most constructive way possible. Please bring a copy or two of what you have written so far and if you think of it and can find it, please bring the article I gave you (that Loki gave me) that ‘justifies’ the Covenant position on women in leadership.

qeylar's response to Fred

Fred wrote:
I believe Loki needs to be aware of just how strongly people feel about these issues (he also needs to have a better grasp of how many feel this way). Knowing Loki, I think your letter as it stands may actually cause him to get stubborn, set his feet and be truly unmovable.
qeylar wrote:

I agree. But IMO and in my experience those who are actually open to advice really will allow the ‘advisor’ (solicited or not) some leeway, knowing they’re imperfect. I learned that as a teenager with my dad… I see no reason why adults can’t do it too.
qeylar quoting Fred:
The strength of the emotion you express in some of your points may actually keep Loki from seeing some of the truly good arguments you are making. At any rate, the purpose of our meeting tonight is to discuss this question of how to present our feelings and desires in this situation in the most constructive way possible. Please bring a copy or two of what you have written so far and if you think of it and can find it, please bring the article I gave you (that Loki gave me) that ‘justifies’ the Covenant position on women in leadership.
qeylar wrote:

I will. Thanks. I am torn between phrasing things more ‘diplomatically’ – as you have seen with people like Ron (and I think Loki falls into this category) the diplomatic approach only allows him more room to hem and haw and try to placate while dragging feet until you finally give up and let him have his own way. They don’t actually argue with you, it’s more of a passive-agressive stance.
:-\ (I have a middle child that makes this tactic a habit…)
As I was talking to your wife Ethel about the times she has confronted Loki, (she mentioned how) he tends to nod and agree and just treat her like she needs to vent, as if she’s some immature girl. I think if I had been there, I would have come out of my chair and said “Loki, listen, don’t patronize me! I know you don’t agree, so let’s hash this out.”
The thought of all four of us sitting down with him some day and discussing this has crossed my mind. I don’t want it to seem like we’re ganging up on him, but I do need the tempering effect of Cyrano to help me keep my head. And I think since Ethel has already done it, for her to be there with you to show she’s really serious and didn’t just want to ‘vent’ those previous times, would be wonderful. Perhaps if we didn’t want to talk to Loki alone, Loki and Phil then. Or something. But this attitude of Loki’s has GOT to be dealt with.
Cyrano used to approach our disagreements like that, not realizing I really wanted change not just venting. (I guess I’m not typical female in that way.) He’d lay low until he felt it had blown over and then act like everything was OK. Now I’m sure Cyrano isn’t the only husband who’s done this kind of thing.
I don’t expect my eloquent words to magically change anything. I do take our collective responsibility as Christians to be watchmen on the wall very seriously. Regardless of whether I am heeded I feel compelled to warn. At least then the warning will be in the back of their mind when the event happens, and perhaps they’ll learn then what kind of advice to heed if they don’t want to repeat the error. That’s about all I can hope for. More would be nice, but I am not that optimistic.
:-\

Fred talks to Loki
Feb 22, 02:12 AM (qeylar)
Fred then went and approached Loki about the way he sent out the preemptive note regarding our subcommittee recommendation.

Fred's report on his talk with Loki
Feb 22, 12:28 PM (Cyrano)
Loki and I talked for about an hour. I was about as diplomatic as I am capable of being. I know that isn’t necessarily saying much, but I thought it went pretty well within the context of Loki’s perspective on things. He kept saying that it wasn’t a really a women in ministry issue. I acknowledged that the women in ministry issue was separate and that we were, at this time, primarily concerned about how the information was presented and why.
He then talked about why he has dragged his feet on the Elder/Deacon issue for so long – pretty much restating how he feels about the need for Elders to be ordained ministers. I tried very hard to get him to see that by avoiding the explosive issues (as he sees them) he was only putting a longer fuse on it. The explosion will still happen and will probably be more destructive than it would have been had he allowed things to take a more natural course. He kept going back to not wanting to have divisive issues within the church. I tried to help him understand that this was unavoidable to some extent and that divisive issues needed to be met head-on and in the open. He was pretty much unconvinced about that. I encouraged him as strongly as I could to bring it all out into the open and to take a definite stance on what he intends to do and why and to let the chips fall wherever. We will see what happens.
I told him that Cyrano would be sending out the e-mail, probably today,so that he, Phil and the council would get a chance to see what our concerns are before the meeting and have an opportunity to address them.

qeylar's response to Fred
hum. Well not surprising to me. Sheesh.
So I guess it’s full steam ahead huh?? :-)

A question for the Council
Feb 22, 04:54 PM (qeylar)
In order for the congregation to make a fully informed decision on the bylaw changes this coming meeting, we believe it necessary for the council to address the following questions prior to the vote. We respectfully request that whatever presentation is made at the meeting include a response to these questions. If no presentation is planned, please be prepared to have them raised during discussion before voting.
  1. How was the diaconate commission proposal developed? What resources were used to inform the council during the process? In particular, what was the result of the subcommittee on deacons and elders that was announced at the semiannual meeting last fall, and how did that factor into the process and resulting constitution and bylaw changes?
  2. Given that the constitution presently has scripture references regarding deacons and elders, why do the revised constitution and bylaws not contain any biblical references in regard to the diaconate commission?
Thank you.
Cyrano & qeylar
Fred & Ethel
Max & Millie

Email from sister
Feb 23, 12:52 PM (qeylar)
So does Pastor want the women in the ministry or not? I can’t say his behavior surprises me. Lots of Pastors are very controlling and have their own agenda believing fully they know what God wants best for the church…...that is why I tend to not get too involved in “religious institutions” I’ve seen too much of that and don’t feel that “church” is as God ever intended it to be. It’s much more of a man made organization/club…...

Interesting news from Lucy
Mar 02, 10:13 AM (qeylar)
Fred—Cyrano may be talking to you about getting together with Loki and talking through some of this crap that’s come up, but thought I’d fill you in on this last straw that’s weighing on me.
Apparently Lucy got a phone call from Tina last night, she talked to Harry asking if he wanted to be on the Worship commission, etc. and eventually Lucy asked “so have we scheduled a worship commission meeting for this coming month?”
Tense dead silence for a minute…
“weeeelll… I talked to Loki and we are going to do a little restructuring…”
Basically eventually got around to saying they decided Lucy has been on there long enough and she’s just NOT on the commission anymore. Now, according to the rules they can do that. But according to plain old civil conventions they should have at least not blindsided her with that info, or talked to her about it before deciding that she wasn’t going to be on it.
I just don’t like the way things are going. Sure, if Loki put out his hand for me to shake it, it wouldn’t be against the ‘rules’ for me to stand there and stare at him, but it would be taken as hostile, wouldn’t it?
This is not good leadership if you can’t foresee how these behaviors are going to be taken. It seems to me that the leadership that’s being put in place is ‘maverick’ leadership which just goes ahead and does whatever it sees fit regardless of the impact on everyone else. There may be a place for that but it surely isn’t in this situation. Someone wants “change” because they personally are dissatisfied, and they don’t seem to care what kind of change. Change for the sake of change is almost never good. It happens because you haven’t thought about it long enough to figure out just what’s wrong in the first place.
More and more I’m seeing these behaviors snowball and Loki is just sitting back and letting it go – sometimes even contributing. (CUE: miss Piggy voice:) “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON??? AAAAUGH!!”
>:o
so, if you and Ethel want to join us I sure would like to have more people around to keep me on track – otherwise I tend to get sidetracked by my emotions).
:-) One of the reasons I want to have Cyrano there – to make sure he brings up some of the more uncomfortable things he hasn’t been willing to say when I’m not there (- e.g. the rumors we have gotten whispers of – and the fact that it seems they had to have started with Ron/Jenna), and for him to make sure I don’t get too carried away. Hopefully a good balance…. or at least, better than when we’re separate.


Fred comments on Lucy's call
Mar 03, 11:36 AM (Cyrano)
Oh boy:-(
Well, I guess if Tina wants to ‘restructure’ she is sure within her rights to do so, but I agree, it was a pretty heartless way to go about things. It may not necessarily be so much ‘heartless’ as indelicate or tactless. I don’t know what the intention is behind this (though my dark side has suspicions) and I can’t help but think back to when I started my last round as Prayer and Worship chair and I entertained the idea of disbanding the worship teams in favor of a single song leader and some sort of choir – but I was pre-emptive in saying anything and caused much more consternation and confusion that it was worth in the process. I would have been better off if I had presented the notion as a question (which it really was in my mind) and asked for input that to say ‘this is what I am thinking of doing’ which was interpreted (understandably) as ‘this is what we are going to do’. In this particular case, it seems pretty hard to find an adequate explanation that isn’t a flat out rejection of Lucy however. When membership isn’t limited, you don’t ask someone to stand down unless you find them to be incompetent or you find them unwilling to follow your direction. Lucy isn’t incompetent so all I can conclude is that it is the latter and that begs the question – what is this new direction that Lucy would be unwilling to support? And that further begs the question, since Tina hasn’t a clue about Our Church, our history, etc., and she couldn’t have any idea about where Lucy stands on anything, where is the concern about Lucy supporting the new direction coming from? I am afraid it is a case of guilt by association.
I am certainly willing to join in discussions with Loki but scheduling could be an issue (the kids are both coming home for spring break – Nancy tomorrow and Keith next Thursday) and after Ethel’s consternation with Loki over the ‘discussion’ the two of them had surrounding the [Brian and Jessica last name]’ situation, she may feel it is futile and be unwilling. Also, I would suggest you cross the deaconate bridge first. Also, you need to be aware that I strongly suspect that Loki is viewing Ethel and I as trouble-makers and pot stirrers right now. In addition to the deaconate thing and my opposition to most of the nominees for council positions, Alice [last name], our new council recording secretary, asked me for a copy of our report on Elders and Deacons and I gave it to her (I don’t see a problem with this) and I think Loki is seeing this as an open act of defiance (I am basing this on comments Alice make about a talk she and Loki had on the phone). Alice also talked to Loki about being opposed to reading and using the ‘Purpose Driven Church’ as a guide to building up our church (she has watched it destroy 3 churches) and Loki knows that I think the book is misguided. His only comment was that others have told him it isn’t Biblical and that he doesn’t agree and no one has been able to show him that it is in error (of course we couldn’t convince him that the Covenant Church’s position on women in ministry in error). So . . . I might actually hurt your creditability by being in your corner, but that said, I am willing.
I talked to Lucy for a few moments. Sounds like they are going to do some ‘restructuring’ with worship music as well. Wanna start a board for chances on how long it will be before I am asked not to do hymn sing? I can’t say this comes as a surprise, but it is disappointing.

Fred wrote:
Lucy isn’t incompetent so all I can conclude is that it is the latter and that begs the question – what is this new direction that Lucy would be unwilling to support? And that further begs the question, since Tina hasn’t a clue about Our Church, our history, etc., and she couldn’t have any idea about where Lucy stands on anything, where is the concern about Lucy supporting the new direction coming from? I am afraid it is a case of guilt by association.
That’s my concern.
I am certainly willing to join in discussions with Loki but scheduling could be an issue (the kids are both coming home for spring break – Nancy tomorrow and Keith next Thursday)
Cyrano was thinking tomorrow morning sometime (earlier the better IMO – since I work tomorrow night). That way the kids here would be at school. But, we can work something out.
and after Ethel’s consternation with Loki over the ‘discussion’ the two of them had surrounding the [married couple breaking up] situation
???
[that married couple]?? I don’t know anything about that. Unless that was the Sunday School thing and Jessica was the one who ripped Ethel for asking children to think about the Bible during the week.
she may feel it is futile and be unwilling.
Well that’s why I wanted to include her – so the rest of us could serve as moral support.
Also, I would suggest you cross the deaconate bridge first. Also, you need to be aware that I strongly suspect that Loki is viewing Ethel and I as trouble-makers and pot stirrers right now.
Everyone seems to have that as an excuse not to talk. (no offense) Max, [Harry and Lucy], now you. and pretty soon he’s going to consider us ‘troublemakers’ just because we confronted someone on an issue. I don’t think that can be avoided and I am not really concerned how he views me. (well… I am concerned, but not primarily. I can’t keep taking responsibility for being misunderstood, and especially not if I don’t go in and talk to him.)
As far as ‘crossing the deaconate’ bridge first, what do you mean by that? All of these issues have one thing in common – they are being foisted upon the congregation by a minority behind closed doors. The music however has Cyrano involved and I’m pretty sure if they had a different music director/piano player to resort to they’d have booted him by now too. But they’re kind of in a rock and a hard place with finding a faithful pianist, and are holding their noses… at least, or trying to drag him along… that’s the impression I am getting.
Alice, our new council recording secretary, asked me for a copy of our report on Elders and Deacons and I gave it to her (I don’t see a problem with this) and I think Loki is seeing this as an open act of defiance (I am basing this on comments Alice make about a talk she and Loki had on the phone).
Oh for cryin out loud. So he chooses NOT to believe that Alice ASKED for this info?
Alice also talked to Loki about being opposed to reading and using the ‘Purpose Driven Church’ as a guide to building up our church (she has watched it destroy 3 churches) and Loki knows that I think the book is misguided.
I thought it was lame. I didn’t read it that thoroughly, but it struck me as really BASIC Christianity in most places. I must have missed any destructive passages. (if you want to point some out to me feel free)
His only comment was that others have told him it isn’t Biblical and that he doesn’t agree and no one has been able to show him that it is in error (of course we couldn’t convince him that the Covenant Church’s position on women in ministry in error). So . . . I might actually hurt your creditability by being in your corner, but that said, I am willing.
Please feel free.
Wanna start a board for chances on how long it will be before I am asked not to do hymn sing? I can’t say this comes as a surprise, but it is disappointing.
ugh. Well I’m about ready to call it quits. This is so childish

Email from Fred

qeylar wrote:
one who ripped Ethel for asking children to think about the Bible during the week.
Nah, that was [person1] and [person2]
...???[that married couple]?? I don’t know anything about that.
Sorry. I thought you knew. Ethel went to talk to Loki about their marital problems (I AM assuming you know it is [married couple] that we have been praying about in church. Jessica walked out on Bryan about 3 weeks ago or so) because she has been mentoring Jessica a little – as much as Jessica will permit – and feels very strongly that Jessica is making a HUGE mistake here and needs someone in authority like Loki that she may respect to tell her firmly. Loki basically just nodded and uhummed his way through it. Ethel felt like he wasn’t paying much attention to what she had to say.
. . . .Cyrano was thinking tomorrow morning sometime (earlier the better IMO – since I work tomorrow night). That way the kids here would be at school. . . . . .But, we can work something out.
. . . . .As far as ‘crossing the deaconate’ bridge first, what do you mean by that?
Maybe I misunderstood. I thought what you wanted to get together with Loki over was the way Tina told Lucy she was out and the implications of that. I was feeling a little bit like I had to walk softly because I am not the chairman anymore and saying anything would just be dismissed as meddling where I don’t belong anymore but I was sure willing to lend support to concerns about the way things were being done.Looking at your first note again, did you mean this, the deaconate thing plus other unstated stuff? In the original understanding, I was thinking that you might get a more ‘fair’ hearing if you waited till he had gotten past his first ‘rebellion’ before you sprung another one on him. If the deaconate thing is part of it you need to talk to him before hand but I’m not sure what you are going to add to the e-mail Cyrano sent out and the discussion I had already with Loki – unless there has been a chapter added to this story that I am unaware of.
. . . . . . I thought it was lame. I didn’t read it that thoroughly, but it struck me as really BASIC Christianity in most places. I must have missed any . . . . ... . . .destructive passages. (if you want to point some out to me feel free)
I admit that after I encountered areas where I thought he was advocating the old ‘do what ever it takes to get ‘em in the door’ brand of evangelism, I didn’t read the rest very carefully . I have lots of trouble with the notion that if you just ‘attract’ unbelievers, then you can present the message. To me, if people aren’t attracted first by Jesus and the message, it doesn’t matter. You can’t get them there with tricks . In my view, we are to tell people about Jesus and then they have to make a decision to come to Jesus on their own. Any attempt to ‘bribe’ people into making that decision not only compromises the witness, but also makes it much more difficult for people to understand the true and full nature of the decision they are faced with. Often, for people who have been brought in by an ‘attractive’ resentation’ as soon as the church gets boring or isn’t any fun anymore, they are off looking for the next attractive thing.
Even worse for a church are those who don’t ‘catch the faith’ but hang on demanding to be entertained. I also get concerned with the philosophy that insists you get people active and involved as quickly as you can to hold them. The fruit comes from the Spirit, not the other way around. If you don’t have people motivated by the Spirit to come forward to serve in what ever capacity they feel they can serve in, then the Spirit either isn’t in them or they are immature and need help maturing spiritually. I am also concerned with anyone who spends all of his time bragging about his ‘numbers’ of converts. First, you can’t really measure that, and secondly if that is what you are about, you’re missing it yourself. I guess I interpret the great commission to mean that we are to give people the opportunity, not to force Christianity down their throats.
As for scheduling, tomorrow isn’t good (deadlines I need to meet). Monday and Friday of next week I have to sit in on interviews with people applying for a second Multimedia Development Specialist position (yeah! help for me!) and Thursday I will be[out of town].

Email to Fred
Fred wrote: Sorry. I thought you knew. Ethel went to talk to Loki about their marital problems (I AM assuming you know it is [married couple] that we have been praying about in church.
No, I didn’t… news to me. Why did she walk out on him? (Brian, not [wrong name], as you said – threw me off there for a minute) unless that’s something I don’t need to know… if it’s other than unfaithfulness or abuse, then I agree she’s probably just being controlling.
Loki basically just nodded and uhummed his way through it. Ethel felt like he wasn’t paying much attention to what she had to say.
Figures.
Maybe I misunderstood. I thought what you wanted to get together with Loki over was the way Tina told Lucy she was out and the implications of that.
No I plan on bringing just about everything up that I can think of. heh. Mostly his manipulating and controlling things and how it’s starting to manifest itself in other people now in the church. That would cover everything in which we have encountered this behavior.
qeylar wrote:. . . . . . . [PDLife] I thought it was lame.
I didn’t read it that thoroughly, but it struck me as really BASIC Christianity in most places. I must have missed any . . . . ... . . .destructive passages. (if you want to point some out to me feel free)
I admit that after I encountered areas where I thought he was advocating the old ‘do what ever it takes to get ‘em in the door’ brand of evangelism, I didn’t read the rest very carefully .
[qeylar correcting self:]
Oh wait—I didn’t read purpose driven church, I read purpose driven life. That wasn’t in the Purpose Driven life. I didn’t find ‘life’ that offensive, but really basic Christianity 101 stuff (which says volumes if that’s what’s taking the church by storm – where has basic Christianity been all these years?)
As for scheduling, tomorrow isn’t good (deadlines I need to meet). Monday and Friday of next week I have to sit in on interviews with people applying for a second Multimedia Development Specialist position (yeah! help for me!) and Thursday I will be [out of town].
Well, just thought I’d ask, maybe there’s a reason everyone is unavailable (for whatever reason) tomorrow. :-) Cyrano hasn’t told me whether he set up the appointment anyway.
my heart just aches for Lucy. She has so long felt like she was on the outside looking in in things she has a real heart to participate in, and usually for reasons beyond her control. (for example she’s short, which makes her hard to cast in a leading role onstage although she has the talent for it… she’s worked so hard on overcoming her vocal shortcomings in spite of really discouraging and downright rude comments about her voice… – just makes me mad when people just act without really knowing what’s going on, nor caring enough to get to know…)

Email to Fred
BTW this entire paragraph you wrote is my thoughts exactly.
“One of the great difficulties is to keep before the audience’s mind the question of Truth. They always think you are recommending Christianity not because it is true but because it is good….You have to keep forcing them back, and again back, to the real point.” CS Lewis God in the Dock.
Only today I have found a passage in a Christian writer where he recommends his own version of Christianity on the ground that ‘only such a faith can outlast the death of old cultures and the birth of new civilisations.’ You see the little rift? ‘Believe this, not because it is true, but for some other reason.’ That’s the game.”—C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters end of chapter XXIII

Cyrano's notes on Music and Worship
Commission meeting with Loki

The letter that was sent to the council with questions about the deaconate proposal was starting to bear fruit. Cyrano ended up in an impromptu meeting with Pastor after a worship commission meeting. Here is his writeup:
Last week after the worship leaders meeting (itself pregnant with possible undertones), Loki asked to talk with me. We ended up talking for over an hour about the questions, etc. I thought it was a good meeting (in that there was a lot of information covered), but I can’t really judge that until I see how the council handles the questions we submitted at the meeting on Sunday. Given what appears to be happening with the worship commission, any actual response (or lack thereof) to what we raised will be very telling to me.
But I wanted to summarize the discussion just in case it helps you, or it raises points you want to comment on.
I stressed that the issue of women in leadership, while troubling, was really quite secondary to the concern about the manner in which the decision re the diaconate was made and how it was being presented to the congregation. I mentioned that the removal of scriptural references regarding the responsibilities of deacons/elders gave the impression that any scriptural accountability was being removed from this new commission, which I thought untenable.
The vague nature of the diaconate’s responsibilities and accountability was discussed. I told him that I didn’t raise questions on Sunday because 1) Phil said it was an informative presentation (no debate) and 2) having just seen the presentation, it was impossible to really formulate questions. Given the amount of time the council worked on the proposal (and avoided working on it for years prior), I thought that it was unrealistic to assume everyone understood and approved the proposal simply due to the lack of questions at the time. I stressed that the spiritual discipline aspect of the commission was especially problematic, since in my mind that implied some level of spiritual leadership, but I couldn’t see how the whole thing fit together. I used the word “gerrymander” when talking about how carefully crafted the responsibilities seemed to be (or would have to be, if everything said about the diaconate were to hold true). Basically, I felt that the expectation was that the congregation was to just rubber-stamp whatever the council brought forth, which is not appropriate. I told him that having talked with him, I had a much better understanding of what the diaconate was intended to be, but that even if I agreed with the proposal (which I still didn’t, citing the vagueness of the spiritual discipline mandate), I wouldn’t vote for it if I didn’t feel that it had been properly defined and explained to the congregation so an informed vote could be reasonably expected.
I talked some about the subcommittee, saying that I never expected the subcommittee’s recommendations to be brought directly to the congregation. It was intended for consumption by the council. My concern was that it didn’t really appear to be factored into the process at all, evidenced by the complete omission in Phil’s report of any mention that the subcommission actually did anything.
Loki seemed to agree re: scriptural references. I would hope they’d be reinserted, which might raise whole new vistas of questioning, we’ll see. He said he was going to be talking with Phil; the implication was that more clarity would be given prior to the vote. We’ll see.
One other thing: It was a side note, and I didn’t really intend to bring it up because it was outside my direct knowledge, but I mentioned the “unanimous vote” comment of Phil’s. I had been under the impression that there were at minimum abstentions, based on what I’d heard from qeylar and at the meeting we had. But Loki said that the vote was unanimous without abstentions. If that was the case, then I can’t fault Phil’s wording or his presentation of the proposal as a council recommendation. Any reservations in the council prior to the vote, even if strongly voiced, are trumped by such a vote. That’s the whole point of having commissions. Perhaps I misunderstood everyone (qeylar says I did) about the misdirecting nature of Phil calling the vote unanimous…

Thank you for the summary of your meeting with Loki. I hope they do address our questions and especially hope that they reinsert the scriptural references.
I also talked with Loki about the description of the vote as unanimous. True, technically it was, and I have never said anything else. I guess what I have tried to convey is that while it may have been an accurate record of the vote, it wasn’t an accurate representation of the spirit of things and I still maintain that I thought I was crystal clear about my lack of support for the direction in which the council had decided to go on this thing.
I freely admit that I am not a very diplomatic person and that I apparently don’t communicate well given the wide path of misunderstandings I appear to leave behind me most of time. In those meetings, I was trying very hard to express my belief that what we truly needed at Our Church was a board of Elders as they are described in scripture but that I understood that wasn’t going to happen, that I didn’t believe the direction we were going was a good idea but since the council was plainly going in that direction with or without me, I would do my best to contribute in as constructive a way as I could. I was trying to do all o f this without giving the impression I was just sore because my sub-committee’s recommendations had been rejected. Apparently, I did not succeed.
If a person insists upon going by the letter rather than the spirit then I should mention that as I recall, what we voted on was to present this thing to the congregation. I don’t recall a vote concerning whether or not we were all in agreement as to this being what was best for the church.
Loki mentioned to me that by not actively voting against presenting this to the church I am as guilty of presenting a misleading impression as I was saying he and Phil were. I have to concede the point I guess. I still don’t understand how my position could have been unclear, but in retrospect, I guess I should have abstained from both the process and the vote. Sunday should be interesting.

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A few additional tidbits