After reading the lead articles in the September issue (“Planting New Churches” and “In the Public Eye”), I reflected once again on how easy it is to have too narrow a focus even as “we” are highlighting our broadness.
Here’s a case in point from each article:
First, while demonstrating the diversity of new mission congregations, the language employed dealt primarily with starting a new church. I know that such usage is commonplace, but I believe it makes “us” lose sight of the continuity and catholicity of the Church, throughout the ages and throughout the world, which we state as belief in the creeds. I find equally troubling referring to congregations that worship “as many as 600 on Sunday,” because that service-sector shorthand cuts God out of the picture as the object of worship—grammatically at least. How we speak reflects our understanding of identity and purpose.
Second, wouldn’t focusing on one or two congressional representatives have been enough instead of four? Missed was the opportunity to acknowledge someone like Art Simon, a rostered LCMS clergyman who has lobbied Congress for 35 years on behalf of the neediest and hungriest of our nation and world. As the founding president and president emeritus of Bread for the World, Simon is a fine example of one whose faith not only informs his work but also propels him to cross denominational, political, and national lines.
Let’s keep our focus as steady and wide as the net our Lord throws out!
Rev. Joel R. Kurz
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