Monday, November 17, 2008

Autonomy and Alienation

Editor's note: Thirty years ago this month, a minister who had affiliated his congregation with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) led his flock into a remote foreign jungle to escape nuclear conflagration, and then systematically murdered nearly 1,000 of them in what he chose to term “revolutionary suicide” — a deed for which he expected to be admired. Disciples minister Katherine Willis Pershey raises the key question, with a particular focus on her own denomination: “Could it happen again?”

Ask a dozen Disciples about any given theological or social issue, and you will receive a dozen different answers. For the most part, Disciples of Christ like it that way. They value their freedom. Church members do not want to be scolded by their pastors for what they believe. Disciples churches do not want their regional ministers to act as hierarchical bishops, interfering with call processes or showing up uninvited at board meetings to arbitrate congregational conflicts. No, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) proudly stands by its historical commitment to unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, and in all things charity.

Yet the freedom this denomination holds dear in part enabled Jim Jones to lead the Peoples Temple Christian Church, a Disciples of Christ congregation, into unfathomable tragedy in Guyana on November 18, 1978. {continue...}
[via DisciplesWorld, HT: Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

No comments:

Post a Comment