Don’t Beat the People in Public

I spent the morning at Caldwell Presbyterian Church in Lake George again.

Several of the summer residents are getting ready go home (or back to wherever it is they call home when they’re not here). Florida. South Carolina. New York City.

One of them shared with me that one of the weeks I wasn’t there they had been visited by “someone from the Presbytery” who had “given the congregation a good spanking.”

This visitor had only been visiting for two weeks. She left the first week wondering if she should come back. By the end of the service she felt beaten up, and she wasn’t even a responsible party. She’d just showed up wanting to have church.

I’m not sure why the Presbytery person thought the congregation needed to be scolded. I’m not involved in either the Presbytery or the Congregation’s politics. The best thing about filling in is that I don’t have to be.

Maybe they needed a “talking to” and maybe they didn’t.

As one visitor to another, though, I quite agree that using Sunday morning to air grievances with a congregation (“especially during the tourist season in front of visitors”) isn’t doing the congregation any favors, even if they do need to be told a thing or two.

Again, I wasn’t there.

All I know is that I’ve been to a service or two where I’ve wondered why I’d gone. I’ll admit to having left services I was in charge of wondering why I’d gone. It’s a terrible feeling.

I’m not saying church should always be roses and milk and honey. If it’s worth going to it should be challenging. Just not in a way that makes you feel like giving up.

Visiting Presbytery officials (or whatever other denominations have) should know this better than anyone else.

Save venting, “talking to” and church politics for a congregational meeting. Put it in the newsletter if you have to.

Sunday morning is for worship.