Has "bad classis" happened to you?
Part of the difficulty of church work is that expectations run so high. Christian claims about being a new creation in Christ Jesus run head on into the reality of sinful, broken people in shallow, botched community. In the online and offline comments to my previous posts it is obvious that there are hurt feelings, low expectations and stories of bad experiences with classis. Sometimes its helpful to come clean about wrongs in order to set things right. Here is a list of Classical sins that I’ve seen or heard about.
- Keeping Classis perfunctory: This is probably the most common one I hear. Classis meets, goes through the motions out of some sense of duty or obligation. It seems to have lost its purpose or reason for being.
- Classis as village goat: Haitian proverb: “The village goat dies tied to the post.” Too often classis seems to have no “owner”. Classical ministries are disconnected, everyone is busy with their local ministry, classis suffers from a lack of ownership or passion.
- Classis as arena for pastor-ego-gladiators: Most people may not know or care about classis, but two or three times a year it provides egotistical pastor-roosters a place strut, display their plumage and work on the pecking order. Petty fiefdoms are established. Control games are played. Small people take whatever comfort or ego nourishment they can at the classical expense. These things reinforce all the petty prejudices that doubters have about the church. Those who are looking to point out hypocrisy here will surely not be disappointed.
- Classis as vehicle for rehearsing and venerating a subculture’s glory days. It’s OK to feel some pride about your group’s past, but out tradition should inform our decisions, not dominate them. It’s important to remember that Jesus, the Apostle Paul and the leaders of the Reformation were all in trouble for breaking ranks with tradition. Benefiting from the wisdom of our ancestors is smart, doing so mindlessly is slavery.