Reflections of a Broken Man

Inner Circles and Church Politics: Against Factionalism REDUX by StephenMac
October 8, 2008, 3:19 pm
Filed under: Reflections | Tags: , , ,

**currently listening to “New Surrender” by Anberlin! Came in the post today! Joy upon joys**

Thanks to Jax for his comment on my previous article:

Historically, the organisation to which you refer has been one of the reasons why Sydney didn’t go the way of Melbourne. It would seem that this is dirty work but someone’s got to do it.

And the diocese is probably not the only arena in which this kind of political battle, for want of a better way of referring to it, is going on in. There’s lots of other organisations in which orthodoxy and politics have gotten mixed up. Sigh.

bishop I don’t deny the great work this org has done. I think that I am bemoaning the need for someone to do the “dirty work” in the first place. Jax also points out that in lots of other organisations outside the diocese “orthodoxy and politics have gotten mixed up”. This too I don’t deny. It is the current reality of living in a sinful world, I think, that when sinful people come together, they compete against each other for power, and as such band together in various ways to ensure that they get it. As a student of politics, I think I can make a good case for politics being the product of living in a fallen world. We find politics in more than government, we find it wherever sinful, prideful, selfish people come together and interact with each other: in business, in sport, in social groups, virtually everywhere. Politics in this very general sense is the interactions of individuals with regards to power (the ability to affect decisions).

In this way, does politics have a place in the church? On the level that the church is meant to be discordant with society, to be a light in a darkened world, should church be political? Not in the governmental sense (should church affect policy) but intrinsically? And if non-evangelicals (“them”, and already we have made a division in the body of Christ) play the realpolitik should we? Do we fight fire with fire? Where do we draw the line?

Speaking from personal experience, I have seen how politics within church has caused division. My one year on a parish council (albeit in the year we were without a permanent minister) ended with divisions within the council. With the coming of the new minister, the first thing he notices is that our church has great rifts within it. The forming of groups within the council in order to ensure the “correct” (as we saw it) running of the church led to divisions within the church.

Politics is inherently divisive, and as such, I am still reluctant to call it a necessary evil. Just because “they” play it doesn’t mean that I should! So how do we deal with this?