Often when I do the “orientation” for the new board members in my congregation I tell them, “churches are like sausages – you don’t want to know how they are made.” It can often be disillusioning to people to see some of the politics that play a part of the church as institution.
I grew up in a pastor’s home and since I started in the workforce at 16 years old, I have only had two jobs that were not church related. In short, I’ve seen a lot of sausage making. I don’t know if it is because I am getting old and cranky or if it is working in Nampa that I am more aware of it, but the last few years I have witnessed the sausage making at its worst.
In the wake of our annual District Assembly, I recalled a statement from Brian McLaren’s book, “A New Kind of Christianity”:
From my perspective, institutions exist in a dynamic relationship with social movements: simply put, institutions preserve the gains of past social movements. And with amazing consistency, they also oppose the gains proposed by current social movements. But with equal consistency, if a social movement survives being ignored, opposed, or co-opted by the institution it seeks to change, that movement’s gains will enrich the legacy of the institution, and the institution will conserve those gains. (p. 248).