I have completed my latest unsatisfactory encounter with "Church Discipline". I am reminded of the "Emergency Stop" lever in SpaceBalls that has a warning attached to it that it never be used.
I won't go into detail but finally resolved that since no action would come anywhere on any front, that I would simply take matters into my own hands. I wanted to avoid lawsuits so I sought a legal means to apply pressure outside church channels, and proceeded to apply it. I applied it. It worked. I'm happy with the result. I'm comfortable with my ethical position and relieved I didn't have to use lawyers.
Several times in my life I have tried to use the avenue of Church Disciplinary procedure as outlined in Matthew 18 and 1st Corinthians 6 to resolve problems that inevitably crop up with other believers. I have even gone to such organizations as "Peacemakers" in attempts to resolve issues that countless numbers of churches, local administrators and even denominations would not confront. Peacemakers was ineffective. They wanted money. They kept me on a mailing list for a long time. They seem to be good at selling merchandise. A visit to their web page shows some very nice coffee cups.
This last time around every church that was involved demurred. They vigorously sought reasons to "not get involved" and I am reminded of those in the parable of the Good Samaritan that crossed on the other side. Every conceivable excuse was employed, just as the one that ended up coming before Peacmakers, it was clear that nice tidy Sunday appearances were desired but "no mud please, we're Holy".
The good news this time around was that all the combatants got back together and found a way to agree and the dispute was resolved. I want to commend EVERYONE involved in the resolution, particularly the go between we used. You all know who you are. Despite the fact that I'm probably never going to be intimate friends with some of the adversaries I had (I emphasize HAD), I am more greatly impressed with them and their behavior than I am of the Church Establishment and the various "ministries" that have grown up around that establishment.
The bad news is that I have never to this day seen or participated in a remotely Christian problem resolution process that involved a Church or Church body themselves. For me to wish this to occur, I would have to get into another "unresolved conflict", something I never hope to do again. God willing, I won't.
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