Sunday, January 21, 2007

Changing Church Part XIV

“You say ‘might’ a lot. And you hope, or believe.”

“Excuse me, but as we are Christians here who believe in a mighty God, I thought such words would be acceptable,” said Anne. Her defensive mood had not lessened.

“Anne, can you bring out the cake?” Will’s tone said more than his words. Anne could tell that the men understood his rebuke. She rose meekly and spent some time in the kitchen.

“Please don’t think I’m trying to give you a false impression of our feelings by keeping her quiet at times.”

Anne came out smiling, having heard this, and having regained control of her attitude. She offered a piece of thickly frosted chocolate cake to each of her guests. Then she sat down to quiet herself over an oversized piece of her own.

“Your deacon was concerned that this was a one-man decision. I am concerned that the only person you consulted was your wife.”

“I consulted my Bible. Anne is a sounding board. And a different perspective.”

“And she advises and influences you. That is clear, and we have no objection, I think, to that. I just would be more at ease if you had sought guidance from a mentor or superior before you acted.”

Deflecting this comment, Will asked, “As it sits, I would like to ask you all what your opinion is of this change our church has made.”

The five men, dressed in stuffy suits and ties, looked at each other. Who wanted to speak for the group? The man who had been on the investigational team eight months ago leaned back in his chair with a satisfied sigh. After a pause in which the only sound was chewing, the youngest spoke. “For myself, I am curious. I see no violation of conference or church policy, and it would be interesting to see what benefits these adjustments bring. I think you are very brave, and maybe over-bold, but you have a faith I respect.”

“We’ve talked to several of your deacons, and many of them feel the same way. They were caught off guard, and they are a little hurt that they were left to the surprise. But they’re excited. By now they have asked their questions and given the matter some thought. There are skeptics, but they are weakening. Even amongst ourselves, the outrage we first felt at such a massive overhaul of a church in the course of a single Sunday morning is fading into misty memory,” agreed their leader.

“Are you concerned about Anne’s involvement? I love her and respect her so much that it is hard for me to keep her from… I can’t think how to say it.”

“That is a question to ask your congregation. I expect your wife doesn’t speak in church?”

“No,” they answered together.

“I suppose I am uncomfortably turning this meeting over in my mind to see whether it is appropriate for her to be answering you, or whether I should have handled the interview alone.”

“She was not teaching, but giving a testimony of God’s work in you. This is not the congregation; it is a small group gathered for that purpose, to hear your side of the story. She is apparently a large part of it.”

“As long as you all want to discuss me, maybe I’d better leave. I should get some rest,” Anne offered.

“Are you feeling ok?” Will asked eagerly.

“Fine,” she grinned.

“We just found out she’s expecting.”

“Is that timing or what?” joked Anne.

“Congratulations,” the leader told them. “Do any of you have any other questions?” he asked his companions. “Ok, then I think we have what we need. We’ll leave you to your rest.”

Standing together at the door to watch them go, Will wrapped his arm around Anne’s small waist. “I think we made it,” he whispered.

“So far,” she said.

To God be all glory.

See the index for first and additional chapters.

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