05 January 2013

decently and in order

One of the things that attracted me to the Presbyterian Church was the Book of Order.  I joined the PC(USA) congregation across the street from our seminary when I was there in the 90s.  It seemed to me that the Book of Order is helpful in keeping us “on the same page.”  (I’ve mentioned this before.)  Of course, just as with the Bible, it can be misused or ignored.  Experience has taught me that misusing it and ignoring it are equally bad!

Again, as with the Bible, there can be a tendency to use it to control others.  (In a former church that we pastored, someone in all sincerity called it the “Book of Orders.”  That may be a case in point!)

The wisdom and beauty of doing things “decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:40) is what gives something like a book of order value in the first place.  It helps to create safe places, such as worship services and congregational meetings—which sadly can become places in which hostility and humiliation insinuate themselves. 

After all, our “God is a God not of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor 14:33).

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