1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Friends of mine, active Episcopalians, are trying out a new church. They’re tired of their big, rather safe and stuffy church. They’ve been visiting another Episcopal church in the city where they live: a mission founded to minister to people released from prison. It meets, they write, “in a drafty hall with folding chairs; the music is amateurish and in many genres; the service is one of several modernized versions of the Eucharist; the sermons we have heard have been full of energy and commitment. The place has a strong bent towards social action; it is interracial and clearly gay-friendly. The people are friendly and warm, clearly connected with each other, and clearly engaged in worship. After the sermons, the priest hands around a mike and a few people talk about the sermon or the text, so far as we can tell in pretty real ways, connecting what they have heard to their lives.”
But my friends have one concern about this new congregation: “whether there is a discipline here and if so what it is.” By “discipline,” they mean what is the standard, the criterion, by which the life of the congregation is measured and held to account. And that’s a very important question; an important question for all churches, and for each of us as individuals. Is our “discipline” just what we like? What makes us feel comfortable or happy? The way we’ve done things in the past?