A while back I was having dinner with a few of friends of mine.
Naturally, because I was there, the conversation eventually turned to Bible-y, church-y stuff. I have that influence on people. They can’t help it. I’m THAT powerful. Charismatic. They can be talkin’ about Australian Rules Football one minute and before they know it, I’ve shifted the whole conversation to the Abomination of Desolation spoken of in the book of Daniel. Which MAY explain why I don’t get invited to a lot of parties. Anyhow...
Usually I’m pretty bored by people, especially when they’re sayin’ stuff. But to my surprise, I was suddenly brought out of my nacho-induced stupor when one of my friends informed the group that she did not believe in people being disfellowshipped. She said she didn’t think it existed.
As one who has been disfellowshipped countless times before, naturally this caught my attention. For the record, I’ve been disfellowshipped 9 times, black-balled 3 times, kicked out of 2 Christian colleges and 1 Brownie Troop. I only wish I could have done more.
Ask me why I have been disfellowshipped (or kicked out of particular congregations) so many times, I’m not sure I could give you a satisfactory answer; primarily because I was never given a satisfactory answer by any of my Disfellowshippers.
Suffice to say it was never for any Bible-y reason. There was no immoral, greedy, idolatrous, swindling going on. Usually it was because of a sermon I preached that somebody didn’t like, or an opinion I held that somebody disagreed with, or suit I wore that “offended” somebody. You get it. The usual.
When you ask a Disfellowshipper to be specific as to why they think you should be disfellowshipped, they get sort of embarrassed and confused and very mumble-y. Kinda takes the fun out of the whole thing when you have to actually start THNKIN’ stuff through. I should know, I HATE thinkin’ stuff through.
The good news is, hardly anyone is ever kicked out of church anymore. Not because they shouldn’t be, but because it just isn’t done anymore. Churches need all the folks they can get these days, and to go around kickin’ out the few that are at least showin’ up once in a while just isn’t good for business.
Plus that, throwin’ people out of church just isn’t polite. We don’t wanna “judge” anybody’s actions these days. We don’t want to expect anything from them, let alone ourselves. Most people and churches would rather be polite than right any day.
So here we have a Biblical practice that was at one time employed fairly regularly yet often incorrectly and for the wrong reasons, that is now NEVER employed because it might hurt people’s feelings.
Maybe my friend was right. Maybe disfellowshipping doesn’t exist.
If those are the choices, maybe it never should have.
(insert hilarious joke here)
As together we stand and sing.