December Letters

No more delays, please

Re Gathering 2012 (September). I was intrigued by some things that took place at Gathering 2012. Yes, constituents should have had access to the Mochar Report ahead of time. But my encouragement to members is “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Although it’s difficult to properly discern anything when you’re feeling slighted by leaders, please don’t let hurt feelings delay this process any further.

Many people at Gathering 2012 found some of the language unsettling: “prophecy,” “Spirit-led,” “divine discontent,” etc. Why is it acceptable for our overseas missionaries to use such terminology but not local pastors? A local leader using the same terminology is approached with added caution. But shouldn’t we expect our leaders to hear from God?

Our national executives are like shepherds leading their sheep. It doesn’t mean we should follow blindly or irrationally. But if we give our leaders a mandate, we should commend them for attending to it. Unless we’re unified by a biblical reason to shelve the prophetic instruction from the Mochar Report, why wouldn’t we embrace it? Let our leaders lead!

Derek Lehman
Manitou, Man.

Prophecies should spark dialogue

Re “Flawed process” (Letters, October). In his letter, Abe Dueck said, “The overlay of ‘prophetic’ or highly spiritualized language made it difficult for those who disagreed to respond without feeling that their own spirituality might be questioned.”

In the New Testament, the word “prophetic” is a conversation starter, not a conversation ender (see 1 Corinthians 14). It’s an invitation to discuss, pray, and respond. Admittedly, the executive board already vetted this to some degree, which nuances our reading of it: “Some very important people think this is from God, so I must read it with that in mind.” And isn’t discernment one of the primary functions of leadership?

The tension here has more to do with MB discomfort with the prophetic in general than with this prophecy in particular. It seems we’ve created a religious culture where it isn’t acceptable for people to hear from God or share what they sense God saying with any kind of passion or certainty. This, to me, is far more dangerous than Mochar’s word could ever be.

Brad Huebert
Calgary, Alta.

Another look at social media

Re “Social media: vain distractions or community-building tools?” (Intersection, October). In her article, Sandra Reimer assumes that all “modes of communication are neutral.” Really?

A generation ago, in Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman elucidated that the way in which we communicate is just as important – if not more so – than the content. Postman’s argument focused on television, which he said has an inherent bias toward entertainment. He said, for example, that an evangelist can’t just use television to communicate his or her message. The very act of communicating via television changes the message into a form of entertainment.

Postman’s concern was that the general lack of awareness of bias inherent in a medium creates the potential for the greatest distortion of a message. I think the same critical analysisneeds to be applied to new media, which are also not neutral, but clearly have inherent biases in them as well.

Mark Friesen
Winnipeg, Man.

Don’t waste time on Facebook, seek out introverts

Re “Social media: vain distractions or community-building tools?”(Intersection, October). Sandra Reimer claims that Facebook enhances face-to-face contact for a pastor at her church. This may be so, but what about non-Facebook users? Does Facebook allow information to be shared only by people already predisposed to share? What about introverts?

If I’m not a Facebook user, this “ministry” time will never apply to me. I suggest that ministry hours not be spent on social media. As a regular church attender, I’d be unhappy to discover that part of our budget deficit was caused by hours spent on Facebook.

Look to the silent members. They are probably the ones who need more care.

Lacey Wilson
Fort Nelson, B.C.

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