Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Quotes from Steven Mosley

I got this from an internet friend and thought it was a good follow-up to my last post. Sorry he did not provide page numbers.

"Some people are just not very expressive. Thier melancholy temperament has made them introspective and solemn. That's OK. What's not OK, however, is to create a picture of God that is stern, severe and grumpy out of that limited personality and demand that others bow down to it. It's not OK to create worship in your image and demand that others follow it or be damned as rebellious."

"Judgmental people are critical, gossipy and cruel. Judgmental people create unhealthy religion. It's something that needs to be confronted in church. Judgmental people shouldn't be in charge. They should not hold church office, they should not be voices that we obey. We shouldn't mistake intimidation for conviction. We shouldn't mistake bluntness for insight. We shouldn't mistake someone who seems stricter than us for someone who is closer to God than us."

"Dysfunctional people violate boundaries. They get bent out of shape when everyone else doesn't tow the line-their line. It's not OK for another member to have a different opinion about the investigative judgement or Sabbath observance. They have to straighten that person out. They have to sabotage their ministry if this 'enemy' is in a position of leadership. It's not OK if someone sings special music in a sleevless dress. They have to complain about it to member after member until the singer is appropriately embarrassed and changes her ways. It's not OK if the church votes to lay down new magenta carpet in the sanctuary if they want blue. They have to embark on a campaign to change this terrible error in hue. Controllers manipulate others in countless ways. They try to make other people feel guilty in countless ways. They draw lines between enemies and friends in countless ways. The tradgedy is that unhealthy people rise to the top in so many congregations. Needy people desperately want to be Sabbath School superintendent or head elder or chairperson of the church board. They are eager for these positions of honor and influence. They desperately need approval; they need affirmation. They can't love and be loved so they have to control. So, in church after church we end up with rigid superintendents, bullying head elders and manipulative chairpersons. "

"Healthy people can be flexible. Unhealthy people can't. They are obsessed with how things should be. Things have to be a certain way.. Sabbath School and church have to proceed in a certain way or it just isn't worship. The music they are comfortable with has to be played or it's just false worship. So guess who ends up shaping the our church services? This wreaks havoc on churches; it destroys the joy of worship, the joy of fellowship. Controlling people, in fact, create dysfunctiuonal churches that no healthy person in thier right mind would ever join. "

Mosley devotes a whole chapter that deals with solutions entitled Setting People Free. Here are a couple of excerpts:

"Some engage in serving others because they have to be needed. They don't develop healthy relationships with equals-only subordinates. They create paternalistic relationships. They need others to be dependent. They are traumatized when they can't hold on to certain positions or 'turf' within the church. The most loving thing a church can do is confront these individuals about thier problem. It's not helpful to simply enable them to dig into thier 'turf'. They need to be confronted-privately, directly, and compassionately-according to the principals Jesus laid down in Matthew 18: 15-17."

"We have to start building the right kind of churches by starting with the right kind of relationships. We can't sit back anymore and just let the needy and the controlling speak and act for the church. We need to have healthy, as well as doctrinally sound, individuals in charge."

"Obviously judgmental people shouldn't determine the kind of worship that takes place in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. But no one kind of people should. We have got to stop demonizing people and things we are not comfortable with. The things that annoy us may be just the kind of language, style or approach someone else needs to hear. Sometimes we need to create more than one kind of worship service in a church to meet different needs. But through all of this, it's important to remember that the diversity of members in the body of Christ is something that reflects the breadth of God's character and personality. It is something to be cherished, not feared. The diversity of tastes does not have to be a battleground. It can remind us that God is bigger than anything we can imagine or express, that no church can contain His wonder and mystery."

"That's the bottom line behind a lot of theological smoke that has blown up around this or that kind of worship. People may think they are waging a battle for the 'truth' or for a 'pure' church. But too often they are just documenting the narrowness of thier hearts. They instinctively want everyone else to fit into thier painfully limited worship repertoire. They can't bear the idea of others exulting freely in the Lord when they can only mourn and 'sigh and cry for the abominations done in the church.' It doesn't seem that these celebrants can possibly have genuine religion. The chronic mourners have laboured so long and hard in thier attempts to serve the Lord-with so little joy to show for it. Surely it can't be true that joy could fall so abundantly on others who are much less worthy."

From the Back Cover
How do you feel about your church body? Does it fill you up with spiritual enthusiasm? Does it create an irrepressible joy for salvation? Does it nurture a healing love? If, sometimes, it doesn't--this is a great book for you.

Steve Mosley doesn't circle the issue?he hits the nail straight on the head. He's refreshingly honest. Refreshingly direct. Easily holding your interest with illustrations and examples, Steve shows you the distinction between an unhealthy religion of "avoiding sin" and a healthy religion that seeks God. One weakens Adventist worship--the other strengthens and invigorates. One is controlling?the other is loving. It's no wonder that sometimes you're burned our--where's the love to fuel the fire?

Loving each other is what a living, vibrant church is all about?and it starts with you and me There can be a change. This book helps you spark the healing love that the source of positive Christianity: "Love creates healthy religion. There's no substitute . . . Everything else is counterfeit. Everything else eventually burns out."

Know God. Know the love


Anonymous said...
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Ron Corson said...

I had to delete the above comment because it was an ad hominem attack upon the person of the post title. The wisdom of the quotes is not dependent upon the person giving the quotes or upon personal differences one may have with the person.