Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things I Didn't Learn in Seminary #......

There are, of course, a multitude of things I didn't learn in seminary but the most pressing one this week is whether or not to accept the gift of a cut spruce tree for decoration in our sanctuary for Advent & Christmas. On the surface this sounds like a no-brainer, doesn't it? I mean how can you turn down a generous gift, in this case someone in the church who has for the past 20 years been growing a spruce in her yard for the express purpose of donating it to the church.

But the more people talk about it the more difficulties arise: people who are allergic to evergreen trees, the size of the tree and getting it up into our second floor sanctuary, the daily watering and monitoring a cut live tree requires, and then there are the clean up issues just to name a few. On the up side there is honoring the generous gift of a caring member of the church, coupled with the "traditional" feel of a real tree along with the beauty it would add to our worship space for a few weeks in December.

The tough thing for me is I don't simply think its a matter of making a "pro" and "con" list. Is that really how we should be making decisions in the church? Sure we've done it that way for a long time or at least for as long as people can remember. But is there any where in the Bible or in the early history of the church where leaders made a pro/con list or allowed a simple majority to win? No, it seems like prayerful appeals to God and God's Son relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit are the foundations of decision making in the Old and New Testament communities of faith.

So where does that leave us in twenty-first century Southern Idaho? Can we get past a simple issue of whether or not to put a spruce tree in our sanctuary in a way that honors Christ? Should such considerations even matter? Or do we simply let people's opinions or a majority of pros versus cons rule the day?


  1. Good questions. Who knew that a simple gift could cause such inner turmoil, but I'm right there beside you.

  2. Hello Phil, I came across your blog this evening and have enjoyed reading some of your observations. I'm pastor at Eastside Baptist Church here in Twin Falls, so it was nice reading from your perspective living in Twin Falls too. I'll enjoy coming again to read more I'm sure.


    Paul <><