Center for the Study of
CHURCH AFFECTIVE DISORDER
Are you tired of annual meetings of
the congregation and/or monthly meetings of church council where the budget and
property items take far more time than those of ministry, Christian Education,
and theological issues?
Are you ready to scream at committee meetings where the same agenda gets rolled over again and again, and the point seems to be endless discussion with the goal of never having to take decisive action?
Do you despair that some of the most cherished activities in your congregation might possibly be peripheral (at best) to the purpose for which Christ founded the Church?
Do you sometimes wonder if your congregation's behavior is proclaiming the message that God took human form, entered human suffering, endured death in the second person of the Trinity, and rose again in order to establish and preserve the sanctity of the annual bake sale? (Please feel free to substitute "banquette," "pageant," "rummage sale," or other local sacred event in the life of your Totem Group in place of "bake sale.")
Does it sometimes amaze you that a
critical mass of your congregation can affirm their belief in the historic
apostolicity and catholicity of the Church each Sunday, and yet continue to
persist in a tribal parochialism that would give many a Shinto Shrine and
Westminster Abbey a run for their money in the ancestor-worship derby? As a corollary, are you ready to scream
when you hear for the Xth time about the past glories of a congregation that
desperately needs to discern what it is called to do at the present time?
When you hear the dismissal,
"Go in Peace. Serve the Lord," do you sometimes want to shout,
Do you ever get irritated at some parishioners for allowing themselves the sort of mental sloth on Sunday mornings they would not tolerate in their professional lives?
Do you sometimes get the idea that the competing agendas within your congregation have as their subtext a cacophonous anthem in which the participants are singing "It's All About Me," each in her or his own key and time signature?
Are you torn between laughing and crying, because you sadly see the truth of the lampoon, when you see the following image from the movie "Dogma"?
Do you have a similar reaction when you hear the following words to Sullivan's St. Gertrude?
Like a mighty tortoise
Moves the Church of God.
Brothers we are treading
Where we've always trod.
While not denying the reaction above, because you do think the Church needs constant reforming under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are you growing weary of those who would easily dismiss the tradition of the Church in order for the Church to gain greater credibility in the secular world?
Are you often equally irritated by those whom you see as too fussy about the liturgy being done correctly and those whom you see as boastfully cavalier in their dismissal of liturgy done in decent order?
Are you tired of constant debates in the Church in which you are asked to take sides in an irresolvable conflict rather than search for ways to reframe the question in a way that is more theologically responsible than continuing the stale-mate?
Are you fearful that either\or thinking has the power to bring the Church to a standstill, and pray for Hagia Sophia to break through the false dichotomies that tend to vex our ecclesial deliberations?
Are there times when you find it difficult to find curse words with a sufficient amount of vehemence to express your ecclesial frustration?
If you are able to answer at least three of these in the affirmative, you may suffer from CAD. If you can think of several similar questions you could add to this list, it is a good bet that you are one of us.