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    Thoughtworthy (Happy Anniversary, New Book Club, and MORE!)

    May 3, 2019 by Brandy Vencel

    :: 1 ::

    What the heck??? How in the world is it Friday already? Did we mysteriously skip a day this week? This Thoughtworthy will be a short one because …

    My husband is home for a long weekend — and it’s our anniversary weekend! (We’re 18 years old. We’ve basically made it through adolescence … our skin is clearing up … and we’ve reached the point of pleasant-to-be-around. 😉 ) Naturally, we’re going to see Avengers: Endgame. (Am I the only person who is happy the theaters finally do assigned seating? Hallelujah.)

    Someone observed to me that this plan is not very romantic. It probably sounds even less so when I say we’re going with friends. But it’s Friend R., who was my maid of honor, and her husband, so that’s something. They’re our favorites. Plus … we’re doing a getaway later this month. In the meantime, we’ve been waiting for this movie for so long…

    :: 2 ::

    If you are in Sistership Premier and planning to do the Seeking God book club with mentor Cindy Rollins, make sure you have ordered your books! You need these:

    Also, the reading schedule is now available in the Sistership, so download it and keep it somewhere where you can see it.

    :: 3 ::

    If you are not in the Scholé Sisters Sistership, but would like to join our fun, click here. (If you want to upgrade a lower membership to Premier, just look in My Account and check your Subscriptions. There should be an upgrade button.)

    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2018:

    Oh my heart, this was hard to write and harder to decide. Letting my expectations for high school go was an initially painful but altogether wonderful thing.

    :: 5 ::

    This week’s links collection:

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  • Reply E May 4, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    The many problems with that CT article starts with its title… clearly a mass murder is NOT one of our own. Really good discussion on this on Generations radio here

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 4, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      Interesting! I look forward to listening. Just at the outset before listening, I sort of assume this is a doctrinal difference — by “one of our own” Truman means “baptized member of the covenant community” (which doesn’t mean “actual Christian”).

      I actually liked the phrasing because it inherently points to the responsibility the elders bear in such a situation.

      I am aware, however, that the Reformed doctrine of church membership is not the mainstream Protestant view these days.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 5, 2019 at 3:17 pm

      Okay, I finally got a chance to listen to that episode, and I both agree and disagree with the hosts. On the one hand, it’s true that this was a gross violation of God’s law and likely a sign that this teenager did not have true faith. But as far as I can tell, he was a baptized, professing, communicant member of his church — and his father was an elder. That very much makes him “one of our own” — to the point that the question in my mind is WHY. How did no one know what was going on with this kid?

      Someone’s actions don’t immediately remove them from the membership of the church. There is a very specific method of church discipline within the OPC, and that, as far as I know, has not yet been done. It is not the perpetrator’s *actions* that remove him from the church. It is the *legal proceedings* which follow his actions. So there, I assume, will be an investigation and a trial and he will very likely be excommunicated. Once he has been excommunicated, then and only then is he not “one of their own.” The author of the CT article, Carl Truman, is speaking legally when he calls this teenager “one of our own,” as uncomfortable as that might make the rest of us. Truman is, after all, a member of the exact same denomination.

      It was interesting to me that the podcast host is a Presbyterian minister that used a non-Presbyterian understanding of church membership. Maybe his denomination is different from the OPC and so he doesn’t know better?

      So then the hosts go on to accuse Truman of “dedicating the article to environmental causes.” We Christians here in California where this shooting took place cannot examine the heart of the shooter, but we can very well do some self-examination, and that’s exactly what Truman encourages us to do. I think he’s writing as a (former) pastor and elder himself — where did the church go wrong? What responsibility do those around the shooter bear? What could we do differently? He’s speaking from his own experience: “I learned long ago, to my chagrin, that provocative comments I made in the classroom could be picked up and used by students in harmful ways I never imagined and that we all are responsible for the way we speak and speak about others.” I don’t see this as attempting to shift blame away from the shooter. It’s simply examining the blame where we can at this time, before the trial: where did the church go wrong? Because the church certainly DID go wrong: one of their own communicant members, a child of one of their ELDERS, committed a horrific crime. They have to confront that.

      I really think this criticism of the article is laughable. The hosts are accusing Truman of “groupthink” when he is simply expressing the doctrine of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The elders are responsible to shepherd and discipline the sheep and something went awry here. The fact that a crime was committed reveals two levels of guilt: one on the personal level and one on the corporate level. If a communicant member of my church sits near my family every week and is beating his wife and I don’t notice — and then he kills her … something has not *just* gone wrong with that family, with that man. Something has gone wrong with my church and with me. The fact of that man’s individual guilt does not absolve me of my responsibility as a member of the church.

      As I continue to consider what was said, I think Truman and these podcasts hosts are missing each other because the hosts want to consider individual responsibility and Truman is considering corporate responsibility — and honestly both are appropriate and necessary in their own place. But to criticize one for not being the other seems a bit over the top.

      I am not OPC, but the OPC views membership vows as akin to marriage vows. The members are viewed as having real responsibilities to and for one another, and also the elders for the sheep. I think these podcasts hosts just don’t understand the OPC view of corporate relationships and membership and are instead interpreting it through, ironically, a mainstream individualistic worldview.

  • Reply Carol May 3, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Happy 18th! X

  • Reply Tanya Stone May 3, 2019 at 10:53 am

    LOL We’ve been waiting too and will also be seeing it Saturday night. We saw “Infinity War” in Manchester, England so that was awesome. And we have to see Endgame before we hear any more spoilers!!! The kids our children know in youth group and homeschool and ballet, they are wicked and keep sharing things! LOL
    We’re a little extra crazy and we’re taking all the kids. We’ve threatened them with grounding if anyone has to use the bathroom during this film! 😀

  • Reply R May 3, 2019 at 8:53 am

    Well, I think your (our) anniversary plans sound wonderfully romantic! And since you and Si have reached “pleasant to be around” and we are nearly there, it should be a good time.

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