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Life in the church

One of my blogging colleagues wrote recently about issues she's having with her (Episcopal) parish priest. Now, I spent many years working for a church and have a somewhat unique, perhaps skewed, perspective. Anyway, issues within a congregation are always particularly painful. Consider one key point, if you will. People feel an intense attachment to their congregations, to the buildings. This is, at its core, not only good but essential. However, at times it can cause anguish. Messing with components of worship really becomes messing with the core of people's identity, with their relationship with the divine. If not dealt with well, you are telling those you disagree with that their relationship with God is somehow wrong. Not very priestly, or pastoral in any sense. It's quite critical for clergy (in particular, but not excluded to them) to keep this in mind lest they harm their flock. The "my way or the highway" mentality may work for leading a Republican congress, but not a parish. It's ugly, un-pastoral, and damn un-Christian.