Learning to Leave Well: Doing Better at Church Splits

We need to find a new way to talk about the congregations that are leaving MC USA. They’re not leaving us; we’re getting divorced. Leaving is something you do after four OK Cupid dates. We have shared assets. We have children together (MCC, MMN, Everence) and we have the same parent (MWC). Do you want to stay involved in your children’s lives? Do you want to stay connected to your ex-in laws? How will you negotiate custody on holidays like Relief Sale and Schmeckfest? Churches aren’t “leaving”–they’re moving out of the house we’ve shared for 60 years.

This metaphor is scary. The church is still, though sometimes only technically, opposed to divorce. How can we talk about “divorcing well” if it’s something we’re not supposed to do at all? If what Clinton Frame actually did was divorce Indiana-Michigan, then both parties need a moment of self-reflection, self-discovery, and learning how to live separately. Self-reflection is hard, but what I’ve noticed recently is how much churches are struggling to live separately. Continue reading

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