Things Change: Duane W.H. Arnold

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11 Responses

  1. LInn says:

    Duane,
    There are a few churches where the community continues to be inclusive vs exclusive. Several years ago my church was becoming mostly white seniors. We did not reflect the neighborhood at all. The one glimmer of hope was the Spanish congregation (where I spend most of my time), with families and many young people. In 2016 a new pastor came, with a vision for reaching our neighborhood. It took flyers, community events, and a lot of creativity, but our church is now about 1/3 people of other ethnicities besides white, and the Spanish congregation is twice as big. We still need a bigger push to reach our Vietnamese neighbors, and I continue to pray it happens. But, I am very happy with the changes and the pastor who pushed to change us (we did lose a few of the older people, but it really was for a greater good).

    The older folks who remained have been encouraged to reach out, help with after school tutoring in a low-income apartment complex nearby (where we also have ESL classes one evening a week-my little project), help in a school Bible club, welcome new seniors who are not white, etc. The changes were never projected as “replacement” but rather as healthy change and growth. Another key piece is that the elder board reflects the change in the congregational population. That is key, I think, to helping new people feel comfortable.

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    Linn

    What a great testimony! It can still happen, but it has to be intentional. So glad your church has followed that course!

  3. pstrmike says:

    Good comments Duane. Perhaps your hindsight of your time pastoring a Calvary Chapel is influenced by your many years within Anglicanism, or they were markers that you were destined to move on from CC.

    I think our church is an outlier of your description of the present state of inclusive or exclusive thinking that I would agree, is pervasive within the church. Most in our church are very conservative, too far right IMO, and I am the moderate within the group. So far we have been able to stay a church community (with some exceptions, of course), but I find it hard to stay in the mix not only because of their politics, but my sense that my time is short with them. Where I am troubled is that there are few that I can actually have a good conversation with. Most who hold a more extreme view (not everyone in the church holds these views) are convinced—and they have their latest shock jock commentator to source as their authority for why they believe what would otherwise be considered ridiculous.

    We are in a bad way, and I wonder if there is any turning back, at least in the short term. I don’t think so. Perhaps the only way forward is to find kindred spirits and develop more of a contemporary form of monasticism, but that in itself can create its own problems. Just ask the critics of Rod Dreher. Apparently, the Benedict Option really wasn’t……….

  4. Linn says:

    pstr Mike,
    I don’t wish for any more upheaval in our society, but i think that may be what it takes to bring us back to our senses. I’ve always believed that responsible spirituality (example: loving my neighbor) will affect the way I vote or respond to news information, but I never, ever thought I would cite a news commentator/YouTube “influencer” chapter and verse. I come from the generation of the most esteemed Walter Cronkite, but I never remember anyone I knew who thought he was always right. Our idols have become our favorite newscasters, radio commentators, and politicians who think they “speak” for America.

  5. Duane Arnold says:

    pstrmike

    In 1978, I would be willing to bet that we were the only Calvary Chapel that made use of the Book of Common Prayer!

    What you described as taking place in your own church is, I believe, endemic. It is taking place not only on the right but on the left as well. For instance, I am pretty well convinced that if I presented myself for ordination within the Episcopal Church today, I would be rejected as a candidate. I’m not sure what the answer is apart from trying to push back against the tribalism that has developed. I have spent close to 50 years in this journey and it saddens me beyond words when I see what has taken place. We have imbibed so deeply of politics and culture that the cure may be beyond us at this point…

  6. Dread says:

    “Unfortunately, it appears as though many churches on the right and the left have made a choice to exchange community and true inclusivity for the bullying posture of tribalism (yes, there are bullies on the right and the left) which carries in itself its own seeds of destruction….”

    Nice

    Tribe Dread

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    Dread

    Many thanks…

  8. Muff Potter says:

    @ Dread
    Whatever happened to “Live and Let Live”?

  9. Shawn says:

    I have been listening to a podcast on Church History by Monsignor Michael Witt that I find thoroughly enjoyable. It was interesting as he set the cultural and political context around the fall of Jerusalem there seemed to be a great many parallels to our current divisions. Some of the accounts were horrific. While we are thankfully not there yet one can easily see how close we are.

    According to some accounts at the time Jerusalem was seiged they had enough grain to fight off starvation for years. Yet, the factions inside the walls of a dying nation were too busy fighting with each other and destroying each other’s food supplies. The sad part is it was often over petty political grievances.

    How foolish and short-sighted is the church to baptize itself in partisanship? The obvious answer is very. Do we really think the cycles of history will be any less cruel?

    Oh well. Good article. Sometimes I secretly wish for the more simple days of when I first came to faith but when I pull off the rose colored shades the hysterical eschatology that led to the Y2K foolishness set the stage, in part, for our current nonsense, in my not so humble opinion. Lol.

  10. Duane Arnold says:

    Shawn

    I cannot help but agree…

  11. Dread says:

    Muff Potter

    What are you talking about?

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