Wednesday, November 21, 2007

50 years of the Australian Unity Agreement (19)

Digression: The G13

In my last post I referred to a group of ecclesias calling themselves simply "a group of thirteen ecclesias", or G13 for short. In the spirit of clause 44 of the Ecclesial Guide I called for this group to be disbanded (clause 44 says that such groups "lay the foundation of a collective despotism which would interfere with the free growth and the true objects of ecclesial life").

I recently received a letter from a brother in Queensland claiming to write "on behalf of the combined arranging brethrens group in Brisbane representing 13 Ecclesias". There was no letterhead, the group was unnamed, he did not say which ecclesias made up the group of 13, what his position was within the group, or what the purpose or objectives of the group were. Although he asked me several questions about my membership of an ecclesia and my fellowship status, he gave me no indication as to why he was seeking this information, why it was important to them, or how it would be used. The letter came across to me as intimidating.

I understand that around the same time he also wrote to at least one ecclesia seeking information about me.

I won't be replying to the letter.

There are at least 3 reasons I won't be replying:
  1. To reply to this unnamed, unappointed, unaccountable "group" would be to give them legitimacy. In my opinion, self-appointed vigilante groups within the brotherhood are, in Robert Roberts words, a "collective despotism". To acknowledge them would be to condone the intolerable tyranny they are imposing on the brotherhood.

  2. Bullies need recognition, and the best way of dealing with bullies is to deny them the acceptance they crave.

  3. This G13 "group" has been stirring up trouble for at least two ecclesias in Queensland. If they think I will help them they must be mad.
Interestingly, an appeal was recently sent to Queensland ecclesias to help one of these G13 ecclesias. Apparently numbers are declining dramatically and the ecclesia is on the verge of dying (although some might argue that they are already spiritually dead). On the other hand, one of the ecclesias they are constantly criticising is growing steadily. In fact, just last Sunday I had the pleasure to visit this growing ecclesia. Visitors outnumbered members by 2 to 1! There was standing room only, and the meeting room was overflowing! It's ironic that an ecclesia which is dying and appealing for people to move into the area to prop them up should, at the same time, criticise an ecclesia which is growing, prospering and reaching out to people with the hope of the Gospel.

Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He said "let the dead bury their dead". In other words, ecclesias and people which are spiritually dying will spend more time burying those who are already spiritually dead than they will in learning from those who are alive and growing and could help them.

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