Tuesday, October 31, 2006

How Do You Be A Neighbor?

Again, the Wall Street Journal comes through with a fascinating article. On today's (10/31/06) front page, the Halloween-themed feature is about Rev. Phil Wyman, a minister in Salem, Mass -- yes, of witch fame. Salem, of course is a large wiccan-New Age hotspot, and Wyman set out to engage in "friendship evangelism" with this community, who seemed to respect and appreciate his approach, which included a confession of the church's past sins and a tongue-in-cheek "Psalm Reading" booth at a local Halloween gathering.

The response from the community was positive, including on e wiccan who is quoted as saying, "Sure, he wants to convert you. But he does it in a way that respects you." That seems a powerful testimony to me.

Unfortunately, his denomination did not see things that way. One is quoted as saying that Wyman was "too familiar, too cozy, too amicable with that community." He was brought up on charges on being "abberant," and was removed from his pastorate.

We need to engage culture, and not in a "we versus them" mentality. There are probably details I don't know, but the handling of this case disappoints me.


Cami said...

What you shared in the first two paragraphs, I got goosebumps reading about Wyman's ministry. The "Psalm reading" booth is just too cute! And in the third paragraph, regarding the criticizm of his denomination, I saw the Pharisees criticizing Jesus. We lived on the east coast for a short time, a bit more south, but we witnessed this tragic legalism. Some dear Christian friends that had lived and ministered there for years are being persecuted by the spirit of it now--incidentally God has moved them to the west coast to heal and restore them.

I.I. said...

so sad -- there is cetainly a need for church authority, but why it is so often (at least it seems that way) used in crazy ways like this?

Cami said...

"and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ." Eph. 5:21

Christ is the head of the church; the church is responsible to answer to Him. If they can't recognize Him, the workings of His Spirit, they have no authority. It doesn't matter what name they hoist over themselves or what position they claim to fill.

Francine said...

I wonder if that same church body that removed Wyman would also look at those Jesus fraternized with and remove Him from His ministry. I kind of think they would.

While it is sad to be persecuted by those who claim to believe, persecution for the Savior is worth it.

Great post.