The great thing about blogging is the freedom one has to express thoughts and feelings about a subject and the free exchange of ideas with those who join in the conversation. At some stage for me, as a minister responsible for leading a similar conversation in my church and helping us all to discern where God's leading us as a particular community at a particular moment, the ideas generated in the freedom of blogging have to be earthed in actual church practice.
I've been pondering how this might happen in the light of the stimulating exchange that happened on this site in the past few days (thanks to all who've visited and posted both here and elsewhere. Those wanting to check out Andy's thoughts should go to http://andygoodliff.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/06/plumbing_the_de.html )
The thing about bloggers is that we are keen to exchange ideas, explore theology and can be somewhat detached in our conversation. In churches these issues come with all kinds of baggage attached.
Some people feel that having the conversation at all is an assault on their deeply cherished and long-held feelings about church life. Others want a debate providing nothing substantial changes and still others are convinced that only the leadership want change for reasons best known to themselves.
Others, of course - perhaps a majority - just want to ensure that the way we do things according to our rules reflects the way things are in the world we actually live in. In the best possible sense, they don't really care what system we propose for membership and baptism providing it helps us be the community they think we need to be in order to be effective in mission and pastoral care.
So over the next few days my team and I will be drawing up a proposal for a way forward to share with the leadership and church next month with a view to easing change in our way of doing things that everyone will be able to live with.
I'll post the broad outline as I'd be interested in your views. After all, as a good baptist, I don't believe we have a monopoly of wisdom in our fellowship; the Lord can bring more light and truth to us out of the blogosphere. So, stick around...