“We let a wolf in”
Today I sent Neely Tucker a note congratulating him for this story about the fallout from an attempted coup d’etat at the Harrisonburg Church of Christ in Harrisonburg, Virginia. There is a lot to write in response to it, both about Church of Christ governance and hiring practices (see JTB on Tucker’s story, and me in 2007 on a relevant subject), but my note to Tucker was about his efforts to portray his subjects with some context, depth, and compassion. Here is what I said in my note:
Church stories are often paradoxical: the drama is often higher than one would at first imagine given the low (or impossibly high) stakes. And Church of Christ governance stories are deceptive—these tiny congregations, with long histories and unwritten rules, that simultaneously want autocracy-by-eldership and democracy! I spent a significant part of my 20s negotiating similar powers and politics in a small Church of Christ in Iowa. I think it would take me far more words to do my time there justice than it took you tell all the goings on in Harrrisonburg. That’s fine reporting and writing. Thank you for it.