Earlier today, I had half a mind to write more in response to the goings-on in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Governance was one of the things that most vexed me when last I was an active member in a Church of Christ. Knowing who had power in the church was simple; getting those persons to own the power they held was another thing altogether. They were skilled at giving lip service to democratic rule (which the church professed to) then hiding behind intransigence or finding ways to reopen old business by conveniently forgetting—or ignoring—the minutes from previous meetings. It was a system of governance that allowed small-c conservatives to seize their favorite bodies at rest and cinch them down even tighter against all winds, real or imagined.
The other half of my mind has since prevailed. If it was ever my place to speak to the Church of Christ about anything, it’s not my place to speak now—not directly. Anyway, what would I say? Run away from the douchebags out there? Okay, then do that, Churches of Christ, and everyone else, too. It’s good advice!1
1 So is this: (1) Abandon antintellectualism and the idealization of lay ministry; by the same token, value professionals. (2) Develop a formal, denomination-wide credentialing system that helps to screen out dangerous or unsavory characters from the ministry. (3) Hire ministers for how they demonstrate pastoral care, not for their salesmanship of themselves or of Jesus. I offer these suggestions without comment, but any one of them would help (not to say be 100% effective) to keep characters such as Drumheller out of the pulpit.