Who Speaks for You?
Had a great conversation with Ann's cousin today about a variety of religious and political topics. One of the comments was (something like) "the Pope speaks for the Catholic Church". My thinking is that he speaks for the church's government but not the church. Got me thinking about a wonderful post by my blogger friend Andy, a United Methodist pastor in Springfield, Missouri, who recently wrote a blog post titled: Who Do I "Speak For"? Following are a few excerpts from Andy's post (read it in full here). I would love to hear what you think about the idea of someone speaking for you.
The city of Springfield is making a rather awkward attempt to engage the question of whether to add sexual orientation to the city’s anti-discrimination language. A part of their process was a survey sent via email to pastors all around town; there was a link in the email that took me to the online survey.
One of the questions on the survey asked if I as the pastor “speak for the congregation.” I thought this was a no brainer - “Of course not. The congregation I serve speaks for themselves.” But apparently out of the 56 churches surveyed, there were only two who answered this way.
Faith rarely deals in either/or. Followers of Jesus are a diverse group, to say the least. And so how could I possibly speak for my congregation when my congregation reflects such an array of opinions? Surely our society has matured beyond the glorification of homogeneity.
I hope you understand my reasoning behind answering the way I did on the survey. It’s not that I do not feel I am a “leader” for Campbell UMC; it’s that I would never dream of “speaking for” a group of people who are perfectly capable of speaking for themselves, and doing so with grace, respect, and love.