Monday, August 26, 2013

What is a church anyway?

Linda Cooper found out about her church recently. She was kicked out after six decades of membership for failing to publicly denounce her daughter's lifestyle. Linda's daughter is lesbian.

“My mother was up here and she sat beside me. That's it,” Kat Cooper said, acccording to The Daily Mail. “Literally, they're exiling members for unconditionally loving their children - and even extended family members.”

The Coopers have attended the church for decades, reports the New York Daily News. Linda Cooper was raised in the church, and her father’s plaque hangs on the walls of the church.

“This is not just some casual church they dropped in on," said Hunt Cooper, the father of Kat and husband of Linda.

Source: Ridgedale Church Of Christ Exiles Member Linda Cooper For Supporting Lesbian Daughter

The hate in this story is self evident. I do not need to explore the obvious. Instead, I want to comment on what a I think a church really is.  I've been thinking about this for a long time. A church is social construct whose primary focus is on establishing a moral norm and then enforcing compliant behavior on its members through a variety of techniques; including the heavy-handed method used in this story. Further, since each independent church has its own leader, morality is defined within the pastor social and political mindset. There is a vast difference between a liberal and conservative. What most of these conservative churches have in common is a break away from the word of Jesus toward the rules and laws of the Old Testament, which gives structure as apposed to the Golden Rule, which gives direction. If one interprets that actions of Linda and Kat Cooper through the words of Jesus, does one really kick an old lady to the curb? I don't think so, but then again, I am an atheist and my expectations are not skewed by a pastor with a political agenda. 

I am most disappointed with the other members of Linda Cooper's former church. Members of the Ridgedale Church of Christ should support Linda Cooper. They should walk out of the church along side their longtime friend instead of pointing the finger of shame at her. They do not know what it means to be a friend. They do not understand that the bonds we share with people are more important than the political rantings of a pastor focused on enforcing moral purity. Pastor Ken Willis is a putz. His congregation should abandon him.