Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Baptist battle royal

Every year or so we here a story about a fistfight in a church. I don’t cover them because they all seem so pedestrian. People fight all the time. Where is the conflict? I’ve been wrong though. Fistfights in church say a lot about the culture of Christians. I want to explore that in this post. In Fletcher, North Carolina, members of the Greater New Zion Baptist Church got into a fight at a church meeting where they were trying to determine if they should keep or fire their pastor.

Rice said that, because there was such a large crowd of people — about 75 — on the scene, the fact that as many as 30 officers responded was a “fairly appropriate response.”

“There were children there, and other parishioners,” Rice said, “so our primary concern was their safety and getting them away from the altercation.”

30 police officers were called to a Baptist church. Wow. Pastor LeVonia Ray is the cause of the fight. Some say he’s a womanizing lout, others say its all made up. the case is heading to court.

LeVonia Ray, 72, of Asheville, says he is still the senior pastor at Greater New Zion Baptist Church until the congregation decides otherwise. However, the church’s treasurer, Betty Garner, said in her Dec. 19 complaint that Ray entered the church without authorization.

Last Sunday at the church, a call for a vote over whether to keep Ray led to a brawl that was broken up by about 30 police officers. Ray did not attend the service, saying he didn’t want to cause friction.

My question is simple. Do they worship Christ or do they worship Ray? How is one man so important to your worship of Christ that you let him stand between you and the God you are supposed to be emulating (and worshiping)? How is this Christian? How is this in any way like what we expect a church full of Christians to act? It’s deplorable. It’s hypocrisy. But sadly, it’s conduct expected.

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