A Year of Morning Thanks
Comeuppance, after a sort
Basically, two groups led the Dutch Resistance movement during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II--the Marxists and those the Dutch call "orthodox Protestant." I am of "orthodox Protestant" stock. My people--even though my own family was American, not Dutch long before May, 1940--were deeply involved in the Resistance.
Why? Researchers suggest the many Dutch Christian brotherhoods, the Gereformeerde (closest relative, the Christian Reformed Church in North America) took the Old Testament seriously. I don't doubt that assertion at all.
But then my own people have this cantankerous streak in their personality. They love to disagree, to argue, and to go their own way. We have a long history of breaking away, and if there's one thing we can't stand, it's authority that's too pushy. It makes sense that my people would take on Hitler--both on principle and personality.
In war, that I-will-not-be-bullied streak can be marvelously heroic. That my people were among the most active in the Dutch Resistance makes them most saintly.
In peace, however, those same character traits can make them impossible to live with. My people have suffered more bloody noses than a rugby team.
Last night I was told that a recent breakaway fellowship not all that far from here is suffering real problems. People are leaving that church, just as, not long ago, they up and left the CRC.
It's not at all sweet of me to chuckle, but I think God will spot me a smile or two. When folks make enemies of their brothers, once the brothers have disappeared, they're likely going to need new ones--enemies, that is. When the villains are gone, no one buries the rifles; they simply turn those rifles on themselves.
Church fights are a potent mix of personality and principle. Which of the two predominates is a question answered differently by the combatants, I'm sure.
Nonetheless, when a fellowship is accused of heresy by the truly righteous, it's nice to know such the accusers weren't as upright as they touted themselves, to know that personality likely played as significant role in the war as principle.
I'm not thankful for the problems in that new church--not really. But this morning, I am thankful to be reminded once again to be wary of those who are blessed sure they've got it all right.
None of us do (he said, smiling just a bit).