Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Eat humble pie

Interior Knox Church Dunedin Enclosed pulpit on the right.
On May 27th last year I wrote a post entitled "Religious Snobbery".  I stand by most of what I said then but I have learned a bit more since.  In the post I ranted about a presbyterian minister who insisted that I preach from the high up pulpit one evening when I was preacher at Knox Church in Dunedin. I would have preferred to have stood down the front and done my thing. It annoyed me! Well I learned something that may bring some insight into the situation.
We visited the Edinburgh Museum and learned about the reformation and early Church happenings in Edinburgh. Of course this was the beginnings of the Presbyterian Church, and the Presbyterian Church in Dunedin began from Presbyterians moving to New Zealand from Scotland. The ethos and emphases would have been passed down. In the museum there were at least two or three pulpits on display. There was an explanation that said that the Bible and the "preaching of the Word" were seen as important in the reformed Churches, so the pulpits became a central focus in Church architecture and worship. That is why they had ornate, big and high pulpits, it was an important theological change and statement. 
Now when I got directed in an important Dunedin Presbyterian Church to preach from the pulpit ("You will preach from the pulpit!") it may be that it was this theological position that led to this insistence? If it is, I still disagree, but I guess I understand why it seemed so important. It would be like him coming into a congregation of my denomination and saying, "We will not have communion this morning." (Churches of Christ have an important tradition of weekly communion.)
You live and learn. ... sorry for being so harsh.

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