Many years ago I submitted a redraft of the Articles of Faith, in an attempt to take a light hearted look at theological drift. Theological Digest was kind enough to publish it. I just came across a “new Item” I created four years ago, when I heard that the CAW was trying to organize clergy. I thought you might like the opportunity to reject it:
I just received another appeal from the CAW (Canadian Auto Workers Union) to join the union drive among the United Church of Canada Clergy. Seriously. And I ran across this bit that I wrote when I first heard about it in 2005. Today I can only add that if the CAW does for the United Church of Canada what it has done for the Auto Industry, would God be pleased or displeased?
Ottawa, Canada - Preachers, Pastors and Apostles United Local 0904 is considering expanding its current job action to secure its first contract. “Our work-to-rule campaign is having a huge effect,” insists Rev. Buster Hardcore. “We believe all our demands will be met once the full impact hits our communities.”
Work-to-rule means that ministry personnel will only do what is absolutely required by the terms of their call, as strictly defined by two clauses. Hardcore explains, “For the past two months our members have done nothing but love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength, and loved our neighbours as ourselves.” An anonymous congregational source admitted, “We’ve never had to deal with this before. It has made us rethink everything.”
This first contract may set the standard for other unionization efforts in the future says Rev. Hardcore, chief negotiator for PPAUL0904, “That’s why we want to get this one right.” He insists that the money is not the primary issue but it is important. “Management keeps repeating, ‘Don’t muzzle the ox while it treads the grain,’ but our members will not budge from 1 Cor 9:18. Our union’s namesake offered the gospel for free, how could we settle for more?”
Still to be settled is the contentious issue of funerals. Even though weddings and funerals can be a significant source of extra income, some PPAUL members are ready to insist on ‘the Jesus clause’ as they like to call it. “We'd ‘Let the dead bury their own dead,’ and reduce our role in weddings to catering,” says one pastor, “I’ll make the wine.” But this position is viewed as extreme, even within the ranks of the Local. “I think that ending extra billing for these worship services will satisfy most of our members. We do want to comfort those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. We just don’t want to be mercenary about it.” concedes Hardcore.
In the meantime, the union is seeking to expand its membership base. The recent addition of teachers and evangelists to the Local has nearly doubled the numbers, but that’s not all. Seminary professor, Dr. Luke Logos explains, “From the great commission, through Corinthian and Ephesian gift passages, right down to Peter’s priestly nation clause, we have a case for enlisting and equipping every believer for our job action.” An unnamed evangelist exults, “if we can pull it off, we’ll bring the church to its knees with this one!”
Afterword: I never did get a rejection from Theological Digest. Ah well, life's little disappointments.