Right now I’m reading a book by Shelby Steele called “White Guilt.” The basic premise of the book is that ever since the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., whites have been driven in everything they do by guilt. You are racist until proven unracist by overtly showing that you are not racist by your words and actions.
We of the MO Synod are plagued by two kinds of similar guilt: Male Guilt and Missions Guilt. Male guilt goes like this: because women were so “oppressed” for many years by our “patriarchal” church body, now, out of male guilt, we have to go out of our way to show that we are pro-women. The same thing goes for missions. The moral high ground in our synod goes to those who are pro-missions. We have to qualify every statement that we make about missions by saying, “I’m not against increasing the number of members of the body of Christ, but…” This is what I call “missions guilt.” That is why anyone who wants to be reputable in the Church must pay lip service to things like “Ablaze” and “The Great Commission.” If you don’t, you will be perceived as being anti-missions, or, if you do not recognize the service of women or the value that they hold in the church, you are perceived as anti-female. Can we reverse this? Doubtfully. It’s just an example of the ecclesiastical culture in which we live.