Active and passive misrepresentation

There are quite a few things rattling around in my head about this whole changing the name of our church thing and I have stumbled on something that needs to get fleshed out some. I was thinking that we, as a church, could actively misrepresent ourselves to the community that we are a part of. For example, if we said that we were the North Lutheran Church and then started teaching the Baptist distinctives in our Exploring North class we can be rightly accused of actively misrepresenting our church. That's a no-brainer.

Then I got to thinking about it and it seems to me that there is another principle that is more subtle, but equally real: passive misrepresentation. In other words, if the words that we choose to describe ourselves evoke, whether rightly or wrongly, images of who we are that are not accurate, is that equally as bad? I wouldn't exactly say that it is equally bad for one is pre-meditated and the other is more incumbent upon the one that is doing the perceiving, but both are situations to be avoided.

Of course we can take this to a ridiculous extreme, but we are not looking at those extremes. I believe we are looking at this as soberly as we can. I know that I may be making too much of this, but it seems to me that if we continue down a path that leads people somewhere undesirable and do not look for ways to reverse the situation then we are going to be held accountable for that. Active misrepresentation, on a scale from 1 to 10 (where 10 is "way bad") may be a "10" where passive misrepresentation may be more of a "2" or "3"...but it is still on the scale.

As far as it depends on us, I think it is time to get off the scale.


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