[via TommyMertonHead at the BHT]
“The church, in short, has a role to play only here and now; so if it wants a role model for its operations, it should imitate the kingdom’s present, nonjudgmental way of doing business, not its final one. It definitely should not attempt, in this world, to do the kind of sorting out that the kingdom so plainly refuses to do until the next. But alas, beginning right in apostolic time – indeed, beginning even in Scripture itself – excommunication has been one of the church’s favorite indoor sports. Second in popularity only to jumping to conclusions about who should be given the heave-ho first, the practice of tossing out rotten types while the net is still in the water has been almost everybody’s idea of a terrific way to further the kingdom. Everybody’s, that is, except Jesus’—the one who put the church in the business of being fishers of men to begin with. The net result, to use an apt phrase for such ineptness, has been an operation that looks as if it is being run more by his competitors than by his partners” (The Parables Book, 128).
Too good not to repeat it here.