Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How shall any of us respond?

So, how shall I respond to the challenges presented by the unmirthful--no, deadly advances of fundamentalism in the church? What to do in a Diocese that is focusing millions of dollars to protect property, but has had no word of grace for its faithful GLBT members, did not speak up in support of their civil rights, will not recognize their relationships?

How shall I respond? I have discovered, as I am a wild-west transplant from the left coast (California) to the right coast (Virginia), that southern manners require that I not speak loudly or at length about uncomfortable situations such as the one in which the church now finds herself; but I am also aware that I now live among once-upon-a-time rebels that twice dared to lift sword and pistol against government (1776and 1860), and the streak of self-determination is a swift and powerful current under the surface of politeness. This makes my formulation of a faithful response a giddy one at best. And so much is at stake.

I have been saying for a couple of years now that we are in another reformation. At first folks laughed or rolled their eyes. Not so much any more. And this reformation has to do with authority, again. Authority of bishops, Holy Scripture, institutions, clergy, individuals....and the relationships cultivated amongst these. But I am not a sage, nor in the position to effect nor affect the conversations and determinations which might be made. I am a priest and rector in a little urban church (390 souls) full of just-folks seeking to love and be loved. How shall I respond to them and on their behalf in our present circumstances?

And I don't believe for a minute that this whole situation out of GAFCon/FOCA will just disappear. I don't believe it will peeter out. This is a swell that has been gaining momentum for decades.

Part of me wants to go wild--go activist, as I was well taught so to do in my home-town of Berkeley California. I mean, I was weaned in a protest walk with Ceasar Chavez, my parents walking for farm-workers rights. And, of course, as in one of my favorite image of Jesus--cleansing the Temple. And perhaps part of me shall do so. Given the right circumstances.

And there is another part of me listening to the mystics; another part of me in the garden of betrayal, weeping, and knowing to let go and trust, just as my Lord did. Just let it go. Trust God.

What are the gifts we should share in the face of this fundamentalism in our own house?

How shall any of us respond?

6 comments:

FranIAm said...

Something is being born. And while I have not had any kids of my own, I am reasonably certain that it is a long and arduous process.

Now easy for my RC self to stop by and sound trite, right?

I keep saying this all over, because what is happening is going to be big for all of us. You are so right about another reformation, IMO anyway.

What comes out the other end won't bear much resemblance to the wants and needs of Rowan, Akinola, Jensen, the VA diocese, B16 or other related RC asshatttery (can i say that here? sorry)...

It will be a whole new thing.

Praise God.

it's margaret said...

I am hopeful that it will be a whole new thing too franiam.

As to asshattery --yes, and every other word in the dictionary and beyond.... all types of words are welcome here!!!!

Yes, a whole new thing. Hold that thought! And then, how do we get there?

FranIAm said...

I do not know sister girl, but I am writing about this and will post soon and link to here.

How did we live in blogworld without you?

Sheesh. It matters not, you are here.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Margaret, I, too, believe that the Holy Spirit is doing a new thing. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that's hubris, but I see the Episcopal Church at the forefront of a march toward a more just church within the family of the Anglican Communion. Anglicans from around the world are watching.

Having said that, I have no words of wisdom to offer you in your particular situation, except trust the Spirit, which you have already discovered for yourself. Trust that if you stray off the path a little that the Spirit will gently (or perhaps not so gently) lead you back.

May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

FranIAm said...

I am not trolling for comments, but I did just link to this post Margaret.

Something IS being born.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

My rector says the same thing, about a new reformation. I'm not sure what I think except that I have no desire for fundamentalism. I was wounded enough by it in the past.

As for your situation, well, I wouldn't counsel silence--but I don't think argument changes many minds or hearts. Somehow, I think we have to love people into changing, but I don't have any idea what that looks like.

Sorry this doesn't contain much clarity.