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?