Friday, November 21, 2008

"As for me and my house..."

"I am pleased you acknowledge that the debates with which we are engaged may be part of a valid development in Christian doctrine. I believe it to be so, based on principles of moral and dogmatic theology, one of which, at least, challenges the orthodoxy of the whole novel "complementarity" argument advanced against same-sex relationships in recent days. (Even Pope Benedict has noted the novelty of John Paul II's teaching on this subject.)

As to why now, or why us; we cannot fight the movement of culture, time and place -- we ignore these things to our peril. Occasionally the culture is actually ahead of the church, as in the case of slavery, which was ardently defended in the "orthodox" church while nonconformists were busy fighting it. So the time is now. And this appears to be the place." Tobias Haller, BSG

I was taken by Father Tobias’ reply to comments on this blog. While I have often asked God “Why me?” or “Why now”? this is perhaps the kindest answer to this question in the history of the Church or for that matter, me personally.

Over the past 10 years I have been listening and observing the change of the Church like I have never known. In the discussions at a workshop by Diana Butler Bass I found that we are part of a sea change of culture that has not been seen since the Reformation. I am not sure what this is going to mean for the future. What the Church will look like in 50 years is not going to be my privilege to see. The only thing that I can do is to remain faithful to the core sayings of Jesus to love others as I am loved.

History doesn’t really slowly evolve. Sometimes, there is momentous change in the twinkling of an eye. I would suggest that the bombing of Hiroshima was one such twinkling of an eye. We learned in that moment that we humans had the capability and the will to exact an awful vengeance--a vengence upon the whole of creation. Perhaps it was that act that precipitated the current crisis in the Church. It is a stretch, but in the 63 years since that event, life has become both more precious and more throw-away. It is these polls that disturb me.

“As for me and my house” I choose life—a life that is lived within the embrace of a God who values goodness, wholeness, truth, and peace. I have found that I do not live well polarized. I cannot sustain a sense of God’s love when constantly forced for reasons beyond my control to have to fight to be who I am because there are those who cannot open their lives to the goodness that God gives.

Yes, I am trying to change the understanding of Scripture. I am trying to allow the life of Jesus to have some bearing on these polarizations in life. The Chinese curse of “May you live in interesting time” has fallen upon us all in the Church. I know that my job is to try to keep before myself and those I serve, a vision of Christ that is welcoming and hospitable.

I have not always be able to do that. It is difficult when there are those who denigrate and exclude in the name of the One who loves me so much. The important thing about this blog is that it be a place where comments can be left and discussions nourished. Critique is allowed but only if it is respectful.

We are all experiencing this change in the Church. Some welcome it and some do not. Not all of the change do I welcome. I don’t find some of the new forms of worship that worshipful. The sound bite attention spans of many of the younger clerics worries me, but as for us being certain that we are going to set the curve on being welcoming and hospitable, I am proud of my Church.