Monday, January 14, 2008
I have been suffering with an annoying case of Writer’s Cramp. This is a prelude to the much more serious ailment of Writer’s Block. I have been trying to compose in my head rather than writing it down. I have tried letting the thinking aspect of writing go fallow for a few weeks thinking that perhaps something might relax and allow the Cramp to loosen. But now comes the time when I have to do the hard work of just banging out words, often a bloody task filled with bad spelling, ungrammatical green squiggles and tortured concepts until the blockage finally gets unclogged. This is hard and unrewarding work. And it is calls forth some tortured reading and critique too.
I have just joined a chat on Ecunet call Wither ELCA? It just started today and it sounds like many of the Episcopal Church (TEC) chats that I have been a part of over the past 7 years. There are those who are “against” everything that I have thought was Christian, there are those who are ready to uphold everything that I think is Christian and there are those who are ready to get up and leave and those who think that everyone who doesn’t think the way they do should leave. (Sigh!) “It sounds like déjà vu all over again!”
Part of me wants to say: “Damnit, look at what TEC has done and don’t do it that way.” Part of me wants to say, “Each denomination has to address what it is on its own.” And part of me wants to say, “Do I have to go through this AGAIN?”
Do we have to fight out the liberal/conservative ideology in the ELCA as we did in TEC? How long will it take before we self-destruct in ELCA as TEC has done it? TEC is much longer established than ELCA has been. Is there any way to address the issues without throwing the baby out with the bath water as TEC has done? I am not sure. But I do know that no matter what we do, Christ must be proclaimed and kept before the people of God in the parishes.
Does that mean that I ignore the war waging around me? Do I not take up for the LGBT community when derogatory remarks are made? No, but it does call me to demand from myself a kind of behavior that is hard to maintain—calm, centered on Christ and a refusal to respond to the anger and spite of those who would say that I am wrong, evil or perverted. This is what I learned from TEC—this is what I couldn’t do in TEC. I guess because it came from "family" in TEC that it had so much more power.
Will others learn from me? Perhaps some, but most will have to do their own experiential falling flat on their faces. I hope some will understand what they are doing is sinful, but I doubt that too. Will some go away mad? Yes, because they have put their faith in ideology rather than in Christ himself. Will the Church change? Yes, despite all the efforts to keep it from doing so and despite all the efforts to make it what it once wasn’t.
The Church will change no matter what we do. Just like we change no matter how much we would like to stay the same. We get old and crotchety, and vital mechanics in our bodies fail. So too, it is with the Church, and the new never feels the same. Deo Voluntatis!