Archive for July 13th, 2009


something for everyone

Today I was going to write about how all three of our kitties went scurrying into hiding places (which of course we think is adorable of them), the minute they saw the landscape crew in the back yard.  After checking email, I’ve decided to write another reflective piece about us—we imperfect human beings—imperfect compared to animals which were made perfect and remain so (except where humans have meddled).

My subject is the “acceptance of same-gender-covenanted-couples-into-membership” issue has been kicking around in my denomination for about 30 years. In our local church we had inadvertently become poster children for it this  past year—the first half privately and the second half publicly. One day, amid the confusion of bells, whistles, hoots and hollers, the roof fell in disastrously on everyone, leaving a wake of division and pain. We  were down to our last nerve and had to leave. It had been our year of living dangerously. Now truths,  half-truths and quarter truths abound, but mostly there is grief,  anguish, division and a bit of scapegoating.

If you’ve ever seen one of those old movies where a person boards the train and looks back from the window as the train leaves the station, while the beloved other person runs after it just trying to hang on a moment or two longer…that’s how some of us feel (at least that’s how I feel). The person in the movie running to keep the other in sight knows full well that he/she may never (or will never) be reunited again, and yet for those few running steps, there is hope. “I believe; help my unbelief!. (Mk 9:24)

We walked in hope with the leadership through many months of dark rain clouds before the congregation entered in. When it did, the clouds increased and the weather turned stormy. Fear and uncertainty made itself at home. Eventually the sky turned a deep, dark, gray and the rain came down in buckets. We were drenched with rain. There was no shelter. The joy we’d come aboard with had turned to deep sorrow and that is how we left the congregation I had come to love—in anguish.

Several people left as well, or are on hiatus. It’s difficult to know the difference. The church lumbers on in an effort to heal itself, but the fatal flaw is still front and center. This congregation does not seem to want to see it. Our denomination believes in the priesthood of all believers, but one very important prerequisite for this is found in Matt 18. It is chock full of good advice for priestly believers, especially verses 15 to 17. Without the humility to give and receive counsel, we are locked in to our own views accompanied by the fear that keeps us from walking in another’s shoes. If we cannot do this, we remain separated while appearing to be united in love as the Body of Christ. Because fear cannot exist alongside love, we cannot agree to disagree except in love (I John 4:18). This is a conundrum…people clinging to their own views and beliefs…not accepting our account of the past year as our truth…not walking in our shoes or those of their neighbor.

So, when good folks go scurrying about in fear and denial, beliefs stack up like firewood, while those who were first encounterers go unheard…unbelieved. Careful! Don’t anyone drop a match nearby.

Oh, and did I mention hate mail? Yes, during that last, fateful, stormy month we received an unsigned letter telling us that there was no place for us in the Kingdom of God at all. The next Sunday, this was gently referred to as a letter of condemnation. Needless to say, the priestly congregation didn’t understand what such a letter could mean as it was so graciously understated. There is so much already being swept under the rug…something for everyone.

We grieve. The friends we leave behind grieve. And for what? So that everyone could have something…a sacred cow perhaps??


BTW, Cats are okay now. the patio is taking shape and the sun is shining without fear.

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July 2009

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