Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is God laughing at me? 'Cause I know she has a sense of humor ... but this is has got me perplexed

In the past few weeks, I have found a wonderful church where I feel welcome, only to find out that the Reverend is leaving at the end of this month. I'll continue to attend this church as it transitions, but I must tell you that a major reason for attending was this wonderful Rector. Case in point was today.

In this, her next to last (fancier people would say "penultimate") sermon, she spoke of reconciliation. Because you see, the senior Anglicans from around the world are meeting right now in England, but a number of them are in a tizzy because in 2003 the Episcopal church got all crazy and ordained an openly gay bishop. And the world ended. And they're upset. In fact, many senior Anglicans are boycotting the meeting. Some even want to split off from the church.

And in 2003, which was before I started attending this church, my Rector stood before her congregation and said "The Episcopal Church did the right thing." And a third of the congregation left for good. She's been slowly rebuilding the congregation ever since, and I guess it's often been a struggle. But as she's moving on, she left us this morning with this parable:
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while he slept, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. When the weeds appeared, the laborers asked the farmer "Do you want us to go and gather the weeds?" but the farmer says no, for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let them both grow together until the harvest."
Okay, so what you say. Unless that is, you happened to read the post on Friday over at FranIAm's place, which included this paragraph:
But the scripture is there and won't go away. In the face of all that, Jesus tells us a parable: "Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?" the laborers in the story ask the farmer about the bad seed "an enemy had sown." The answer, at a time of great change and deep reflection, ought perhaps to give us great pause: "No," the scripture answers, "because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of the wheat along with them." We pulled up a lot of wheat with the excommunication of Martin Luther and the reformers, for instance, and have been trying to repair those exclusions ever since. Surely this is no time to start doing the same kind of thing again. Surely we have learned better by this time. Surely we don't want to do it to one nun whose only crime is a question and in whom the people see a minister of uncommon quality. Maybe we ought to "leave some chaff and grain to grow up together" for a while longer until we can see clearly which is which.
I often read Fran's blog, though I rarely comment. It's the kind of blog that makes me want to go think about what I want to say, and by that time, I've gotten distracted by something else. But the point is, she's made me think long and hard about issues of spirituality.

Yeah, she's good.

So anyway, I'm trying to let go of one of the few "truly" Christian people I've met in an awfully long time, and I'm trying to understand why other "Christians" feel threatened by a gay bishop in their church.

I'm trying to understand the parable of the weeds and the wheat in my life. So there's some food for thought on a Sunday night!


FranIAm said...

Oh Sue! What a post this is. I can appreciate your search and your feelings about the Rector.

The words from my blog are from that great source of wisdom, Sister Joan Chittister. She should probably be Pope!

As for me getting you to think, I take no such credit. I am but a wandering weed. Or maybe some wheat? Who is to know?

At a time like this I am reminded of how the roots of certain trees - or maybe weeds or wheat, grow towards each other. It build systems under the surface that support one another.

Peace to you my friend.

And please, may we all direct our good thoughts, prayers and wishes for the Anglican Communion and for Bishop Gene.

Sue J said...

And please, may we all direct our good thoughts, prayers and wishes for the Anglican Communion and for Bishop Gene.

Absolutely. I am so glad that his post last night sounds more hopeful.

And if anyone hasn't yet seen the extraordinary documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So," do so immediately and you'll understand how ridiculous it is in this day and age to ostracize anyone for their sexual orientation.

Cootamundra W said...

May you walk in the Light. May understanding and justice go with you.
I truly hope that the Episcopalians and Anglicans take to heart the teachings that "we are all one", and that ostracizing/discriminating against groups is not a "Christian" practice.
And, Sue J, I understand.... (and hope you understand this feeble attempt at encouragement).

Sue J said...

Cootamundra, thank you.

As you know, my personal history with organized religion is, well, eclectic, to say the least. My grandparents were Baptist missionaries in China, I attended Quaker high school and college, and have attended Unitarian services most often in recent years. I have no longstanding association with the Episcopal Church. So in a way I watch without emotional investment -- except that I respect and care deeply for this Rector who has clearly been worn out by a battle that should not be fought in any true "Christian" church.

donald said...

so many christians want to try and deny us access to religion, as if they are the keepers of all truth. well, they are not the keepers. and luckily many of us will not be denied! my spirituality does not come from, or with the approval of, other people, but comes from a higher power!

remember, there is beauty in the wild flower that grows among the waves of grain!

Sue J said...

remember, there is beauty in the wild flower that grows among the waves of grain!

Thank you for that, Donald! That made me smile!

FranIAm said...

We must go where we are fed. Organized religion is such a potential cluster screw(trying to be clean!) so very often.

Yet I am convinced it is only through some kind of community that we can be transformed.

You will know what to do and where to go, if anywhere if you listen to your heart.

Allie said...

Try as I may I cannot stop drawing parallels of the current struggle with the past struggle of integration. They simply have too much in common.

Sooner than later (I hope) people will realize their folly and stop being allowed to talk crap about homosexuality and legally be prejudice bigoted a-holes. We just have to wait for common sense and the Constitution to trump the Bible... which could take awhile. Seems like people are more interested in transforming the Constitution into another Biblical chapter.

I wish it was fixed already because it is RIDICULOUS how much the government controls the will of homosexuals. Seriously... having kids with someone of the same gender and trying to leave the kids with your SO if death should occur... not gonna happen. No matter how much time and effort you put into it, they will SMASH you down. It's appalling. Your SO gets NOTHING, nothing but a huge battle and a lot of grief to add onto the already ginormic steaming pile of grief over the death of a loved-one. OMG I am so angry now just thinking about it... sigh.

I think that in my lifetime, with the help of my children that this prejudice will cease. I always wondered what side I would have taken during the time of desegregation and I think I can say I would have been on the good side :)

Lordy this got long really fast. Sorry! May many more pastors grow bigger "balls" and accept people for who they are. As for the weeds, may they lose their battle and be overgrown with a gorgeous crop of wheat. Amen hahaha :D