Thursday, June 22, 2006

God's heart was the first to break

By the time I left for work this morning, most of the comments about the turn of events at the end of the General Convention had been "head" comments rather than "heart" comments. This morning I saw a comment in response to last night's post (at another blog) and it conveyed mixed feelings, but had a "maybe this is for the best" approach. Throughout the day today, I noticed that there was a fair amount of argument at Father Jake Stops the World and An Inch at a Time about whether or not the resolution calling upon...

Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.

...was a good thing or a bad thing, and if it was reason to feel demoralized.

Okay, that pushes one of my major buttons. Of course there can be rational, logical arguments made both in favor of and against the resolution. But it raises my hackles when anyone tries to tell anyone else how they "should" feel about something. 'Cause I've had people do that to me, and a really don't like it.

And I know it can be done with the best of intentions. A person might be distressed by seeing another person in pain, and hope to alleviate that by offering another way to look at the situation (It's a blessing in disguise!) or by engaging in some problem solving. I understand that. But sometimes I just need to be able to speak my pain, or my frustration, and have it acknowledged. Words of commisseration/support can be nice too, but I understand how hard it can be to think of something to say. I've been struggling with that since I heard the news about the resolution.

This is the excerpt I read in the Dispatch, to which I referred in my post last night.

For Mike Wernick, president of the Episcopal gay advocacy group Integrity-Central Ohio, yesterday’s developments offer hope.

"And not just for gays or lesbians," he said. "It’s anyone who’s marginalized.

"In my opinion, when Jesus came, Jesus came to expand God’s circle. He came to make it so that there would be no one left on the outside."
That article, if you recall, was entitled Limits on gay bishops rejected.

Imagine having those feelings of hope, and then having them crushed again so quickly. I know Mike. He goes to my church. He and his partner have been members of the church longer than I have, and they are certainly more active members than I am. In their relationship with the church, I think it's safe to say that they both "give" more than they "take". So, in the face of that, to have your church pass a resolution that seems to treat you as something less than a fully included member of the Body of Christ, well--ouch! You know?

And again, I really don't want to get into the "rightness" or "wrongness" of the resolution, or what kind of sense it made strategically, or the importance of maintaining ties with the Anglican Communion. The truth is that real people have been hurt by the decision. I believe that they must be permitted to speak their pain, and we need to hear them.

To my gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered brothers and sisters in Christ, I *still* don't know what to say, except to tell you that I am grieving with you.

And even though there was no physical death, this is still a time of mourning for many people. So I am moved to post this link to the sermon William Sloane Coffin preached after his son died in a car accident. In it, he noted that the one thing *not* to say to a person who is grieving is, "It was God's will."

My own consolation lies in knowing that it was not the will of God that Alex die; that when the waves closed over the sinking car, God's heart was the first of all our hearts to break.

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Nick said...

great article!

Roy Niedfeldt said...

How dare you compromise the church of Jesus Christ and treat his words with contempt in the effort of making people feel loved and accepted. You make God out to be a liar. He clearly wants whats best for people How dare you hurt Him and accuse Him of being wrong while supposing that you are loving His creation more then Him. I love homosexuals but there lifestyle is a sin and is hurtful to their lives and keeps them from Gods plan. Please never ever claim to be a Christ follower inventing a new Christ and a new Bible at least say you are making a new religion and bible. My heart breaks over this.