Friday, December 07, 2007

Praying for the Diocese of San Joaquin

My best friend (alias Apostle in Exile) is a delegate to the San Joaquin convention, meeting today and tomorrow in Fresno. We’d planned for me to go with her, but she has more confidential meetings than she thought, and I have one more week of the semester. I’m also preaching Sunday; it just was too much. (Just as well, really; I’ve been feeling queasy and nauseous since I woke up.)

She knows I and other friends support her; Remain Episcopal knows they have support from outside. We know how the vote’s going to go; the overwhelming majority is expected to finalize the decision made last year, to split from the national church (and to likely align with the Southern Cone). We don’t know how that will play out.

We’re talking about people’s faith, and what they’re taught about the God they seek and love. We’re talking about communities, webs of long-standing relationships of support and journeying together, being divided because some leaders can’t stomach the idea of receiving Communion at the same table with those with whom they disagree. We’re talking about homophobia and sexism, and what it means to let narrowness and prejudice define for you, who’s in and who’s out of the Realm of God. We’re talking about fear of the other, the unknown and misunderstood, disguised as love for what’s held up as righteous.

It’s clear which side I’m on. And while I know, like I know the sun is shining, that God loves all of us more than we can imagine, that God raises up whom God will, for leadership, and for that matter, that sexuality, expressed in a loving, consensual, committed adult relationship is holy—I also know that my anger, irritation, impatience, and possibly arrogance around this issue are not helping.

I’m well past praying for unity. The best I can pray for is a compassionate divorce. And I pray that everyone directly involved, and all of us on the outside watching, will listen, deeply, and can discern the true will of God. The vote is almost a given. The steps that people take afterward will make all the difference. I pray for openness, honesty, generosity, and love on all sides, even as we take leave of one another.

We are all, right now, every one of us, caught up in the forgiving, merciful, empowering, liberating, life-giving love of God. We all—John-David, you, and I—will be redeemed. We all will stumble into grace. Let us remember the One at the heart of our faith, who said, “Let anyone among you who is without sin, cast the first stone.”


Grandmère Mimi said...

Amen, Kirstin. I'm joining you in prayer. In the end, God will have his way with his church - in the end.

Kirstin said...

Thank you, Grandmere. They need it.

Aghaveagh said...

Thank you for your post and for your prayers.

Many godly people will vote to leave; many godly people will vote to stay. There will be no "winners"--"Europe will be the less"

"sexuality, expressed in a loving, consensual, committed adult relationship is holy"

well said. Amen.

Kirstin said...

God bless you, aghaveagh, and give you strength, wisdom, courage, clarity, and peace.

(((people of San Joaquin)))

Sarah said...

"What it means to let narrowness and prejudice define for you..."

I don't often comment on the blogs I read, although between my Dad's and Mad Priest's, I certainly follow enough links... This post struck me as unique, in particular because in one sentence you have managed to sum up exactly my impression of what is happening to the "church" today, if "church" (read, "community") is still a word that can be used to describe a body of people who so divisively reject God's most basic principle - "love one-another, as I have loved you".

"Discern the true will of God"...

Well, speaking from personal experience, falling on ones knees before God with arms upraised, speaking only the words "Thy will be done", as simple as it may seem, can feel like the hardest thing in the world, because the question is always, what if God doesn't want the same things for me as I do? Or for the church, as tattered and bruised as it is...

Thank you, nonetheless.