Monday, November 23, 2009
An embarrassed silence in heaven?
Good morning God,
Did heaven keep silence for the recent talks between the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury? I ask because it has been reported that they talked for about half an hour. Half an hour to discuss what is (sadly) for some a crucial life-defining, if not eternity deciding, issue.
Is the Church to be enriched by its differences, or destroyed by its diversity?
But this is not about the future of the Anglican communion or the success of the Catholic Church is it God? What is really at stake here is the ability of the whole Church to hold on to and honour the gifts of grace you have given it over the last two centuries and refuse to crawl back into the dark ages from which you dragged it to reform it, re-educate and reshape it.
I acknowledge my bias God, but I really cannot believe that it is your will for the Church to still promote what amounts to a medieval ordering of society as the best way for the gospel to flourish. The Gospel is GOOD NEWS for all or it is nothing, Once - for all - my saviour died.
But how is it good news for women to be told that they lack something so fundamental that you would never consider calling them to serve you in some forms of public ministry? Likewise how is it good news for people's humanity to be defined by their sexuality, and for their worth before you to be determined by those who are so afraid of their own sexuality that they willing choose to suppress it and pretend to a 'virtue' of celibacy?
The bitter gall of these conversations is that they once again appear to present the whole Church to the world as being concerned about nothing more than sex and bigotry. The embarrassment of these two supposed great world religious leaders meeting to compare sticks is surely enough to silence heaven - isn't it God?
Why couldn't they have met to talk about freeing up and using their Church's combined wealth to offer a Christmas gift of AIDs drugs or Tetanus Vaccines for Africa? Or better yet, to issue a public apology to all women whose lives have been ruined as a result of the Church's teaching on the rights of man?
God, forgive me, but it's hard to be associated with this broken, disabled body of Christ sometimes.
When I talk to young people about your love, about your desire for them to grow and flourish, to become all that they can be in your eyes - I believe that you mean for them to exceed the expectations of the world, regardless of their gender or sexuality. I believe that in every generation you raise up women and men to proclaim the good news and celebrate the mystery of faith, not as a means of wielding power, but as a means of setting all free.
The discussions that have just been held are perhaps a sign that religion as a force for the advancement of humanity is all but spent. The so-called 'traditional' established and historical Churches seem stuck on pack leadership, Alpha males and the size of the harem.
It's time for the reformed traditions to end their silence and publicly name and shame this behavior as un-worthy, un-Christian and sinful.
So, please, will you help us God?
Before the body of Christ becomes even more broken and crippled, will you grant us sufficient grace to work for its healing? Will you raise up voices, who are more interested in you and your grace than in power games and politics - and grant our Churches wisdom and courage enough to let them speak? Will you instill in us a longing to proclaim the GOOD NEWS that you LOVE the world - all of it?
But above all - will you help us to name and shame the sins of misogyny and homophobia masquerading as doctrinal rectitude and so help us to finally consign to a shameful history the petty medieval bickering's of the fearful and faithless in their palaces?
For the sake of the next generation
Please God - don't let your people be silent on this matter.