[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball

5.17.2004

you're gonna be a priest in what church?!

hoo boy. browsing the church of england newspaper this morning, i couldn't help but notice that of the 10 headlines in the "news" section, @ least 4 pertained to division, and 3 even contained the word "row" (one of my favorites, which the american heritage dictionary of the english language (4th ed.) defines as "a boisterous disturbance or quarrel; a brawl" for heaven's sake!). not that tcen is an infallible indicator of the state of the church (@ least my church, the worldwide anglican communion), but when "row" describes some 30%+ of the news items of note on any given day, you've got to admit that's troubling. everywhere one turns, in fact, there are rows over christology, homosexuality, liturgy, mission, bcp revision, "adequate episcopal oversight" (wish i'd never heard that one), "who's leavin' whom for what now?" and blahblahblahblah.

is my frustration showing? oh. thought so. i used to ask all my systematic theology professors in seminary whether they thought it a bit curious that a group of followers that professes allegiance to jesus -- who appears to have implored his followers to seek u.n.i.t.y. (sing it to me, latifah!) above all -- would have divided up into (obvious hyperbole alert) 40 gazillion little groups, denominations, cliques, claques, movements, waves, communions, factions, what have you. my profs were not amused. nor, i'd imagine, is jesus real jolly about us right about now! i'm not saying there's anything definite we can do about it right this moment, but i'm suggesting we shouldn't be all that surprised if jesus drops in one day and he's pissed (for the un-sacriligeously-minded among us, please read: "he is a bit put off").

so, just why am i working so all fired hard to be an episcopal priest? why do i, exasperated, ask my friend and priest ollie just how he expects me to be a pastor in a church that seems hellbent on schism, division, turning the other "cheek" (read: "moon")? if you'll allow me a supposition, i'd say i'm a little nervous. ok, i'm a lot nervous. i know i'm called to teach "being christ" to episcopalians in the bay state, and perhaps more importantly i am to model this behavior, which i understand means i am to be broken and poured out for them day after day, year after year, as long as god gives me breath. cool. but how in the wide, wide world of sports am i to preach every week to a church committed to (if not founded upon) diversity to the exclusion of all else? shall i embroider "this is just my view" on all my vestments? well, thank god for st. paul, i think i'm starting to get a clue. in one letter, paul exhorts the brethren (and sisthren, i assure you): "by the name of our lord jesus christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you" (1 cor 1.10 (nasb)), and he turns right around and explicitely states what his "message" was -- "christ crucified" (1 cor. 1.23, 2.2).

alas, this post is more to me than to you, i'm afraid. you can even stop reading if you want, w/ my apologies for your having spent some matter of seconds reading this. i, however, must recognize that i am learning. dots are starting to connect. i'm still a baby in the ecusa, and my voice, such as it is, whispers and wavers among a cacophony of others', but i'm not a priest yet so what did i expect? today, i am to be faithful as a disciple, husband and father, for i am sammy, follower of jesus, husband of nadie and pop of ellie grace. note to self: later on, when writing sermons for delivery every sunday (george, i don't know how you do it), when in doubt, preach the gospel. god willing, i will stand up, clear my throat, and warble on about "christ crucified." all other rows notwithstanding, if i get defrocked for that, i'll still be able to sleep @ night.

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