Monday, October 20, 2008

A big disconnect......


A big disconnect appeared before my eyes this weekend during a disocesan convention. I was not a delegate, rather invited as a visitor/spouse to the event, meaning that I could drop in and drop out of the sessions as I pleased. A lot of the time it pleased me to drop out:)

BUT I was present for the final closing session at which our Episcopal Bishop, as well as our invited speaker, a noted Episcopal theologian, were summarizing the positive aspects of coming together in our disocesan numbers, as well as discussing and taking questions regarding our Bishop's recent attendance at the Lambeth Conference in England. (Without boring you with too many details, you probably know that the Episcopal Church has had some issues regarding human sexuality that have been bounced around in our churches and in the national, as well as international news media). .....the Bishop in summary was saying that at the Lambeth Conference rather than dwelling on issues of sexuality, the conference was to share conversation about lives in our communities of the world, to share table stories in order to see the face of God in one another, to see that we are in this world together, not just as sexual beings but as human beings.

In fact, the subject of sexuality did indeed present itself at the Lambeth Conference but as one South African Bishop explained, he might even "long" for the luxury of dwelling on issues of sexuality instead of the facts that he and his villagers were miles, and those are "walking" miles from clean water; that issues of disease and health were more important subjects for his concern.....and yes, for the world's concern! As our bishop offered the details of that story from South Africa, the seated audience approved and seemed to feel the heartache and importance of that true statement, their approval indicated by a nodding of heads and murmurs - until - one of our members stood to take on the subject of sexualtiy, a stand in which he had the whole issue figured out for us! He suggested that since only about 10% of the population, I was not sure which population he was basing his statistic on, were in the gay or lesbian category, that they were leading the rest of the 90% around by the nose and wouldn't it just be better if we got rid of them, turned them loose......frankly I was so shocked at the words coming from his lips that I can't quote exactly what he said. The audience all but booed him out of the room with the noted theologian reminding the listener of Jesus leaving the 99 and going back for the 1 lost sheep. The speaker muttered as he sat down, that Jesus had been wrong about that too!!

So, there you have it. A big disconnect? - I believe so. How does one espouse the words of Christ as Redeemer and then utter words of just "losing the 10%" or whatever fictitious data one chooses to use for stating one's case? Do I do that? Do you do that? Whether the case is sexuality misunderstanding or interpretation or orientation, or political conversation and maneuvering, do we just shut down and say to hell with the others? Is that what our God, our conscience, our gifts of intelligence and reasoning incline us to do? Have I checked my "connections" lately - have you?

And a sort of P.S. .....to emphasize a point, I do NOT personally suggest that persons who have different sexual preferences than my own - as if my sexual preferences were anyone's business OTHER than my own - are living the lives of "lost sheep." My point in agreeing with the theologian, who addressed the man/person/human being who wants to rid the church of the 10% troublemakers, by citing Jesus as leaving the 99 and going back for the 1, is that ALL lives are important to our Creator, and we must strive not to diminish those lives by our every day selfish actions and/or proclamations - so there!!!!

6 comments:

  1. By the way, I was a bit troubled by the booing. That was pretty much a personal condemnation of a very lost sheep and utterly inappropriate for a gathering of Christians. The church would have been better served by responding with silence except for the bishop's gentle correction of his factual errors and invitation to consider another way of thinking.

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  2. yikes!! i can see why the reactions teetered between utter silence and booing. AND i wonder what was going on in the audience speaker's mind/life that would prompt him to so readily dismiss a part of the human race? not to be cliche, but, i wonder what would jesus do? silence? booing? a response from love vs. hate/fear?

    i like CP's thought of "an invitation to consider another way of thinking".

    again. yikes!!!

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  3. This is a very touchy subject in not only your church but in all religions and among various peoples. Right now, we in India are battling with an antiquated law which has gone up to the Supreme Court for annulling. From within the government itself there are conflicting signals coming with two ministries on collision course. It is a difficult choice to make too.

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  4. Thank you CP, Lucy, and R - very thoughtful comments from each of you!

    I, too, was uncomfortable with the booing aspect of the crowd's response - crowds do have a way of misbehaving don't they - as the "one" definitely needed conversation and perhaps personal disclosure on a confidential basis as to why he had reached such a harsh decision that would weigh so heavily against the non-discriminatory teachings of Jesus. A good bit of prayer I hope has been directed heavenward for the healing and reconciliation we all need so badly with our Creator and our fellow humans. Thanks again.

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  5. We had to leave Sunday morning for a funeral in Eastern Oregon, so I missed the drama you mentioned. After reading CP's comment re booing, I'm sad to admit I might not have been disturbed by it. He was right though. It's very disturbing. Thanks for pointing that out CP.

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