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Taking a break from Sabbath Rest - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
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Taking a break from Sabbath Rest
An unusual Sunday here for recent weeks, in that we both stayed home.

Eleanor worked an odd-lot Saturday afternoon-into-evening gig at the store, and was exhausted and in pain when she got home, so no public chanting for her this morning.  Dog Church also got excommunicated from my morning schedule, as Ann and Ursula had other plans.  I thought about going back to where I tried last week, but I was in a bit of pain myself from a killah workout yesterday morning and decided to just chill.

There's only one place I was pretty sure I rather wouldn't be than right here, right now- and that's the house of worship I've held membership in for 22 years in a denomination that is lifelong.  The more I see of other experiences, the more hollow it seems.

As I mentioned the other day, the local Buddhist group received Eleanor into membership on Friday night.  An hour or so of discussion followed, including the following reading by Mark- one of the longtime followers of this faith. It's from a poem written by the current worldwide leader of the organization, and the part I'm bolding below is the part that struck a nerve:

Those who can
bring happiness to their friends
are experts in the art of happiness.
Those who can
Bring peace to their society
are emissaries of peace.
Refusing to tolerate bullying is part of the struggle for peace.

Refusing to tolerate discrimination
is part of the struggle for peace.

Refusing to tolerate lies and slanders
is part of the struggle for peace.
Refusing to tolerate the arrogance
of the powerful is part of the struggle for peace.

Absolutely and utterly refusing to
tolerate violence in any form –
that is the essence of the struggle for peace.

Do not remain silent.
Speak out courageously.


Worthy sentiments, all- but the two I bolded, taken together, sounded remarkably like a vow I'd already heard from my own pews, many times over many years. It's one made by, or on behalf of, every person who becomes initiated into the United Methodist Church by baptism, confirmation or reception into membership:

Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?

I've heard that answered yes dozens of times. I've rarely seen it practiced when the rubric met the road, though.  I've seen newcomers made to feel unwelcome in the cliques and cloisters of insular church membership.  I've seen men of the cloth- the same cloth I've been in contact with for almost 57 years- bringing their fellow clergy up on charges on grounds of something they did or, worse, something they are.   I've witnessed indifference, if not subtle resistance, to even the babiest of baby steps to get my one congregation to come out in support of this vital struggle for peace. And I can kinda understand when some bishops from the gold buckle of the Bible Belt stick their collective noses into the ordination of a bishop outside their jurisdiction on the other side of the country; but I'm off-put beyond words or capacity to understand when my own conference's Bishop Mark Webb, in supposedly liberal Noo Yawk and in whose cathedral I have worshiped, puts out an official screed condemning her consecration, saying

I join my colleagues in the Southeastern College of Bishops in viewing the acts of nonconformity as a violation of our covenant and as divisive and disruptive.

You go, Mark.  We all know Jesus never stood for acts of nonconformity, and he certainly never did anything disruptive:P

This denomination's motto is "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors."  Right about now, I'm feeling that door is open mainly for purposes of showing me the way out.  Eleanor's already told one of the new Williamsville ministers that she has crossed that threshold for the final time.  Me? I'm still searching, and have a bit more Pollyanna in me that keeps me from shaking the dust off my feet and never looking back.  But I can't pretend things are fine when they're not, and I may start just by sharing these words with the new ministers so they will know where I'm coming from.

If it would help, we can meet over coffee.  Hell, I'll even roll on Shabbos if they will.
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Comments
thanatos_kalos From: thanatos_kalos Date: August 28th, 2016 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have you read any of the Dalai Lama's books? They're really amazing wrt empathy/forgiveness and good works generally. (I can see why he and Archbishop Tutu are close).

Also, if I do end up going to Bangkok this December (still trying to sort that out) is there anything you or Eleanor would like me to bring back for you?
angledge From: angledge Date: August 29th, 2016 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have always found it enlightening to visit with other faith traditions. Your journey sounds fascinating.
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