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"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen...." - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen...."
It damn better be, because I got nothin' without that right about now.

We went out last night to a preview screening of Philomena, the latest film from Stephen Frears, starring Steve Coogan as a journalist and more-than-starring Judi Dench as his subject- an older woman seeking out a child stolen from her in an early 1950s Irish orphanage where she was sent in shame, and to be shamed, following her teen pregnancy. I could devote endless postiness to her story, how it played out in the script, how they worked with the original true-story material and its tweaks by both Frears and Coogan, but on this occasion, especially, I want to focus on one aspect of it that hits closest to my own feelings lo these 60 years later. As Rex Reed's mostly awesome review mentions, Philhomena "clings to her faith" despite that Holy Mother Church having shamed her, abused her, stolen from her, lied to her and probably stopping along the way to break at least three other Commandments in the process. Despite all that, she continues to seek comfort in the smells and bells and sacraments of the same people who did her such inexplicable wrong.

I'm nowhere near that level of outrage, but I still feel some parallel, for on the day we went out to this screening, my own lifetime's Holy Mother Church concluded the first in a series of trials of its own clergy for daring to marry same-sex couples, many of them sons or daughters of the offending pastors.  A church jury found him guilty, despite the impassioned justifications submitted for his actions and despite evidence that the original complainant was pursuing a petty vendetta against the man.  He now moves to the "penalty phase" of the trial, which ranges from anything from a time-out to an outright defrocking. Given the jury's reaction to the liability phase, I fully expect him and his flock to be short a collar this time next Sunday....

and that sickens me.  My denomination isn't being heralded in the mainstream press for its boots-on-the-ground presence in the Philippines, or its continuing efforts to help in Haiti despite that disaster not being the flavor of the month anymore. No, we are being portrayed as a bunch of witch-burning nutjobs. And if that's what a majority of us are, and what a majority of our bishops are inclined to allow us to be, then the only thing I can say is, "Quack quack."

Six nights from now, our own congregation is poised to take the first step to stand against this trend and declare ourselves a Reconciling Ministries Congregation. In time, if that decision is made and stands, we may also present the church judiciary with another opportunity to defrock a supportive clergy member. I am torn between standing against such accusations with Rich (or his successor, who I am still in a position to help name, if it comes to it at some point in the future), or, instead, just shaking the dust of this disgust off my sandals and taking the remnants of my faith elsewhere.

Maybe it's coincidence, but I test-drove two possible replacement cars today, through a Clarence neighborhood. (Their one Focus won't fit the bill, but the other, a Honda Insight hybrid, leads in the clubhouse right now.) Both of those drives took me past a United Church of Christ congregation I'd never been by, much less in, at any time in my life and which I knew nothing about. Except, that is, for knowing that UCC is decades ahead of we Methodists in recognizing that "God is still speaking," and in putting that belief into action by accepting all, to all, in their clergy and ceremonies.  It would end a lifelong tradition, but some things are worth that.

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/170934.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
4 comments or Leave a comment
bill_sheehan From: bill_sheehan Date: November 21st, 2013 01:32 am (UTC) (Link)
First, I feel your pain. Really. I'll write about it when I have a moment, probably this weekend.

Second, what's a Reconciling Ministries Congregation? Is it still Methodist?

It's ironic that the Methodist movement split from Anglicanism over the latter's complacence in social justice issues, and now the Episcopalians are ahead of Methodists. And the church that started out as dour Puritanism split into UCC and UU, both liberal welcoming churches.
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: November 21st, 2013 01:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Far as I know, Corporate Headquarters doesn't oppose congregations supporting the RMC movement, as long as they don't actually act on it. Whether that's a problem depends on where you are- the Northwestern USA United Methodists' bishops have basically told the bigots not to bother complaining, but we in the Northeast are still very much into torches and pitchforks:P

If you want the skinny on what RMC is and does? read on, my son....
thediva_laments From: thediva_laments Date: November 21st, 2013 02:03 am (UTC) (Link)
My parents are Methodists and I was just talking about this on the phone with my mom last night. Thanks for the link, I just emailed it to her.

I left the Methodist church long ago, as you know, though I went the other way, to the Episcopal church. The crazier these trials get, the happier I am that I left.
oxymoron67 From: oxymoron67 Date: November 21st, 2013 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I've pretty much abandoned Catholicism over this sort of thing (and others as well).

I appreciate your frustration, And, in an odd way, thank you for it.
4 comments or Leave a comment