Sunday, October 28, 2007

Being the church

There are times when I am tired and disillusioned and frustrated by all that goes on in the church. There are times when I get discouraged by all the time we spend on budgets and policy decisions and canon law and parliamentary procedure and I wonder what the heck this all has to do with spreading the gospel and doing God's work and being the church. And then I spend a very long Saturday with a few hundred of my fellow church folk having some intense discussions on budgets and policy decisions and canon law and parliamentary procedures and I see that indeed this too is how we are church with one another, and that indeed this has everything to do with it. People who were in radical disagreement about some very important things came together first to pray and worship, then to speak and listen, then to vote. It was the most respectful debate I've ever heard. Some things turned out as expected, some surprised us. Some decisions made me happy and some did not. And that was true for probably every single person there. The most important thing we agreed on was that our focus is mission and that we are willing to go forth together into an unknown future and try some new and radical ways of being church in order to meet the needs of the world in the 21st century. The first goal of this strategy is a focus on spiritual transformation and theological renewal within the diocese in order to start on solid ground.

It's our 150th birthday as a diocese this year and our motto is "Our Hope for Years to Come" from the hymn....we sang it several times this weekend. I found myself meaning it from the heart. Fed on word and sacrament and hope, I do believe we are going forth together to be the church!

6 comments:

Gannet Girl said...

One of my good friends, a die-hard liberal like me, says that when she talks with people whose views differ, she usually finds that the differences cover only about 5% of the subject matter and on the rest they always find common round. I'm not as optimistic as she is, but your post makes me think that maybe I should be.

RevDrKate said...

I think your friend may have it right...the problem for most of us is that we can rarely listen long enough to find the common ground because we're too busy defending the differences.

Mrs. M said...

Thanks so much for posting this. It's wonderful to have this reminder.

mompriest said...

I agree as well.

I'm really glad your convention was this Spirit-filled. I too have had similar experiences at convention. Now if we can only have this happen when we meet in a week and a half...

more cows than people said...

Amen.

And GG... that to which you testify was certainly part of what was revealed on my experience on that task force. Its hard to believe some days, I know.

Mother Laura said...

Praise God and thank you for sharing this good news.

I had a similar experience in the discussion over titles with the two traditional gentlemen at my blog. I now have quite a soft spot for them and having real people in mind that I disagree with will hopefully make me speak more carefully and gently in defending my passionately held positions. More chance of preaching to those not already converted--and even if we don't agree in the end what a testimony to the love and truth of God that is beyond all of us.