Paradox newsletter – April, 2011
Posted by allsaintslutheranchurch.com
From the Pastor…
Where homes are torn by bitter strife,and love dissolves in blame; where walls you meant for shelt’ring care hide deeds of hurt and shame: O God of mercy, hear our prayer: bring peace to earth again! (Worship hymnal #725)
How might peace be achieved in our world?
Do we have anything to say about it?
It seems to me that we throw our hands in the air too quickly about whether we have a role to play in the proceedings of our local region, country, or even the world. On the news, recently, I saw images of people living in the Middle East who had their homes burned or bombed, and had absolutely nothing. Children were held in the arms of their parents, the ground was dry and dusty. How can one conceive of a future in that reality? What hope is there? And yet I notice that people will gather in those times of desperation; people will not sit idly by. Instead, they work hard to rebuild, or rally to protest their oppression. Such anxious times, while never desired by any people, motivate people into action, and there is passion for engagement in life.
Are things too comfortable around here? With a federal election now coming up, I hear lines like “stay the course” being tossed around, and yet there is a widening gap between rich and poor in our country. I hear accusations of “undemocratic” activity by some, and yet we allow trade agreements and shady business deals to be done on our behalf behind closed doors.
The hymnist writes of peace on earth again. “Peace,” as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, “is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.” Justice – where all have enough, and no one is denied access – requires the engagement of us all, and the freedom for all of us to join in the decisions that are made. For such prayers to be answered, we must live what we believe and desire for the world.
-Pastor Tyler Gingrich
* * * *
– to the Tozer, Mcintosh, Whiteman, Skutshek, Wilkison, Denney, Weger, and Czeto families for their part in our dessert night on March 18th!
– to Cathryn, Karen, Paul, and Jesse for their faithful service on Advisory!
– to Sid and Shawn for their gift of music, and for providing some amplification!
* * * *
Prophetic Words For Our Day
Last week, for example, I received a complimentary copy of a right-wing, Midwestern Episcopal publication. […] It carried an article by two African Anglican bishops who complained that the American Church paid no attention to the well-being of the Anglican Communion by ordaining Mary Glasspool, an open lesbian priest who has lived with her partner for many years, to be a bishop in Los Angeles. I wanted to inform these two prelates that we in America also did not pay attention to our racist members when we, a number of years ago, chose great people like John Walker and John Burgess, both African-Americans, to be our bishops in Washington, D.C. and in Massachusetts respectively. We in America also did not pay attention to our sexist members when we chose Barbara Harris to be or first female bishop in Massachusetts; Mary Adelia McLeod to be our first female diocesan bishop in Vermont and Katharine Jefferts-Schori to be our first female Presiding Bishop and Primate. If we were not willing to be bound by racism or sexism in those days, I wonder why these African bishops think we will be or should be bound today by their rampant homophobia.
This publication also told of an American bishop who declined to participate in Mary Glasspool’s ordination so that she “could keep her relationship with some African bishops intact.” It is hard for me to see such an abdication of leadership, which compromises principle in order to reduce conflict with those who wish to demonize homosexual people, as a quality deserving of anything but disgust. Yet this bishop was actually offering this behavior as virtuous. She was clearly worshiping at the altar of institutional unity on which the humanity of many has been sacrificed to gain institutional well-being as if that were a noble reason. […]
These are just examples of the religious attitudes that have caused people like your husband to think he is an atheist. If this is Christianity, I don’t know why any thinking person would be attracted to it.
If I lit a candle in the religious darkness that enveloped your husband, I am profoundly grateful and I thank you for writing.
(Bp John Shelby Spong, in a reply to a question submitted by a reader)
* * * *
“Treat others as they would want to be treated”
* * * *
At our Congregational Meeting on March 6th, we began a visioning process called “Dotmocracy.” Make sure to pick up one of the blank sheets and fill in your ideas and hopes for our community’s future by the end of the month!
* * * *
Worship Leaders in April