Monthly Archives: July 2011
(This could become a rant…)
Have you ever said, or heard another person say, “I’m just one person – what can I do?”
And, if you’re trying to live a just and good life, but find yourself unable to keep up with all the work that that entails – caring fir environment, buying ethically, giving to organizations that do justice work on behalf of all of us, and so on – the temptation can be to throw one’s arms in the air and say “why bother at all?” …especially when one’s own needs are already met!
In addition to this, some may become critical: “you say you are a good person because you make a point of buying local produce, and yet I saw you just the other day buying an orange at Safeway – there’s no way that’s local! You’re a hypocrite!”
The thing is, none of us can do everything. At the same time, we can’t do anything big without all of us contributing as we can.
When asked the question, “there are over six hundred laws in the Torah, how can I possibly be a good Jew?” a rabbi replied, “choose one and start.”
I justify all kinds of unnecessary purchases. I have things I really don’t need.
Does our culture help us justify what we don’t need? Have we all fallen victim to marketers whose existence depends on our consuming things?
Our neighbours to the south are fast approaching a date where debts are coming due. With the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the USA has enjoyed significant power over other countries in the world (often holding the option of veto).
Our economic system is, in effect, based on trust. What happens when we can not make good on what we’ve said we would repay? What has happened when other countries have not been able to repay? (In many cases, they have had to agree to repayment plans that have bound countries to the point of being unable to provide for their people.)
We, as consumers, can change this type of system. We can “choose otherwise” – that is, not the system we’ve operated by which depends on great consuming and producing.
And perhaps by changing the way we do things (eg. buy local, fair trade, less…), we can re-establish trust with and care for each other.
Our National Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, has recently completed it’s Thirteenth Bienniel National Convention – this year in Saskatoon.
It was a milestone convention: celebrating 25 years as a church (having merged two previous Lutheran bodies, the LCA and ELCC, into one) and 10 years in Full Communion with the Anglican Church of Canada. But perhaps even more significantly, the church in convention moved to be more invitational, more inclusive, more welcoming – passing resolutions that open the doors to same-sex marriage and ordination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender pastors.
As a congregation that has been “Reconciling In Christ” for over two years, All Saints has endeavoured to be welcoming in this way already – we have a statement of welcome that is clear in its welcome of all people, including those of various sexual orientations and gender identities.
Some may say, “how weren’t you welcoming before?” And I would say that – as a national church – it’s not that we weren’t. However, it wasn’t clear that we were. And, we had policies that dated back decades that prevented us from living out the kind of welcome many of us envisioned for our faith communities. We now have a Social Statement that acknowledges where scholarship and society has been for many years, now: affirming people of sexual orientations other than heterosexual, and genders other than male or female.
It’s necessary to be clear in our welcome because the under-tones of our faith – especially if one might be led towards a literal interpretation of the Bible – have been explicitly negative towards LGBTQ people for a long time. We welcome because we strive for justice. We want to show the grace of God to all as we have experienced in the generous and hospitable living of Jesus.
I know this move in our church could signal a break for some, and that possibility grieves me. My sincere hope is that those who struggle with this will still find a place – and a welcome, of course – in the ELCIC. I look forward to welcoming back those who have not felt welcome, and welcoming new people who did not previously see our Lutheran congregations as ones that might welcome them, now that we have opened our doors in this new way.
As the chorus of one of my favourite hymns goes: “All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place!”