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I received an anonymous comment… June 30, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in theology.
3 comments

…on my post “Late to the party”, and since I don’t know who left it or from whence they came, the only place I can really discuss it is in a new post.

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Anonymous has left a new comment on your post “Late to the party…“:

Do you have any problems with some of the decisions your church made? Like saying that Jesus is not the only way to Salvation? Or that homosexuality is not a sexual sin?
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Well, Anonymous, let me first say that I cannot speak with any authority whatsoever on “the decisions the church has made”. I’ve only been an Episcopalian for a few years, and am not well versed in all the resolutions and official pronouncements that have come out of all of our conventions over the years. So I have no idea if the church has said that “Jesus is not the only way to salvation” or “homosexuality is not a sexual sin”. I only know what I believe about those topics. I have come to my beliefs through reading Scripture, looking at Church tradition, and acknowledging that my reason and my experience play a valuable role in developing my understanding of what it means to have been created by God. I also know that as a baptized member of the Body of Christ, the church welcomes me to worship and share Eucharist with them regardless.

I’m a monotheist – I believe in one God. I don’t believe that there is one God FOR ME, or one God FOR CHRISTIANITY, but that there is ONE GOD who created us all, and that at the end of time, we will be reunited with God who created us, period. God has a plan of salvation for all of us, Christians and non-Christians alike. Human beings through time and history and space have put different faces and names to God and have created multitudes of different religions, all in an effort to touch the face of their Creator. I believe Jesus was the Incarnation of God and the Messiah. The only one? I don’t know. Did He think of Himself that way? I don’t know. There’s a lot of things I don’t know. That doesn’t mean I don’t think about them – on the contrary, I think about them all the time. But I never seem to get any closer to the answers, and I think that’s ok.

I don’t believe homosexuality is a sexual sin. I don’t even really know what the term “sexual sin” refers to, since I think abusive sexual acts are very rarely about sex and most often about power and control, as is ALL sin. Sin is about our way, not God’s way. I believe promiscuity, adultery, divorce, abuse, intimidation – these are all sexual in nature, and they are sinful behavior and/or acts. I’ve read every argument for and against homosexuality – the orientation and the actual physical act – and I simply cannot wrap my mind around the idea that two consenting adults in a loving and lifelong relationship is an affront to God. I just can’t. I meet God every day in the presence and persons of my husband and son, and I have to believe that gay couples can do that, too, or I’d have to be against marriage for everyone.

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“Simmering” is such an unattractive quality… June 30, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in death, tattoos, worship.
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…yet one I am quite prone to. I’ve been quietly simmering since Easter Sunday over an incident that happened while standing in line for St. P’s annual Easter brunch. The early service was over. My husband and I were waiting in line and trying to entertain Gabe, and we were talking to some friends of ours who have a daughter about Boy-o’s age. After we had made our way up to the food, gotten our plates, and sat down, one of our friends asked me if I had heard the comments being made by the people in line behind us. I said that I had not, and he told me that they had been talking about the small tattoo I have on my forearm.

The tattoo itself is a Celtic knotwork tattoo that I had done about seven years ago. Like most knotwork, the design itself has no particular meaning, but in general, knotwork is a statement of beauty in simplicity – the path that never terminates except within itself. Knotwork also symbolizes the belief that all of life is interconnected. Perhaps I was being a tad rebellious getting it in such a visible location, but I knew full well I’d be wearing it the rest of my life, and I didn’t want to have to use a mirror or crane my neck around at odd angle to be able to look at it.

In any case, our friend told me that the people in line behind us had been whispering about the tattoo, and about HOW could my husband, a respectable member of the altar guild and the choir, be married to someone like that?! I laughed it off at the time, but I’ve been getting angrier and angrier over the weeks since. I don’t really know why – it doesn’t matter, and I know it doesn’t, but I guess there is just always that hope that the people you meet in church are going to somehow be finer human beings than those you meet outside. But that’s silly – walking through those red doors doesn’t magically make anyone shed all of our biases and preconceived notions, not even me.

In any case, I think I’m about ready to finally be over it. This past Sunday we had quite a few visitors at coffee hour. One of them was a woman that I thought was probably about my age, perhaps a little older, and she had some knotwork designs peering out from under the left sleeve of her shirt. I walked up and said hello, and asked if I could see the rest of her tattoo. When she lifted the sleeve, she revealed an enormous Celtic cross stretching almost from shoulder to elbow, with a girl’s name and birth and death dates on the inside. When I asked, she told me it was her niece who had died last year, and I simply smiled and told her, “What a beautiful way to honor her memory.”

strep throat is rampaging through our household AG… June 28, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in life.
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strep throat is rampaging through our household AGAIN, for the second time this year. yay.

Late to the party… June 23, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Episcopal, theology, vocation.
3 comments

I was on vacation during the big Episcopal Church goings on at GenCon these past two weeks, and even though I was well aware that some important resolutions regarding our response to the Windsor Report were going to be voted on and a new Presiding Bishop was going to be elected, I made the conscious choice to, *GASP*, not follow any news or blogs while I was gone. I was determined to enjoy uninterrupted family time, Shamu, tubing down the river, good Mexican food, and no exercise whatsoever. So, upon our return, I was delighted to learn about the election of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the first ever female Presiding Bishop. Amazing! And even though I was several days late to the news, I found myself shedding tears of joy and explaining why it was SUCH A BIG DEAL to my dear husband.

But now…oh dear, I am definitely all “convention’ed out”. I can’t even begin to imagine how exhausting/exhilarating it must be to actually be AT one instead of trying to read all the emails and news links after the fact! In fact, now that I think about it a little harder…I don’t think I’d like it at all. I love to debate as much as the next “church nerd”, but over IMPORTANT ISSUES, not over how we’re going to phrase a resolution. That kind of stuff seriously gets on my nerves, because I just want to stand up and scream “Can we celebrate Eucharist or go work at the soup kitchen or something already?!”

That being said, I am well aware that how to phrase a resolution can be VERY important stuff, and thank goodness for all the talented and dedicated lay folks and clergy who have the ability to spend hours trying to work it out. Of course, we all have our own perceptions of what’s “important”. For some, it’s “upholding the traditional faith and order”, and for others, it’s “trying to discern how the Holy Spirit may be guiding us in new directions”, and for those of us trying to walk the Via Media, it’s pleading “Can’t we all just get along? There are hungry people and tired people and sick people and misunderstood people out there who NEED US!”

As I spend this year in discernment for the priesthood, new ideas are occurring to me all the time about where in ministry I might belong – what are my talents? What am I dedicated to? When I think about why I want this so much, what do I actually envision myself doing every day?

The past few weeks, as I continue to read everything that is recommended to me, I have begun thinking more about how I can be the most effective Episcopalian Christian possible (You can tell I have a degree in management, can’t you? The word “effective” is always a dead giveaway!). I have known Episcopalians who like to laugh about evangelism being a dirty word and I like the jokes about someone’s great grandmother donating that light bulb as much as the next person. But let’s get real. You can’t talk about your faith with any credibility if you don’t live it, and if you live it by volunteering but never talk about it to people outside your church, you are just as single-dimensional. I’ve always had twin passions for the idea of ecumenical dialogue and Christian education – I adore telling people who are interested in knowing what Jesus Christ, through the Incarnation and through His Church and the sacraments and through the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ, of which we are ALL a part, is all about. I guess when you grow up in an evangelical-dominated geographical area, that “personal testimony” stuff gets into you whether you want it to or not!

I’ve been considering the idea of a military chaplaincy. What better way to combine those passions? And what an incredible challenge…anyways, it’s just bouncing around in my head…

Oh, I’m so tired… June 5, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in birthdays, family, life, worship.
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I tossed and turned last night thinking of all the many things I have to get done before we leave for vacation on Friday. This spring, like most springs of my adult life, has been incredibly full to bursting with familial obligations. This year they mostly centered around my little sister’s wedding, which went off last weekend. Showers were thrown, luncheons were had, music was selected, fingers were *snapped*, eyes were narrowed in displeasure, keys to the getaway vehicle were locked inside it, and the happy couple made it to their honeymoon destination in California intact. Now it’s my family’s turn. We’ll be off to A-Kon in Dallas, followed by 5 days in the Texas Hill Country around Austin, with a side trip to Sea World in San Antonio for the boy. OK, let’s get real: Sea World is for me, but I think Gabe will have a good time, too!

When we get back, we have husband’s family pool party and an engagement party to attend, my daughter’s visit with us to plan, and my birthday to acknowledge. Also a swing set, sandbox, and wading pool to buy. Also a mind to lose. And ummm…uhhhh…yeah, I think that’s it.

So, I think it’s fair to say that I *really* needed the reminder of Pentecost. Granted, I didn’t get to derive much inspiration from Father M.’s sermon yesterday, mostly because I was too busy building a Jenga-style tower of Prayer Books and hymnals with my monster and trying to keep him from noticing that Daddy was up front in the choir loft and therefore NOT in the back and playing with him! But the very act of putting on our red clothing was meaningful, and looking around the church at the sea of red made me smile. I thought of the day I was received into the church 3 years ago, and Boy-o’s baptism 2 years ago, and our move to this state 1 year ago: all three of these events took place at Pentecost. I thought of all the ways, ordinary and extraordinary, in which I have had “Pentecost moments” where the Spirit has moved in my own life and the lives of those I love. And I was so incredibly grateful for every single one of them – and every single one of you out there who read this. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!