Further Along Recovery Road…

Posted: June 26, 2011 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Further along the recovery journey allows us to reflect on
good things gone wrong, or just look at reality through fresh eyes.

The Fundamentalist sect came out of a good thing, back
during the huge social gospel movement, with women’s rights, Metis recognized
as human beings, and labour rights…came a document the Fundamentals. This was
used as a baseline for Christendom to come together to be able to work together
to end poverty and injustice.

As we say the LGBTQ in ministry and marriage is going to
tear the church apart, I point out that 40 (or 80 depending on your tradition)
the ordination of marriage was going to tear the church apart. Roughly 30 years
ago, children taking communion was going to tear the church apart. 50 years ago
marrying outside your denomination and or race would tear the church apart. I
mean this challenge of believer/unbeliever went back to the earliest church
writings of Paul and what we are to do with this.

Reflecting on Baptism, I once was removed from ministry, because
my own baptism was viewed as invalid, so this raises the question of baptism.
Does anyone know why infants are baptized? It was originally started as a means
of control, if within the first 8 days of life your child was not baptized, and
it died, the child was going to HELL. Since then, culture and life have changed
our understanding and we know come to infant baptism to celebrate new life, and
pledging as a community to support their spiritual growth.

In fact the World Council of Churches had quite a racourous
debate around baptism with those that practiced adult (believer) and infant
baptism, those that said one must wait until adulthood called out the infant
baptism churches saying that if they truly believe confirmation was the
individual’s choice then there was an amazing discipleship program, but it
meant that confirmation needed to be the person’s choice just not something
that is done at a certain age. The infant churches agreed then called out the
adult churches saying, well you need to create a discipleship program for those
who are baptized later because it needs to be more than just words and a
dunking. What had been arrived at? Simple, both traditions were right, now it
was up to what was done with it. For more read the BEM Document (http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-commissions/faith-and-order-commission/i-unity-the-church-and-its-mission/baptism-eucharist-and-ministry-faith-and-order-paper-no-111-the-lima-text.html)

The same can hold true for communion, who is welcome at the
table? What is the purpose? Some of the earliest churches did not practice
communion, but rather took the foot washing as the sacrament, and so service
became the reason the community gathered, with no hierarchy, as they chose to
live as Jesus called them to be in the Gospel of John, as friends. For what is
communion, we have beliefs in the church that it is everything from literally
the body and blood of Christ to nothing more than a shot and a chicklet, yet we
need to accept the mystery that happens when the community gathers together to
eat, it is more than just what is offered at the altar, or magic words, it is
the gathering together of a community of God’s beloved and the mystery unfolds
from there.

Our sacraments we are told are an outward expression of our
inward faith, yet we also try to use them to limit God. Think about it, it
becomes a practice in who can and cannot, and then we use a literal reading of scripture
to back it up. It is why it took so long for women to be married, according to
the literal word for ordination you cannot be a woman, or a divorced man, or a

man who has more than one wife, or a man whose children are not believers.
Whew. But yet, these were time and place stories with specific examples, what
is happening at the core? Simple the word needs to be more than the bible, the
66 books in the Protestant Bible, or the 74 in the Catholic or the Orthodox or
Coptic, etc…what the word is, is what we acknowledge, that is the life, death
and resurrection of Jesus. But do we refer to his actual life as the template
for how we live? Do we say, well look he had women who ministered in his group,
he took in all those that the religiousity says could not be called by God and
let them be called.

Whether the sacrament is communion, baptism, confirmation,
ordination, anointing of the sick, reconciliation, marriage…we have created
an institution that we can then label and say well God says so and so is not
welcome in it.


The true word, the life of Jesus that trumps anything on the
page says clearly that all can be called by God and we as the church needs to
quit trying to control the call of God and realize that all sacraments are open
to all of God’s children regardless of anything we want to use to place a limit
for their ability to connect with the Holy Mystery…so yeah the sexual
orientation thing as keeping folks away from any of the sacraments is: BULL
SHIT. Differently Abled so God won’t call you? BULL SHIT.

It comes down to the fact that God is infinite mystery, and
we are all created differently for a reason, and that reason is the beauty of
diversity. It is now the call on the churches neigh on all of God’s children to
burn down the ladder of hierarchy, control, and oppression, and from the ashes
to draw out the circle of love, hope and inclusion for all.


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