15 January 2006

Zinnhead Priest

I've realized that the worst thing that the establishment of the Churches could do would be to send me to seminary. In sending me to seminary they set aside time for me to learn the history of the Churches, how beliefs were established and solidified, and where the power was and the relationship between power and orthodoxy.

They have helped me set aside time to learn that I am bound to those who differ from me. That those who claim all the answers need sisters and brothers who don't employ that kind of absurdity. That the establishment requires some kind of anti-establishment within it to keep it honest. That there are people waiting outside the doors to hear something compassionate from the pews, and waiting to see if the people will ever leave the pews and speak peace outside coffee hour. That I won't leave the Churches if I'm condemned as "un-orthodox," because that only means they are trying to convince me that I have no power. I don't believe them. I know that I am bound to the Churches, and to Christ, and to identifying the kingdom the way Christ did.

I can't be quieted with the threat of un-orthodoxy anymore. I can't be shamed by the father-figures of the Churches that they know best, that they own orthodoxy, that they own history. I won't be intimidated by those who complain about female priests as too affirming, too compassionate, too open, too feminine. I will continue to question white priests of black congregations. I will continue to challenge who is allowed to bless, and who defines a curse. I will not stop shuddering at patronizing sermons about poverty, racism, and "women's ministry."

The establishment has sent me to seminary and put me in touch with resources about oppression of all kinds, within and outside the Churches. And they've raised me up to question and challenge them, and call them on their patriarchy, classism, and racism, wherever I see it, whether in their stewardship campaigns, at their altars, in their classrooms, or how they meet for Conventions. What are the Churches preparing its members to do? This is why some of the Churches are emptying -- because they have not convinced them there is anything to worry about. The Churches that are filling persuade their members that safety, morality, and orthodoxy are all under fire. They are rightly scared that they do not own safety, morality, and orthodoxy anymore. Their soldiers will someday be forced to discover that their war is in vain, because poverty is moral, human rights are moral, lynchings are moral, oil spills and mining accidents are moral, and their views are so narrow they will self-destruct. Orthodoxy is about power. Justice is about Christ.

3 Comments:

Blogger Being Shielded said...

Read and think, read and think again. Thank you.

7:29 PM  
Blogger mikey said...

i read this and the previous entries. makes ME think. thanks.

8:43 AM  
Blogger CJA said...

What, then, is your answer?

7:45 PM  

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