Monday, May 22, 2006

Longing to Hope Again

A comment by a blog reader earlier today on reconciliation caused me to dig through my "archives" and resurrect this piece from May 12, 2003 -- written as we headed into the LAST General Convention. I revisit it here in part to answer the commenter's questions and in part to remind myself -- and all of us -- about what it is we're called to as those given Christ's ministry of reconciliation.

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We filled a parish hall for four days -- lay and ordained, gay and straight – men and women from the east and from the west. We were gathered together for conversations about reconciliation -- focused on the issue “Conflict in the Episcopal Church.” What brought us to those ubiquitous round tables set up for small group discussion was the “conflict du jour”: the blessing of same sex unions. What kept us at them was the deep desire for a ray of hope that there was indeed a way to be reconciled with each other in spite of our deep differences of opinion.

That longing was expressed in these words set to music by Missouri lay deputy Mike Clark:

God who embraces all of this Earth
Heal those in sorrow, burdened with pain.
For many are broken
Many are fearful
Many are longing to hope again
Longing to hope again.


Longing to hope that this “faith based reconciliation process” might actually offer tools to enable us to communicate beyond the sound-bite, position paper rhetoric to which our discourse has been reduced. Longing to hope that there is a way to maintain the integrity of our deeply held convictions and yet stay in relationship with those who differ from us. Longing to hope that this church we love can continue to hold us all in the embrace of Anglican comprehensiveness.

Read the rest here.

2 comments:

Widening Gyre said...

Susan,

Thanks for re-posting this piece. It contains much truth about the problems we face in seeking reconciliation.

I appreciate your ability to recognize the ways that the progressives have caused hurt to the conservatives. I think I have experienced each of the itemized hurts in the past three years at the hands of the majority in my diocese. At the post-GC 2003 wrap-up with our bishop, I think I even challenged him on his failure to understand the depth of the pain felt by some in our diocese and said his "just get over it" response was akin to a "here's your hat, don't let the door hit you in the back as you leave" policy (certainly not a very Christian one at that).

That being said, I recognize (and in my own conservative circle have tried to fight against) the ways the conservative side has continued to hurt the progressive side. After all, no one side has the market cornered on sinful behavior.

Having read this piece, I am reminded of Sean Connery's quotation from The Untouchables to Kevin Coster: "So what are you prepared to do about it?"

I agree whole-heartedly with your answer: we must roll up our sleeves and engage in the hard work of encountering, understanding and loving "the other."

It sounds like you have done this. How has it affected your ability to understand and love the conservative members in your parish/diocese?

Eve said...

Or are there any conservatives in your parish? If so, I too would love to hear their points of view on your blog. I mean that sincerely.