10.22.2009

Mrs. M Ruminates on Her Heart's Desire

Yesterday over lunch at 5 Guys, Mr. M asked me what my vocational discernment is like right now, and a crystal-clear response popped out of my mouth before I even had time to think about it: I feel called to Spiritual Direction, but to something else, too.

I am blowing big raspberries at the institutional church right now, there's no way around that truth. I get that it's a human institution, and thereby can't help being flawed. But sometimes I feel like there's a gaping chasm between the stated mission and the de facto mission observed in the life of the church. It's not even that we're striving for holiness and missing the mark, but that we've lost sight of the mark entirely. Mary Beth writes about frustration and sorrow. Carol Merritt Howard tells a horrendous story of call that, frankly, didn't even surprise me.

But...
I don't think we're meant to only live out our faith individually. I can't reconcile that with my theology. Coming together to know God better, to love God and each other so that we can carry that love everywhere with us-- this is overwhelming. This is what we're here to do.
And church is exciting to me, it sings out to me, both spiritually and intellectually-- worship that conveys what we believe and reaches out to all our senses and sensibilities, or even worship that demonstrates how what we really believe is different from what we say we believe-- this is enthralling stuff. (Would someone let me study and then teach Liturgy someday? That would be fantastic.).

Can we find a way to be different from corporations? Less concerned with prestige, and more committed to lifting up everyone? Aren't we called to be servants first, and not CEOs? I've seen congregations that work this way, but is it possible in a larger context?

I worry that this sounds like sour grapes. But I don't think I'm wrong.

8 comments:

  1. Love you lots. Just wanted to say that.

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  2. Studying liturgy--that sounds fantabulous. If you discover such a program, let me know. And I send you good wishes with the discernment process.

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  3. Di, why don't we live closer together? At least time-zone closer?!
    You would love, in an oh-I-am-so-frustrated sort of way, the class that I just finished at Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
    I couldn't read many of the responses to Carol Howard Merritt's post. I think I stopped soon after the 2nd (white? probably) man wrote "Oh, it wasn't so bad for me." I can NOT believe that 20 years after the Episcopal church elected her first female bishop we are still up against such ingrained -isms. Not the least of which is "difference."

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  4. Lots of good thinking here. I started out to be a Methodist minister, went to seminary, became an Episcopalian and a spiritual director. I'm older, so this seems right for me, plus I teach a lot.

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  5. Di -- I do have to say that in my ELCA seminary, I found a lot of affirmation (not just a white guy thing). I still remember hearing one of my professors (Greek professor, in a rare moment of passion, tell somebody, "If you don't think women should be pastors", you're in the WRONG seminary.)

    I really really find it burdensome how much seminary costs in my tradition. I was on a student council that was dealing with this while I was still in sem, and we got some ideas. I still get mad when I see the one person who gets a full ride every year. I would like to see a few more people get help.

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  6. It looks like you have a great site here. I will be checking back often.
    Once again, Great website, and great writing.

    God Bless,
    Pastor Dan

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  7. "Would someone let me study and then teach Liturgy someday?...

    sure. go for it.

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  8. This is all really interesting feedback-- thanks, guys!

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"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins