Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I've been pretty down the last few days. Dead cats and good friends leaving and all, plus I keep reading about the Presbyterian Church.

That would be my church.

I was trying to write something in response to many of the blogs and comments and news articles scattered around the internet, and I was failing. And I need to go to work. And I need a chocolate croissant rather desperately.

And then I realized why I was having such a problem. I have been trying to respond (which means letting others set my agenda), and I have been trying to respond to pronouncements rather than stories. There are a lot of pronouncements in Presby-related commentary right now, MSM and otherwise. Few of them characterize anything that I understand, because what we have in our lives are our stories, not pronouncements.

Pronouncement: Adultery is wrong. Story: The Scarlet Letter. Now, is it wrong or isn't it? For whom? By whom? When? Everyone has a different story: Hester, Pearl, Dimmesdale, the community. It really doesn't help to intone a la Cotton Mather that "Adultery is wrong." It might help to listen to the stories.

Yes, that was an extreme example. So intended.

Pronouncements: The Presbyterian Church (USA) should divest itself of certain financial entanglements that would seem to support Israeli action against Palestinians. Or, the opposite. The Church should prevent the ordination of gay and lesbian persons. Or, the opposite. Pronouncement: God is Mother, Father, and Creator. Or, not. Pronouncement: The Bible is the sole authority for the Church. Or, there are multiple authorities from which we can seek to discern God's presence and will. Or, not.

The image above is from the tile mosaic around the Tiffany window in the chapel I've been studying. Two of the artistic themes portayed throughout the chapel are The Cross and The Rainbow.



Judith said...

The chocolate croissant sounds delicious!

Cynthia said...

I'd need more than a chocolate croissant to get me through all the "or nots." Sometimes it seems that religions do all they can to muck up faith.

LightYears2Venus said...

This cemetary where you walk with it's grounds, monuments, wildlife, and breath-taking chapel is truly an amazing, sacred oasis. I wish we all had such a refuge to refresh our souls--I know you feel lucky to have it. I would love to visit all of the places you write about (and can't wait for the French entries--you'll be in brighter spirits soon) and include this cemetary on that wishlist!
Official pronouncements can be so disturbing (sigh). As you say, if only they would listen to people's stories! We do have to take comfort in the fact that they are not everyone's view even if they seem to be the majority. Whenever I think my own church, the government, society, etc., are hopeless, there is always some encouraging ray of light. Chocolate helps, too.

Neil said...

Hi -

Been a while - thought I should stop by and see what's up with you.

I'll be back.