Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012.01.29 Holy Spirit...How Does She Do It?

I heard an unusual comment recently, a compliment to the rector of a neighboring parish from one of the parishioners. The woman said, “He’s great. He’s not a pulpit hog.”

I also heard from a woman priest colleague that it was nice to see girls on the altar, not dancing of course, at a notably conservative patriarchal parish that’s trying to be more open. My friend has also been invited to preach and celebrate there.

And then I heard from a colleague woman priest and friend that the bishop who had 35 years ago turned me down for ordination had told her that being against the ordination had been the biggest mistake he’d ever made.

These tiny epiphanies felt hopeful that the Church will continue to chip away at patriarchy and full inclusion of every person in the worship and politics of the institution. Am I delusional?

Make no mistake the current political field in this country is NOT about just the economy, it is about women—keeping them in their traditional places, or not. You could even say barefoot and pregnant and confined to a role. The climate is contentious around money (who has it all and who gets to keep it all) and misogyny, or is it gynephobia. Kept money and kept women. The way out of a deadlock I think is to empower women to make their own choices and to exercise their own gifts for the common good, family and beyond. The progressive Church, oddly, is doing better than the government.

I’m firmly committed to the idea that as many different voices as possible should grace ALL our "pulpits" and altars and podiums. It builds community, neighborliness and peace. Christians are far from uniform in their styles of worship, politics, and theology. We desperately need to talk. We need to cut through assumptions and get to know who we really are. We only live next door for heaven’s sake.

I’ve been trying to promote such connections for years including interfaith ones. The miles between us are short but the walls are thick and so parochial it’s shocking.

I tell you I do wonder how Holy Spirit, She whom I call Sophie, works things for the best even when it all looks lousy and hopeless to us.  

But She is a mysterious masseuse of relational connective tissues. And you know how long it takes those muscles and joints to loosen up and let go—and then pop back tight, over and over. It’s worse than muscles to get people to let go, and even worse with religious people.

Get a massage—full body and spirit.