Sunday, September 16, 2012

2012.09.16 Spiritual Massage

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, or scantily clad)  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 35 years ago had turned me down for ordination just told her that being against the ordination of women had been the biggest mistake he’d ever made. Bravo!

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

Our current political field in this country is NOT really about the economy,  it is about women—keeping them in their traditional places, or not. You could even say barefoot and pregnant.  Yet after this presidential election the US congress will NOT be, for the first time in history, dominated by white straight men.   

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.  Distance is no excuse with the internet.

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.

The Holy Spirit, She whom I call Sophie,  eventually works things for the best even when it all looks lousy and hopeless to us and our efforts fail. How does She do it? 

She is a mysterious masseuse of relational connective tissues.  And you know how long it takes   muscles and joints to loosen up and let go—and then pop back tight, over and over.   It’s easier to ease stiff muscles than it is to get stiff people to let go,  and even worse with religious people.  BUT not impossible.

Pray for a massage—full body and spirit.   You may be surprised!