During the Season of Lent, UCiM will be engaging line by line with the Lord’s Prayer. This week’s exploration has considered the entire prayer in relationship to our current Affirming Exploration. I hope, therefore, that these Lenten blogs, honour those faithful conversations, which are occurring within our community of faith.

Okay, I think this blog may end up being more rant like, so please use the comment section below to let me know whether – in fact – this is true & any thoughts/challenges that may arise!

Well … the following are some vignettes of this week that have led to this Lenten blog …

Vignette #1: In Manitoba there is a certain piece of legislation being considered called Bill 18, which will be presented for assent in September. Basically, the bill entrenches expectations around confronting bullying and – as just one example – how it affects GLBTTQ youth and the manner in which such legislation proposes to address homophobia (i.e. mandatory Gay Straight Alliances). Of course no one likes bullying, but apparently some people of faith feel that this is an infringement on their freedom of religion …

Vignette #2: I was blessed to be involved in a recent discussion with Brothers & Sisters of the United Church of Canada (UCC). During that time, we discussed and explored some of our denomination’s context – where we’ve been and where we might find ourselves – as to where the Spirit’s movement has been in our midst. I shared that my own ‘opting-in’ to this human institution was on account of a UCC decision in 1988. This courageous decision basically held up that ANYONE – regardless of sexual orientation – could step into accountable leadership (as a full member) if discerned that they possessed the gifts and skills for such a Call. In that reflection, I named I would not have explored a Call to ministry otherwise …

Vignette #3: Following this conversation, a friend on facebook posted an image from Tom Gauld’s cartoon collection about Revolution. The cartoon struck me as an appropriate critique of both secular privilege, as well as faith-based apathy …

Vignette #4: The last experience occurred while I enjoyed coffee with a dear Brother and we were discussing … well we were discussing evangelism! I love this word, its depth, its challenge, & its power! We were also lamenting that for many progressive/liberal mainstream denomination’s we’ve acquiesced the word to theological perspectives that have devolved into fundamental, short, simply binary ideas of God, faith, nationalism and militarism; to mention just a few of the syllables we so ‘humbly’ explored …



{rant}I really do not care what – you the Reader – believe. My only proviso is this: does what you believe lead you to not only compassion, but humility? The combination of the two inevitably confronts violence, whether dogmatic, intellectual or religious as unacceptable. In other words, if what you espouse, articulate, or preach can lead to dehumanising another person and – subsequently – rationalise depriving him/her of dignity our potential relationship has arrived at a ‘non-negotiable.’

As Christians, I believe that the UCC has spoken loudly and clearly in the past to a large audience that looked to us for direction. That denominational experience has created the illusion that we continue to be heard. The fact is that our voice has waned, specifically within the traditional media that regularly portrays dysfunctional, judgemental and – let’s face it – hate-filled voices that claim to speak normatively for Christianity. And {rant continues} we’ve allowed it to happen and we’ve moved (it sometimes seems) from speaking prophetically to a place of seeing the torture device upon which Jesus was fastened and executed as some intellectual puzzle or riddle to be worried, as opposed to a call to action in the world. When we do not speak up, put our bodies in the way to protect – LITERALLY – those who suffer marginalisation and oppression, we have not only stumbled, we’ve become complicit.{/rant}

Okay, I’m taking a deep breath. I realise that any rant is often just as much a gloss that over-simplifies and also can leave an impression of frustration. And though some of that may be true, the point is that I love this UCC institution for all its human failings and challenges. It is core to our history that we have spoken truth; we have stood in solidarity with those for whom human dignity has been diminished. Bill 18 and its intrinsic truths, grounded in secular and humanist ideas of human rights, resonates fundamentally with a Christian understanding of abundance and the blessings that all of us in our diversity are Beloved Children of God. And whenever voices – secular, ecumenical, and inter-faith friends – speak in tongues that wrap discrimination and intolerance in the guise of freedom then silent we must not be!

We walk into Holy Week, a dark week of truths dressed in shadows. This week for Christians resonates to the core of who we long to be … but Easter is not yet here and Christmas is long behind us. Though the crowds cheered upon Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem with palms waving, they would shortly turn from gaiety to discord. For those of us who endeavour to live into this discipleship there is great joy and bounty, but it is always grounded in the reality of eyes wide open to the suffering and adversity that humanity perpetuates upon the least. And – should we be so emboldened – standing in the place of suffering and adversity is a humbling invitation to be the Light for whom the Holy knows we are …

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2018-04-11T16:33:00+00:00March 24th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , , |

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