Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"I Know My Own and My Own Know Me..."

In case you need another reason to follow The Daily Office: Sometimes, when you really need "a word," it's right there.

I needed a word this evening, after finding myself in yet another conversation with people who would rather leave a church than share it with people like me, and after reading human rights reports of individuals churches and governments alike worldwide who would like to amputate me, and other people like me, from the Body of Christ.

And here was the word:
I know my own and my own know me.

And so I am sharing this word with anyone reading who's ever felt as if he or she were being pushed out of the sheepfold, or denied entrance at the gate. And I am also sharing this word with anyone who feels that he or she has been designated an official sheep culler in the Reign of God.
I know my own and my own know me.

Artwork: "The Good Shepherd," Eric Gill


P.S. (an after-thought) said...

You do know that we are your sisters and bothers in Christ here. You share your heart in your blog, and we who read it know your heart, as does the Lord.

I haven't had the experience you mentioned; however, I felt I've been treated poorly on some "religious" blogs. I was surprised how bad I felt about myself after that happened until I realized that I know that I am a child of God and that is what counts. If someone else treats a fellow Christian like that, then they haven't really heard the message of Jesus.

One of our former pastors had the deepest faith and the most Biblical knowledge of just about anybody I've ever met. Because he had a faith that made him try to follow what Jesus said and because he had served around the world, superficially, he came across as "liberal." [As in "if you are a liberal you are not a Christian."] I got to know him well and I knew his faith was like a rock. It was sad that people couldn't see past their own biases.

LutheranChik said...

P.S. Thanks. And I can't help chuckling over the little typo in the first sentence...maybe that's "a word" too.;-)

RuthRE said...

You know what, a sermon that mentioned people "like you" was the last straw in my relationship with the LCMS.

I know half of the ELCA still has some things to work out too. I'm comfortable in the fact that the majority of the NE Synod has.

You are most certainly one of us sistah.

How people can try and put boundries on God's love....really.

Questing Parson said...

You're not alone in sometimes feeling excluded. I got an email a few weeks back from one who apparently was Jesus' first cousin. His words to me were: "Why don't you get out of the church you fag-loving preverter of the Christian faith."

I replied: "God loves you, too. And I'm trying."

Nicodemia said...

Thank you LC - I needed that word!

I admire Eric Gill's work, but I do think it unwise to have a sheep with those horns on your lap!

LutheranChik said...

Questing Parson: I always wonder what "Jesus' first cousins" think they're accomplishing -- if they think they're going to elicit some dramatic metanoia in the people they're verbally beating up ("Oh, thank you! Thank you for that! I've seen the light!"), or if they're just, in their minds, racking up points by being "on the record" with their bigotry -- so they can hand that card to the Almighty someday and say, "See? I bashed some queers and queer-lovers for ya, Lord!" (Standing in line with numerous Grand Inquisitors, witch hangers, etc.) Or are they even thinking at all, with anything but their lizard brains? I tend to go with Door Number 3.

Nicodemia: You know, that thought crossed my mind, too. Good thing it's a ram with curly horns and not one of those heirloom-breed sheep with double pairs of goat-like stick-up horns that go in all directions. I live not too far from a petting farm that has Jacob's cattle sheep -- they have four horns -- and I'm thinking I wouldn't want to get on the bad side of one of them.

LutheranChik said...

Ruth: I think that putting flesh and a face on the abstraction of "gays in the church" at least gives people pause. I note online that when I interrupt one of these "Ain't it awful" conversations by introducing myself as one of the reprehensible people they're talking about (especially if they're acquainted with my other online activity), there's a lot of silence and backpedaling and discomfort. And that's really all I'm looking for -- making them realize that they are talking about real people, real Christians; maybe the person who sits next to them in church each Sunday, or who serves them the Eucharist or who teaches Sunday School class. If I can get them at least to that point of raised consciousness/cognitive dissonance, then I call it a good day.

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

My son was looking on line for a different college to attend. He found one in a southern state, lets just say one hit by a number of hurricanes, that had the word Evangelical in the title and it was really inexpensive, so he made an inquiry. They contacted him with info. One of the items was a list of 50 rules that the students have to follow, which included boys wearing khaki pants, don't step on the grass, don't go into certain parts of town. Don't go to the beach without permission, etc. And of course, some code words for moral and righteous behavior.

Spouse and I and son discussed these things at home. We had tried to not be slanted against this place in our initial discussions, but it is hard to bit the tongue and talk intelligently at the same time. Son is a good boy with a deep faith, but he hates rules, so they give him pause. But he saw through the code words and was upset. I was proud of him, because previously he would spout the lingo that the other high school kids say.

My husband had the best line: I don't think Jesus would last two weeks at this school.

Andy said...

The Church is in troubling times (I guess it probably always is). My wife and I have recently decided to leave our congregation, largely because of confrontations with people who wouldn't want to share the church with "people like you", but in the end, I have to admit that I'm not terribly thrilled with sharing a church with people like them. And that attitude (mine) troubles me a bit.

I heard David Tiede give a talk once based on the idea that the Holy Spirit is a disruptive influence in the Church. (It was a lecture on Acts.) Disruption seems to be how God drags the Church through this kind of growth, but knowing that doesn't make it less painful.

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

This begs the question: What kind of people do we want to share a church with?

Sinless people? Pew-lump sitters? People who go to 5 Bible Studies per week but don't take any other actions (service)? People who don't volunteer for anything except putting on a new roof or making doilies for the bazaar? Only those "mature" in the faith? Only those who like the old forms of liturgy? Only those who like the newer Christian music, and like it LOUD? Only new converts who don't know the Bible so that others can tell them anything they want? Only people who believe in Creation by God in 7 days?

When I do the silent confession, I usually confess what I think is my biggest sin/trait: Self-righteousness. But then someone in our church made an (Loud) under-the-breath comment about certain types of people and their orientations, and if you just read the Bible, you would know what it says about those people.

So I did. I got out my Bible and looked up all sorts of stuff. And in the same paragraph St. Paul told me about some things I hadn't thought of in terms of sin, which is disrespect for my parents. Whoa. There are a whole list of things there that most of us see as sort of "normal" behavior. So why are we picking out one thing from the list?

Now I am trying to look at the other things I do that separate me from others and in so doing, separate me from God.

Andy said...

I guess it comes down to leading with the grace foot. I don't want to belong to a church that is run by people who don't lead with the grace foot. I'd like to say I'm willing to have the non-grace people in my congregation just so they aren't running the show, but I'm not sure that's true. I really don't want to affirm their right to that "opinion."

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Hi LC,

It is almost as bad as being a Christian in a UU church! LOL!

What you are experiencing must be painful on such a deep level. The God thing leaves us in such a vulnerable place... it is all the more painful when we are rejected. I have left Christian boards with my tail between my legs when they found out that I was:

a. a tarot reader
b. a universalist
c. not a bible literalist
d. not like them in some way

But I have also had to leave the big tent, giant umbrella of incredibly liberal religion because I was:

a. A christian

And I'll sit in discomfort in the body of Christ as long as I am, in fact, in the body of Christ. And I am glad you are in here with me!