Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What's My Motivation?

Murphy's Law -- a huge, icy storm system is bearing down on Michigan, due to hit when I'm supposed to drive two hours up north to my next lay ministry retreat. It sounds like a great retreat -- studying the Psalms with Lisa Dahill, author of Truly Present.

My initial reaction, however, upon hearing the increasingly hysterical weather reports: I'm not killing myself for the ELCA.

I don't think I have ever been less motivated to continue in this program...not only because of The Troubles in my denomination, but because I've discovered I just don't understand the why of my particular track within lay ministry; ironically, this hit home for me most acutely after our last "Skill Day," when a variety of synodical folks made pitches for various lay ministry options in the ELCA.

In my program, we have no mentoring except for group discussions with a program graduate; and some vague, secretive evaluation process that I am apparently not invited to be an active participant in. Apart from threats to make us sign the Visions and Expectations document, I don't understand what the qualifying competencies are for graduation, or whatever it is that we do when we're through. Maybe there aren't any. Maybe this is just the churchy equivalent of the adult enrichment classes down at the community college.

I get the feeling that no one really gives a damn. And I fear that the "no one" is soon going to include me.

Nothing Interesting to Say...So I'll Tell a Joke

How do you make holy water?

You boil the hell out of it.

[rim shot]

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Poetry Blogging

In mind of this Sunday's Gospel lesson...some thoughts on the devil , by Robert Burns.

Photo: Peter Cook in the original 1968 "Bedazzled," a devilishly clever film

Female Plumbing Update

(Too much information alert: If thinking about internal girly bits makes you queasy, read another post.)

Good news: The cystic ovary I've been worried about is fine; the cyst seems to have resolved.

Neutral news: My mack-daddy fibroid isn't doing anything -- but the doctor wants to watch it, and my uterine lining, more carefully. So I have another appointment with the ultrasound tech in another couple of months.

Needless to say, I was quite relieved this morning...but not totally. I'm still not feeling very friendly toward my reproductive system. And I'll be checking into alternative ways of improving my health -- diet and activity stuff.

But I shall, as Scarlett O'Hara would say, think about that tomorrow. Today, after my appointment -- my head pounding and my muscles actually sore from stress -- naps and chocolate were in order. I was beat.

Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers. They helped.

Friday Five: In Good Company

This week's RevGalBlogPals Friday Five:

Dante had Virgil as a guide. Before he had younger siblings, my oldest child had an imaginary friend named Patrick. Betsy had Tacy. Laura Ingalls depended on her brindle bulldog, Jack. All of them were companions on the way.

As we take the beginning steps of our journey through Lent, who would we take as a companion? Name five people, real or imaginary, you might like to have with you as guide or guardian or simply good friend.

That's a challenging question. And hard to narrow down. But I will try.

Fellow Traveler. FT -- and how I wish the Kristian haters could understand this -- is very much a thoughtful and supportive spiritual advisor. (She's also a very kindly kvetch when I procratinate activities like writing my Prayers of the Church when I'm on deck as AM on a Sunday.) And she's excited about going through Lent with me. We're serious about being accountability partners. So she's definitely coming along with me.

My pastor. My pastor is a very laid-back, chambray-shirted, blue-jeaned fellow whom I suspect, deep down, has a spiky, high-up-the-candle alter ego. I remember, back when I was in school and he was a campus pastor, wandering into church one weekday and finding him saying Noon Prayer all by himself in the sanctuary. He invited me to join him. "If anyone's in the building, I invite them in," he explained. I think he'd be a good Daily Office companion; and he always enjoys general Godtalk.

My online friends. Okay. I'm cheating. I can't pick just one. I appreciate the wisdom, humor, friendship and moral support of all my online friends.

My maternal grandmother. I never really knew my grandmother -- she died when I was about two -- but what I know of her is that she was a very spiritual, very intellectually curious, very creative woman whose life parameters were constrained by a stepmother worthy of a Grimm fairy tale who yanked her out of grade school at age 10 to work as a domestic, and later by an unhappy marriage and life of sickness and financial hardship. My grandmother wanted her children and grandchildren to be educated and to travel; to be creative; to do all the things she'd wanted to do in her own life. I suspect that she would be delighted by my lay ministry training, and would want to join me on a Lenten spiritual journey.

Julian of Norwich. I just like her. My impression, after I'd read her Revelations of Divine Love for the first time, was that Julian is in no way a "plaster saint," but a very earthy, accessible woman -- someone to do theology with around a tea table. A boon Lenten companion, I think.

I'm going to cheat again. I'd also like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, someone for whom the way of the Cross was a reality that ultimately cost him his own life, to walk with me; to help me move beyond a comfortable, complacent Christianity.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Sometimes Lent and its disciplines remind me of a little kid, staying after school, resignedly writing line upon line of shaky cursive on a classroom blackboard: "I will not run with scissors...I will not run with scissors...I will not run with scissors..." (Or insert your favorite infraction.)

That is, I think, what I and maybe others tend to turn Lent into -- a kind of half-hearted, doomed-to-fail exercise in trying to cross out line items in our personal lists of breadcrumb sins: We don't pray enough. We eat too much. We get too angry too often.

My pastor said something in his sermon last night that gave me an "aha" moment. He said that maybe the metanoia, the turning, we need to make isn't about chump-change stuff like this...but rather a turning away from the practical atheism that runs the world and, too often, our own lives; the delusion that the cosmos is no bigger than the circumference of our own comfort and happiness, our own success, our own cleverness or effort, our own perception of reality.

Instead of remaining inward-turned, like a dark star imploding on itself -- metanoia is a turning outward, to God and to one another, so that in the words of the old Shaker song we "turn around right."

Artwork: "Blue" by Catherine Jo Morgan

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Just In Time For Ash Wednesday...

Your Deadly Sins
Gluttony: 60%
Sloth: 60%
Wrath: 40%
Greed: 20%
Envy: 0%
Lust: 0%
Pride: 0%
Chance You'll Go to Hell: 26%
You'll die from a diabetic coma.

Paczki Versus Pancakes...

...and the winner is PANCAKES. Nice, fat, cakey, buttery ones with the tiniest hint of sweetness.

Enfleshed Existence

I've got to tell you, I'm doing some hating on my body right now.

As I mentioned before, I got a message from my GYN to keep an appointment this Friday that we had agreed to cancel if my pelvic ultrasound was looking normal. I keep telling myself that if this were something really serious I would have received an immediate summons by phone; that this must be something less critical but still necessitating a talk with the doc.

But I'm afraid.

And I'm angry. I'm angry at my body for letting me down...for letting me down most of last year...for letting me down despite my good-do-bee, responsible six-month checkup and annual female spelunking regimen.

I came up in the Our Bodies, Ourselves era. I'm supposed to love my body, love my reproductive system, feel empowered reveling in it and caring for it. Theologically, I'm supposed to cherish my enfleshed existence as a good gift of God; to reject the concept that our bodies are "icky" and an impediment to our relationship with God.

But right now I really hate my body, especially my internal gynecological pieces-parts -- my fibroid-studded uterus, my cystic ovary, my incorrectly carbonating hormones. I hate having to think about them and worry about them; I hate the pills I have to take to make them operate in a marginally normal fashion. I feel like telling my doctor, "Just rip the whole damn thing out of me right now." Honestly, if I could do it myself I would, at this point.

Lenten Reading

On the book table: Faith Beyond Resentment by James Alison and Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Poetry Blogging

A belated poem in honor of Valentine's Day, courtesy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Friday Five: Trippin' Out Edition

This Friday the RevGals and Pals want to take us on a trip...

What is one place you make sure to take out-of-town guests when they visit? (you can be vague to preserve your anonymity if you like)
Outer Podunk and surrounds really don't have much in the way of "must see" destinations. If I were entertaining a citified friend I would take her or him "Amishing," driving past Amish farms and visiting Amish-run businesses. Depending on the season and on my visitor's disposition, I might also take them on a hike in the woods or on a fishin' expedition on one of our many lakes.

When visiting another city or town, do you try to cram as much in as possible, or take it slow and easy?
If it's my first time there I tend to be in "cram" mode; if it's place with which I'm familiar, and that I can get to fairly frequently, I'll slow down.

When traveling, where are we most likely to find you: strolling through a museum, checking out the local shopping, or _________________?
I do like museums, art galleries, historical sites, scenic overlooks and such. I also like (here's a surprise) interesting restaurants, so you'll probably find me at one of those too during the course of the day. And I'm not above stopping at cheesy tourist traps, disreputable looking small-town junk emporia, and so forth. (One of my coworkers relates stopping, en route to somewhere else, a farm equipment store out in the toolies of northern Michigan to look for a machine part. When he entered the building he was greeted by a table made from a cable spool, a couple of chairs, a coffeemaker and a crockpot abubble with an enticingly aromatic stew. Turns out that the owners would come in every day with a crockpot full of food for their own lunch and for anyone else who happened to stop in. My friend said it was one of the best casual dining experiences he's ever had.)

Do you like organized tours and/or carefully planned itineraries, or would you rather strike out and just see what happens?
"I vant to be alone." (With Fellow Traveler and/or maybe a friend or two.)

After an extended trip, what do you find yourself craving most about home?
I tend to be "wired" on trips -- total body clench, even if I'm having a good time. So I crave crawling into my not-fit-for-public viewing lounge pants and hoodie, sinking into my sofa with a good cup of coffee and a blankie, and relaxing.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Three Yikes and You're Out

Maybe it's because we had so much fun with our decadent wine-and-cheese nosh Fellow Traveler got a call from one of our church ladies (for some reason I just don't think of myself as a church lady) informing us that, sometime last summer, we had signed up as volunteer cooks for the folks helping build our new sanctuary...and we were being assigned KP duty this Saturday. Twenty mouths to feed. After some instant-message consultation we found ourselves headed in the direction of meatball subs, tossed salad and brownies, with substantial help from our dear friends at Gordon Foods. Even so...yikes.

Meanwhile I just finished baking six dozen oatmeal cookie bars for my raffle winners -- half filled with Amish strawberry-rhubarb jam and half filled with the apple butter made at our church fundraiser this fall. Six dozen cookies -- because I got behind last month -- yikes.

And...late this evening I found a quiet moment to open my mail. One letter was from my healthcare provider. Earlier this month I'd gotten a second ultrasound of my female innards, and the deal was that if everything was swell I could cancel my next office appointment. There were no results given on the form, but a note from my doctor not to cancel my appointment. Yikes.

I'm going to bed now.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cheesy Stuff

It's okay -- I'm not spilling the beans by describing Fellow Traveler's and my planned Valentine's Day dinner -- a wine-and-cheese party for two featuring a top-drawer northern Michigan Riesling and an inexpensive but allegedly decent sherry, a meandering cheese trip around Europe and assorted fruit, crackers and nuts to go with. Ah....foodie love.

But we shouldn't be the only ones to enjoy the pleasures of good cheese. And we have some good ones right here in Michigan -- even though, sadly, it is incredibly hard for Michiganians to find and purchase our own artisanal cheeses. (As in many other aspects of life here, we just can't seem to get our act together to promote ourselves as a state worth working in, visiting or even buying food from.)

Here are two cheeses I really love, that I hope to one day include in some sort of "made in Michigan" feast, that you may want to consider purchasing by mail order if you too are a foodie:

I was introduced to Boon cheese when I lived in that area many years ago. As you can see, Boon cheese has a story -- one of those true stories, part of which may actually have happened. In any case, the Boon Store is a tiny little party store pretty much in the middle of nowhere; the cheese is cut by hand, wrapped in brown paper and tied up with butcher string, just like in the old days. The extra sharp cheese is sooooo rich and sooooo good that you can really only enjoy it in tasty little increments.

Blackstar Farms is a winery/creamery/bed-and-breakfast up in the Leelanau Peninsula. The owners, trained in the Old Country, make a really wonderful raclette cheese that I had the pleasure of tasting a couple of years ago during a solo adventure trip to that part of the state.

I hope I've inspired you to put together your own cheese tasting, for friends or just for a special someone, and to explore your own region's small-batch cheeses. Smile and say...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Best Coffee

Attention, fellow caffeine heads: The best coffee in the whole world, in my humble opinion, is Just Coffee's Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. It is soooooooooo good...goes down like liquid velvet. And Just Coffee is a Fair Trade company, so your purchase helps small growers in Ethiopia earn a living wage. It's a little spendier than supermarket coffee, but well worth it. Check out the Just Coffee website for information on where/how to purchase its coffees.

I See London, I See France...

Fellow RevGalBlogPal Mindy is calling on fellow bloggers and friends to remember women at their local women's center this Valentine's Day by participating in Pantypalooza...which you can do simply by donating new women's underwear, in any size, and comfort items like scented shampoos and lotions and such, to your local center.

I did this last year...showed up at my local women's shelter office with a shopping bag filled with Haines of various sizes and sample-size toiletries. The staff was quite surprised, and I got some quizzical looks as I started to explain the principle of Pantypalooza...but they really appreciated the gifts. It's a good thing to do.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Isn't It Ironic?

After reading about Pastor Brad Schmeling being removed from the ELCA pastorate because of his committed same-sex relationship, I attended a workshop on church vocations where we were told, "Remember that God doesn't call the qualified -- God qualifies the called."

Too bad that the ELCA doesn't really believe this.

Artwork: Prayer weaving in support of Pastor Schmeling

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Five: The Singer and the Song

The RevGalBlogPals' Friday Five this week is all about "music, music, music":

If I could sing like anyone, it would be some honey-toned alto girl singer -- someone like Rosemary Clooney. And that would be true of sacred music as well, only without the pop-py part, of course -- give me the lower register.

I would love to sing the song "Night and Day," or another pop classic of that era.

It would be really cool to sing at a classy piano bar -- if, of course, I could sing. It would also be really cool to lead chant in worship. One of my life goals is to be able to chant Psalms in a competent way; while I can hold a tune, I can't read music, or even read pointing very well, so I just have three or four Psalm tones embedded in my memory via osmosis. I know I could probably pull off chanting in a small-group worship setting, in a friendly crowd, but I don't have the guts to try that. Yet.

If I could sing a dream duet it would be with k.d. lang, maybe.

If I could sing on a TV or radio show, it would be: I can't imagine any television show I'd particularly want to sing on, in my Walter Mitty fantasy of singing competency, unless I had a cameo as a nightclub chanteuse on Ugly Betty, my favorite network show. It might be fun to be a guest on Prairie Home Companion, though, and even get a bit part in a Guy Noir skit.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

So Vain...

What are my Lenten disciplines this year? Fasting? Praying more? Assigned reading?

Actually, one is pretty mundane. Childish, even, maybe.

I need to clean up the profanity, the taking of the Lord's name in vain, that regularly spews from my potty mouth.

This morning, for instance. I was in a hurry, running late, trying to clean up the passenger side of my vehicle before I took it to the tire guy. I tend to sort through my mail in my car, which means I collect piles of cable-company fliers, solictations from countless charities, catalogs and other postal dreck. Anyway, I was trying to scoop the detritus out of the car, and it kept falling out of my hands onto the garage floor, and soon I found myself cursing the junk mail.

That's the usual m.o. -- cursing inanimate objects when they don't do what I want or expect them to. I regularly call God's wrath down on my molasses-slow computer, for instance, and my frustratingly primitive dialup connection. If God took this seriously my laptop would have been reduced to a flattened, blackened puddle of plastic and circuitry long ago.

And that's the stupid thing about petty profanity. Do I really want God to damn my slow computer, my dropped junk mail sopping up muddy slush on the garage floor, the dog bone I just stubbed my toe on? What does that even mean? And why does it flow so quickly and easily from my lips?

I don't like it. I don't want to do it anymore.

Blessings and Woes

I'm not on deck at church this coming Sunday -- I'll just be sitting in my civvies in the pew -- but I've been reading various commentaries on the Gospel lesson, Luke's version of the beatitudes and their attendant woes. An increasingly favorite "makes you think" website for such stuff is Pastor Dan Bollerud's Grace Notes -- check it out.

I also appreciated a comment by Mary Hinkle Shore, in Pilgrim Preaching , where she notes that addressing this text strictly from a socioeconomic point of view, and in a way that "guilts" the majority of relatively affluent listeners while unintentionally marginalizing (yet again) the poorer members of our congregations -- We Americans are the rich and privileged; woe unto us -- isn't particularly helpful; that it creates a kind of non-Gospel dead end. She suggests framing the text in a way that emphasizes the underlying message that, when God's Reign breaks through, everything changes -- how we relate to God and the world and one another -- the status quo is blown away.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Wanted: Picks For Flicks

The other night Fellow Traveler and I watched Millions, an English film by the director of Trainspotting that was recommended by a RevGalBlogPal. The movie follows the adventure of an imaginative young boy -- the kind of kid who can build a castle from a stack of packing boxes, who's on dropping-in-on terms with the saints he reads about in his Six O'Clock Saints storybook -- who's just experienced the loss of his mother and a move to a new community, who finds himself the sudden possessor of a gym bag filled with English pound notes. The dilemma? The U.K. is switching over to Euros at the start of the new year, and he has very little time before the pound notes become worthless. Is the sudden presence of the bag a miracle? How should he spend the money? Is it wrong to spend it at all? Should he follow his heart or listen to his jaded and acquisitive older brother? It's a very engaging, charming movie that we'd both highly recommend. (And it did rate a wet hankie from me toward the end...with the disclaimer that many, many things can make me cry, including Hallmark Hall of Fame features and those new Pedigree commercials featuring the sad-eyed incarcerated canines and poignant voice-over, "I know that I am a good dog." )

Anyway...we are in the market for recommendations of good films that are uplifting, inspiring, funny, and/or somewhat off the beaten path. Any "small films" aficionados reading this...Netflix-queue suggestions welcome!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure...

Sitting here in the middle of subzero, zero-visibility, blizzard-hit mid-Michigan, mourning the demise of our cancelled Superbowl party while dog-sitting three stir-crazy canines...we needed a giggle.

Here's a great one , courtesy of my Canadian friend Dan at Culture Choc. I want a phone call from this lady too!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Molly Ivins: R.I.P.

I was so sad to hear of columnist Molly Ivins' death, from breast cancer, this week.

Ivins was one of those writers who could make me laugh out loud, sometimes in embarrassing places like waiting rooms and crowded bookstores. I generally agreed with her politics, but I think that even if I didn't I would have appreciated her ability to express her opinions with both wit and a genuine affection for the persons and institutions she regularly skewered.

Ivins has over the years authored so many great quotes that it's hard to pick just one to post here in instead I'll direct you to a wonderful collection of them, right here .

Rest in peace.

Friday Five: Ch-ch-ch-changes

Change is the only constant in this week's RevGalBlogpals Friday Five:

Share, if you wish, the biggest change you experienced this past year.
Losing a parent -- and in doing so losing both parents; becoming what a friend of mine calls an "adult orphan" -- was by far the biggest change that I experienced this past year. It was a change that shook my bearings in all aspects of my life; that sent me spiraling into a depression; that impacted me physically as well as emotionally, in serious ways.

But, ironically, my loss eventually led me to another, profound, positive change in my life: finding myself living into partnership after a life of singlehood.

Thinking about this, I think of what I heard once about the Chinese character for the word "crisis" being formed from the characters representing "danger" and "opportunity."

Talk about a time you changed your mind about something, important or not.
Karl Rahner's cleverly snide comment about mysticism "beginning in mist (or Mist, for you German speakers out there) and ending in schism" used to resonate with me -- until I had my own life-altering numinous experience.

Oh...and on a less profound note: I used to despise winter squash. I refused to eat it...well into my 30's. Now I love it. Go figure.

Bishop John Shelby Spong wrote a controversial book called "Why Christianity Must Change or Die." Setting aside his ideas--what kind of changes would you like to see in the Church?
Let's much bandwidth will Blogger let me use?...

Seriously: I think that one of the most important changes I would like to see in the Church -- in Christianity as a whole, as well as in my own church body -- is the recovery of a sense of celebrating the Mystery. I think that ending the trivialization of worship and practice is of vital importance. This is such a big issue for me personally that I have a hard time containing my thoughts in coherent sentences. But I want to worship in an atmosphere that isn't like a university lecture, that isn't like being in the audience of "Let's Make a Deal," that isn't like some quasi-spiritual community singalong with bits of Scripture and sermonizing thrown in. And I suspect that I am not the only one with this longing for more depth in worship; more attention paid to worship; more education at all age levels to help people enter into the worship experience in a mindful, reverent way.

That's one meta-change.

Just speaking to my denomination: I wish its official policies would change in a direction of affirming persons like Fellow Traveler and myself as equal members of the Body of Christ, called to live in and serve the Church just like the other members of the priesthood of all believers, and not as some distasteful, semi-tolerated hangers-on, and that it would stop slandering the goodness of our committed relationships.

Have you changed your hairstyle/hair color in the last five years? If so, how many times?
Well, I know this is a serious "don't" among the fashion forward...but I haven't changed my hairstyle since I was in college. And I don't plan on it, either. During my pre-midlife 30-something crisis I did briefly covet red hair, rather than my own basic brown, but thank heavens that feeling has gone away.

What WERE they thinking with that New Coke thing?
It's called working in a committee -- where sometimes the most chowderheaded ideas suddenly seem...good.

The best Coke I ever drank, by the way, was when I was a child, tagging along with my dad on his frequent trips to the local grain elevator. Grain elevators are fascinating places for children -- at least they were back in the day when kids were given fairly free rein to roam. The elevator smelled of dust and mineral blocks and the molasses that was mixed into feed; I can smell it right now, in fact, in my imagination. The office of our grain elevator, which also sold veterinary supplies to farmers, held a jar containing a pickled tapeworm; sometimes people would bring in boxes of puppies or kittens to give away; there was a rack of colorful horse tack and dog collars and leashes that I used to like to play with. Sometimes I'd get to ride in the cab of our truck when it went up on the lift that tipped the grain out of the box into a cavernous holding area below the floor -- a brief, stomach-dropping thrill, like a midway ride. Sometimes I'd watch the grinding machinery in action, or squint my eyes and follow the swirling dust motes' travels through the beams of light pushing between the wall boards. But whenever we went, my dad would give me a quarter for a Coke, from an old machine stuck in a dark corner. I loved the green glass; the curve of the bottle; the coldness of it on hot summer days; the exotic spiciness of the taste; the sting of the carbonation. The deal was that I had to split the Coke with my father; so that's what we did. Coca-Cola has never tasted the same since.

Friday Poetry Blogging

Like John Cougar Mellencamp, I was born in a small town; I was raised in a small town.

That small town is Outer Podunk, in fact; I am a returnee -- one of the hometown kids who couldn't wait to leave as soon as possible, who nonetheless found her way back.

Sometimes a small town is, like Mellencamp's song says, "good enough for me." Sometimes, to the contrary, what I want to do is flee.

Here is a poetic meditation on "The Truth About Small Towns" .

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Godtalk, Grace and Anxiety Management

My blogpal Mark recently posted on the dilemma of congregational resistance to inclusive language for God .

I myself, when I write prayers or sermons, try to avoid unrelenting male language and imagery for God. So far I haven't encountered any negative reaction to this. But I recall, awhile back, attending a retreat where one of our pastor-mentors gave an impassioned plea for inclusive language. Looking around the room at my fellow retreatants, I saw narrowed eyes, thinned lips, a throbbing neck vein or two, and thought, "Uh-oh...this isn't going well." And, indeed, when it came time for lay participants to join in extemporaneous prayer, it seemed that many people deliberately, contrarily chose masculine invocations and pronouns.

Why this reaction -- even when people are shown non-male images of God directly from Scripture, even when it's explained to them that the language used in the Judeo-Christian tradition to describe God is essentially male-default language -- because it was developed in a patriarchal context, but also because we don't have adequate nouns and pronouns to describe a God who is bigger than our human constructs of gender -- whose character encompasses the best of what we tend to assign to one gender or the other?

Thinking about this yesterday, as I responded to Mark's post, I was reminded of something my pastor had said to me one day as we were talking about ministerial stuff. "A large part of pastoring," he told me, "is just anxiety management."

Is resistance to inclusive Godtalk a symptom of internalized sexism? Probably in part. Is it an attempt to retain comforting words and images from our early religious life? Maybe. Is it a natural reaction to rewording of liturgy and hymns that can be jarring or awkward? Sure. But I suspect that part of the resistance is grounded in fear.

I think that a lot of us, at heart, have a hard time believing that God loves us and means us well. I think that, deep down, a lot of us fear that not saying the right words or thinking the right thoughts about God will cause God to reject us. Like our pagan ancestors who worried about appeasing their capricious and demanding deities through acceptable rituals and sacrifices and incantations, we harbor a similar primal anxiety, even if we can't articulate it. And stress over inclusifying the language of worship is just one example; we inclusive folk have our own set of anxieties about God that suggest God's grace is contingent on our doing or saying or thinking "right" things.

Sometimes I think the good news of a God who loves us, who in Christ has redeemed us and who calls us into a relationship with God that allows us to live and love boldly, is just too good for us to believe.