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I CAN DEAL WITH AN IMPERFECT CHURCH
March 2, 2007
 
How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen
gathers her brood under her wings
and you were not willing!
Luke 13:34

I haven't written my pithy, quotable essay on the Anglican Primates
meeting in Tanzania yet. I want to write it, but I keep thinking of
things that slow me down. Not indecision about the disagreement at
hand -- I'm not in doubt about the rightness of everyone being fully the
person God intends, whether in marriage or ministry. My own life has
been too rich with the blessings of friendship with far too many gay,
lesbian, bisexual or transgendered people to turn my back on them now.

The notion of holding back on the respect my heart and my head both
prompt toward them "for a season" sticks in my craw, mightily -- it is
one thing to ask me to sacrifice my own desires, quite another to ask
me to offer up the rights of someone else.

For if we "fast" from ordaining any more gay bishops, or from joining
Christians in same-sex unions, the fast will not fall equitably on all
of us here in the Episcopal Church. Both John Bauerschmidt and Tom
Briedenthal, both of whom I respect and admire, could proceed with
their consecrations as planned. The straight weddings I have on my calendar could prceed. None of those people would have to sacrifice a thing. My GLBT sisters and brothers would pick up the tab alone.

And yet. And yet. There is Bp. Katherine with her confidence in God's
presence, so evolutionary in character; she takes a very long view.
Wants us to be around to influence and be influenced by sisters and
brothers who disagree with us. Knows that nothing lasts forever, not this anguish and not anything else.

There is Jesus, with his 70x7 forgiveness, his turning of the other
cheek, his silent witness as he pays the penalty for his civil
disobedience. He paid it himself, of course. Didn't ask anyone else
to take his place.

I will not violate the dignity of anyone in order to please anyone
else. I won't acquiesce in such a thing, either, without naming it
for what it is. I also won't insist that others agree with me as a
condition of my continuing to relate to them. I won't absent myself
from the table. Those who cannot endure my presence there will have
to eject me, because I'm not leaving on my own.

I can deal with an imperfect Church -- been doing it all my life. And
the Church has dealt kindly with all my errors, which go back as far as
my baptism. I love its largeness, love its embrace of the world, and
want it to remain worldwide. If it does not, I will be waiting for the
day in the future when, this present pain in the past, we reunite with
those we have lost, and try to explain to our grandchildren just why
all this happened.
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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