Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Herr Pope!

Before I get to the Pope, I have discovered that Bayou Boy wants to take me on for the glory of the South. All right, then. To arms, you cowardly ninny! You have the rank smell of elderberries!

On to the Pope! April Deconick updated her
post on the Pope and made some very important comments.

One of my favorite bloggers,
Madpriest, is from Newcastle Upon Tyne, which I have been informed is perilously close to Scotland. He has some fine posts about the Pope, whom he lovingly refers to as "Bennie."

Anglicans are more concerned about the Pope and his statements than the rest of us sinners. I suppose that Anglicans are still hoping to get more cozy with the "Italian Church" as Maddie calls it. I, of course, have no such dreams.

A story: When I served my first congregation in upstate New York, (isn't it pretty?),

our congregation participated with five others in the Lowville Council of Churches. This grand body consisted of the local Episcopal, Methodist, Mennonite, Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian churches.
We gathered to run the food pantry, the second-hand clothes store, and we gave turkeys to the poor on Christmas. We felt pretty proud of ourselves.

One day, a Mormon church moved in to our peaceful Christian village. I contacted the president of the stake, as it is called, and invited him, if he was interested, to participate in our august body. He thought it would be swell.

So, I presented the opportunity at our next board meeting. All hell broke loose. The local Baptist pope popped his veins and declared that the Mormons believed that Jesus's brother was Satan and other half-truths and bluster. He threatened that if the Mormons were allowed in to the club, the Baptist church would leave in a big snorty huff.

He wasn't the first bully I would meet nor the last. However, I still regret this to this day. After a bit of heated discussion, it appeared that others had reservations. Gosh, should we lose the Baptists for the Mormons? I was new in the ministry, perhaps two years or so, and after the fury, I withdrew my motion. I am a bit more plucky these days. Today, I would have forced a vote.

I didn't quite understand his problem. After all, I had to debase myself by sitting at the same table with my colleague, a damnable Arminian Methodist. But even he could figure out how to bring a can of beans to the food pantry.

The representative of the Catholic Church, Sister Mary, told her priest about the situation. He came to visit me the next day for consolation. I really liked him. I will never forget what he told me. He said, "You know, Mormons are just the same as Presbyterians. They are not Catholic."

That was incredibly freeing for me. Yet, opposed to the blustery Baptist (nothing against Baptists, just him), he was gracious enough to allow that my used skivvies were holy enough to be donated the thrift store as his.
Institutions are screwed up. The same reactionary nonsense occurs in every denomination. Thankfully, local people are still human.