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!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Episcopal Priest is Defrocked for Being Muslim Too

I found the following story disturbing. An Episcopal priest has been defrocked because she is both a Christian and a Muslim. Her path is interesting. Check it:

The Episcopal Church has defrocked Ann Holmes Redding, the Seattle Episcopal priest who announced in 2007 that she is both Christian and Muslim.

Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island, who has disciplinary authority over Redding, informed the priest of her decision in a letter today.

Wolf found Redding to be "a woman of utmost integrity and their conversations over the past two years have been open, honest and respectful," according to a press release from the Diocese of Rhode Island.

"However, Bishop Wolf believes that a priest of the Church cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim."

"I am very sad," Redding had said Tuesday. "I'm sad at the loss of this cherished honor of having served as a priest."

She also said she was sad at what seems to her to be a narrow vision of what the church accepts.

Redding, who had formerly served as director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral on Capitol Hill, announced in June 2007 that for more than a year, she had also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Muslim prayers moved her profoundly.

It was an announcement that perplexed many, though Redding said she didn't feel a need to reconcile all the differences between the two faiths, believing that at the most basic level they are compatible.

I think that there is no more pressing religious issue than finding points of connection between Christianity and Islam especially as there are forces in the world that want to escalate the tensions by promoting a "clash of cultures."

Rev. Redding is doing good work. I admire her. I don't see the problem with being both a Christian and a Muslim. We hold different identities together all of the time.

One could argue that a bigger paradox is being Christian and American. How can we hold loyalties to Jesus Christ, the prince of peace, at the same time as we hold loyalties to a military Empire that thinks nothing of starting wars all over the globe and whose 4% population consumes 25% of the world's oil?

Or how can we be Christian and capitalist? How we can hold loyalty to Christ who told us the kingdom of God belonged to the poor while holding loyalty to an economic system that scorches Earth, exploits the most vulnerable, and increases the gap between the rich and the poor?

Being Christian and Muslim is an easy one for me.

Religion in its institutional form remains in the dark ages.

Rev. Redding is showing us the way out.