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, June 03, 2010

Meaning of Life, Part 54

Thus I face a most painful question: Is the church an institution that I wish to save? Don Cupitt has advocated taking leave of God; is it now time to take leave of the church? Will it remain forever locked in theological contradiction and social irrelevance? Should I leave the dead to bury the dead or remain and fight my corner of the battle? Even if at some future date (and it could be decades hence) my church should, for example, allow gay priests to openly express their sexuality and permit radical theology to thrive again, is it worth the effort? Is it reasonable to give one's life to an organization that is always at least a generation behind the rest of the world's best and latest thinking?

It is an interesting dilemma. I oscillate between depression and hope. I am filled with despair by those who use religion as a force for evil, constantly manipulating it to ostracize or terrorize those who are different. I weep over those who use sacred texts as a battering ram to justify hatred and fear. I am continually perplexed by the hate-filled "lovers of Christ" who divide humanity into "us" and "them" More and more I identify with those on the margins of the church, with those who have left its embrace, and with those in centers, networks, and forums that combine doubt and uncertainty with reverence for life. I find more spiritual wonder in watching the sun set over the West Australian Ocean than in many liturgical services. And yet I have also met many fine fellow Christian travelers who love the Lord even as they share my frustration with a conservative and often narrow-minded institution.

And so I choose to stay the course...

Nigel Leaves, "A Journey In Life", When Faith Meets Reason: Religion Scholars Reflect on Their Spiritual Journeys, p. 37