As Shawn mentioned in his comment, he and I could be called obsessed with what is happening in the WWAC. We have our favourite blogs and forums and e-mail each other when we see something we think the other will find interesting. We try to get together every once in a while for coffee to share our concerns.
I’m quite excited as we finally have arranged coffee for Tuesday. We haven’t really been able to talk all summer and so much has happened in the last few weeks on the international front.
As well, Shawn is coming out with his people for a service in two weeks. I attended a workshop which he and another member led this summer – a Sacred Circle.
It’s strange how circle keeps coming back to me in so many ways. I remember when I struggled with the idea of the Trinity as triangle. I thought it was too limiting. Although I now understand the Triangle thing better (due in part to the Sayers course), I still think that it cause us to be too limited when trying to discern and understand God. I still like the circle better.
When in the first year Spirituality class, I did my report on Maria Harris’ Dance of the Spirit: the Seven Stages of Women’s Spirituality. The book speaks about Sarah’s Circle in contrast to Jacob’s ladder. When I envision community and church, I see Sarah’s Circle – an ever growing circle of dance and celebration: a circle where people are reaching out and holding hands but willing to let go and embrace all who come seeking: a circle expanding and expanding, and if room should become limited then circles within circles within circles.
Harris points out in her book that Jacob’s Ladder is limiting, hierarchal, and competitive. I guess that is what I see in the church today when we see what is happening with the threat of schism – and in all honesty I find it on both sides of the issue that appears to be the breaking point.
I remember back in our Church and Society class – there were four of us and Bill. I had chosen to present the seminar on Anglicanism in other parts of the world thinking I could broaden my horizons. I guess I was kind of naïve for I think I was actually looking for something along the lines of spirituality rather than structure and doctrine. I don’t know if the three who took that class remember, but as I was presenting the seminar I nearly broke down. I had seen ahead to exactly what is happening now. It was the first time in all my years in the Anglican Church that I had really understood how strong the danger was that we would become a divided communion. I remember Bill questioning me as to whether the Anglican Church was where I really wanted to be.
The Anglican Church as representing a broad spectrum is where I want to be. The Anglican Church as Sarah’s Circle is the one I embrace. The Anglican Church which narrowly defines membership is not a place where I can safely explore and deepen my understanding of the Creator. The Anglican Church as a Jacob’s Ladder is not one that I can embrace or feel embraced.
I think back to our fellowship around that table in the Common Room. I miss it. There were days when it just kept growing and growing. It included all who came to eat or for fellowship regardless of who they were or what they believed – some of the best discussions were when the Rabbi was present with Colin – a gift from Colin that I treasure greatly. Our table fellowship in that room was a gift treasured by the students from the other colleges as well.
And Theology 401. When we moved to the Faculty Lounge for that we once again sat in a circle that was forever expanding. There were times that we were even layered as people sat on the arms of other peoples chairs. There was no concern over who we were, what we did, or what we believed. We talked with whoever was beside us. We may not have always agreed, and some of us may have rarely agreed, but we continued sitting in that circle.
My hope is that the WWAC adopt something along the lines of Sarah’s Circle rather than a Jacob’s Ladder. I firmly believe that we will be all the healthier and richer for it.