Saturday, July 14, 2007

Past Reflections

A few things have come up recently that has me thinking about how we learn to get along in our diversity (a diversity to be celebrated rather than seen as a problem). I went back to my original posts which explain the title of this blog.

Setting It Up and "Sarah's Circle" .

These are how I understand a way forward for the church. I realize that there are some problems with the vision - these ways very much reflect my own theology and may not resonate fully with those whose theology differs. I do welcome that diversity, though.

I am happy to see that we are starting to look at the healing of relationships among us. That we are starting to look at how to come together and share in our diversity. So far, in my own personal little world this is happening in two separate spaces - one I posted about a couple of posts down and another that is also in the planning stage that I have been asked to help in setting up the way in which we can dialogue in a safe and welcoming space. I hold hope that it is may no longer be a matter of proving who is right and who is wrong but rather that our focus will be how we can live and work together as people of God. In this diocese this is both a movement from the "powers that be" and from the local clergy. I do note the lack of the grassroots in this last statement but in all honesty if my congregation is anything to go by, one of the major ways that living with diversity becomes an issue is if the priest makes it an issue, which I refuse to do and work hard to bring acceptance and respect of all healthy differences.

I do value my time at seminary and the relationships that were formed there as well as the relationships that continue as we move further away from that space. To some extent, it anchors me as learn and grow in my own ministry and the relationships with the various members of the expanded community.

My first year at seminary I was "thrown to the lions", "burned at the stake", and "tarred and feathered" but never was I "crucified" or more formally excommunicated (although this latter was mentioned). And, with the exception of the "excommunication", what was done was done with good humour and caring as we learned to live with our differences - and let's face it, I certainly relished being different and fostering those reactions. Our discussions, although at times serious and intense, always left room for the fact that we did truly care about each other. If one of us was in crisis, all would be there for them. I find that in my congregation - if one is having diffculty all are there for support and none more so than those who usually disagree. I love watching the dynamics of the different relationships, some of which amaze me because of how different the individuals are. I know that there is hope if only we can put our individual selves and our own need to be right and affirmed by all aside and start to listen and care with each other.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

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