Friday, November 05, 2004

Was I foolish enough to describe myself as irrepressibly upbeat?? Oh well…….asking for it, I guess.
Today I’m anything but, having just returned from our monthly ecumenical lunch with the leaders of the other Christian churches here. We meet for prayer and brief discussion before repairing to the excellent Fair Trade Coffee Shop attached to the Baptist Church…nothing too awful there, you might think. I arrived late, to find them in mid discussion of the US election results in the light of Micah
"Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly…" you know the one. Initially, they expressed disquiet about Iraq and about Kyoto, and about the apparent assumption that "God bless America" equals a divine mandate in favour of global dominance. That’s alright, then…
Suddenly, the mood changed as first one and then another commented that, despite all this, Bush’s re-election was a Good Thing. Why?? For the very reasons that so many people on the boards are expressing hurt and rejection…his representation of "Christian values" as expressed in his stance on abortion and on gay rights. Usually, when the evangelical churches are waving a particular flag, the RC priest is a real ally, but this time he toed the party line and applauded Bush’s pro-life policies.I felt completely alone, and, still more depressing, I failed in the courage of my convictions, and challenged nothing. When we moved into prayer, I did ask that God would give us all, leaders and voters alike, the grace of humility, to recognise when we were wrong and to repent, to turn in a new direction. It's not good to realise that my colleagues in ministry here would dismiss me as unChristian if they understood my views on these issues. Worse still, however,is the feeling that by saying nothing I have betrayed myself and my friends for the sake of a comfortable life
Not Good News, in any sense of the world.


Rhys Morgan said...

Yes - strange, certain Anglicans who I work closely with and am accountable too think his election was a good thing because of his faith stance and certainty. Nuance - nasty French word - and the french are cheese eating surrender monkeys don't you know- Bush does Shock and Awe not nuance.

Ecumenical lunches .... the lunch part sounds good! When you've been to enough of them you'll be able to speak up and give them the Kathryn F shock and awe theology. Keep us informed

Humble Secretary said...

Oh dear.

First things first, get Jack to pour you a large G&T Jack-style (Jack's G&Ts are Gs without the T). Go on - you know you want to.

Remember that sometimes it is better to remain silent on a matter as the best answers and things to say always come too late. You have my deepest sympathies regarding the fear that if the other clergy knew your views they would regard you as unchristian. But my very strong feeling is that had you said something, then the whole point of ecumenism (what is the word) would be less about God and more about abortion, homosexuality etc. It is about losing the small battles to win the bigger battle.

But yes it is so lonely being in room full of people who think so differently from you.

How does that gin taste.

steve said...

i will remind you again that you are the subversive plant ... the sleeper agent ... you stay in place and you win their trust and slowly but surely as they get to know you and you gently comment about this that and the other maybe you will slightly shift thinking and attitudes

ask yourself this question ... would that same room full of people respond well if i was to visit and share a few opinions and thoughts ... they need someone like you ... it will take a while but you need to remind yourself that you are in this for the long game

slowly slowly catchy evangelical :)