Sunday, October 23, 2011

A response to Anon

When I logged on this morning, I discovered that this post had generated one fairly fierce, accusatory comment, which I'm not about to repeat here - though it might be helpful for you to go and read it now, before continuing... You see, it contains a painful degree of truth, and so deserves a response - though I'm not generally happy to debate with someone who hides behind anonymity.


However, the point is well made.
I talked about all that we have and all that we are coming to us from a generous God - and was taken to task for having much, myself, while others have so little.It seemed to me that Anon was,   using the fact that I can have a comfortable life as a reason to question God's part in the whole - though I may be misreading him/her...I'd question the logic of that. Blaming God for the failures of God's children isn't going to get us anywhere much, I fear.


I'm more than willing to admit that I am less generous, more fearful, more focussed on scarcity than in my heart I would like to be. 
God provides enough for all, but we mostly (and yes, that most definitely includes this left-leaning, failing-more-often-than-not Gloucestershire vicar) forget to trust God's generosity. Instead we panic,we hang on to stuff for ourselves, hold back from being fully human, from being generous in response to God's generosity,- because this is a broken, messed up world, inhabited by broken messed up people. 


I ALWAYS preach stuff I NEED to hear... 
I don't speak from a position of superiority, thinking for a moment that I've got it sorted. I'm just holding up an ideal to which I want to aspire, and inviting others to consider whether they want to join me in trying to get it less badly wrong. I'm hoping that nobody assumes that preachers are speaking from a moral high ground.
Rather I'm preaching from a consciousness of my own failings, and my own need of God.
If I only preached about things that I had got right, I'd never ever enter the pulpit again...but I also think that I'd run the risk of offering bland words, with no roots in a real experience of faith and struggle.


Yes, I'm blessed to live in a beautiful place...though I longed to come to this particular spot because I was drawn to walk away from the privileged communities that had nurtured my vocation in the more recent past. 
But I don't think I need to apologise for my address, or even for the fact that I was able, for a few years, to make my home somewhere that embodied all my childhood dreams of a house in the country with an apple tree and a porch full of gumboots. I am thankful for that (though the struggle to make ends meet as a self-employed family living in a Georgian house with Georgian drafts meant that for several years charity shops were the only place that I could shop at all)...but I don't think it defines me. 


Well-intentioned but damaged, veering between faith and fearfulness, helpless and hopeful, aspiring to things I know I'm still far from managing...another child of God who needs bushels of grace just to get through...
That's the sort of definition I could own.

13 comments:

Simon Martin said...

Painful honesty, Kathryn.
Frankly, I don't feel you needed to respond at all to someone who posts anonymously, uses epithets like "fascist" and accuses you of lying.

Kathryn said...

Well, there was enough truth in Anon's accusations to make me feel I should engage...though if they persist in hiding behind anonymity, I won't have more to say to them

Rhys said...

treat yourself to an ipad as a reward and ban annonymous comments? and get the curate to cut the grass?

UKViewer said...

I responded to your blog post, because it struck a chord with me. I had no consideration on your personal situation, just reading an interpretation of God's word, which had expanded on a sermon I had listened to earlier.

I think that Simon is right, you don't have to respond to people who don't post with their details.

And, of course, your personal situation has nothing whatsoever to do with your calling and ministry. You serve, That's enough.

Christine McIntosh said...

Well done. But if it goes on in an anonymously adversarial fashion, I'd initiate comment moderation and freeze him/her out.

Still Breathing said...

Kathryn, Today as Helen and entered church we were given printed orders of service which turned out to be a little less than perfect. When the Director of Music asked us to turnto page 21 to practice a hymn Helen's copy went from p20 to p7! I took it back and exchanged it but found that the inner page in the replacement was printed upside down!!!! Amusing but usable.
When I told someone this after the service they laughed and said that it was typical of that church.
We all have our imperfections but God want s us to just get on with it.

God bless

Suem said...

It's not as though you sit around painting your nails and drinking champagne 24/7, is it? I think you work hard, serve others and don't need to apologise about who you are married to!

Perpetua said...

What you write is true of just about all of us in the comfortable developed world, Kathryn, so please don't be too hard on yourself. What you say about preaching what you too need to hear resonates strongly with me. If I didn't believe I was preaching to myself as at least as much as to my hearers I'd never preach again.

PS I too would advise you to ignore any further anonymous comments. I know Blogger makes it hard sometimes for people to comment properly, but they can always add their names at the end of their comment if the software is playing up.

Songbird said...

That Anon commenter worries me, K. Any chance this is someone who knows you? Either way, there's something personal--for that person--going on here. I agree with Simon.

serena said...

Kathryn, I am full of admiration for your grace-ful response to anonymous abuse; I have learned a little bit more today from you about how to live. God bless xXx

Mary Beth said...

What strikes me as bizarre is the inference that your husband is the home owner, not you.

And also the statement that he is a fascist, which has nothing to do with anything you might have to say.

I'm married to a conservative Republican, but I don't take licks for his views.

mmp said...

i've long loved this blog and was very sorry to see that comment

your generosity amazes me.....bless you...

Nancy Wallace said...

What a gracious response to Anon's ungracious comment. Yes indeed, we all need "bushels of grace just to get through". I find one of the biggest challenges of preaching is the realization that I don't practice what I preach as I should and my sermons have to be addressed to me as much as anyone else - never comfortable!