Saturday, March 24, 2007

Mountains

I wonder if there's something in the air. I came upon two very fine -- but very different -- postings today, both featuring mountains, both speaking to me about perspective.

Caminante observes "We are Sisyphus" in our endless wranglings in the Anglican Communion over sexuality and power. The posting features a cool graphic of the figure pushing a rock up a mountain . . . only to have it slide back down again. You know the story.

Caminante's blog then offers a series of vignettes about Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was martyred 27 years ago today, shot with a single bullet that pierced his heart, while he celebrated a requiem mass. He lived these words:

Let us not tire of preaching love;
it is the force that will overcome the world.
Let us not tire of preaching love.
Though we see that waves of violence
succeed in drowning the fire of Christian love,
love must win out;
it is the only thing that can.
It is so easy to get caught up in what I've started calling Battlestar Anglicana. It is so easy to lash out at others, secure in the sense of the righteousness of our cause.

Rochester's Bishop McKelvey said of the recent House of Bishops meeting: "There was more agreement about major and significant things than I have felt for a long time. Such things as agreement that we can disagree and yet be of one heart, and that we have not been diligent to keep our squabbles out of the way of our call to ministry in God's mission." [emphasis mine]

Perspective. "Keeping the main thing the main thing," as Matt Currin counseled a while back.

I have a feeling that, when this is all over, we are all going to spend a long time on our knees in confession. Despite the time we already spend day by day confessing the "things known" and the "things done" that we already recognize as sin. We will eventually come to ourselves ... at least I hope so.

Then I turned to Dave Walker's site, where this image greeted me.


cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com


Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

This was welcome humor . . . but not entirely humor, is it? None of us knows how long we're going to be climbing this mountain. What if part of this struggle in Battlestar Anglicana is just because we're reacting to the illusion that somebody else is promulgating? What if it merely appears to be an impossibly long climb?

I'm reminded of a phrase I've been hearing ever since Presiding Bishop Katharine met with the Executive Council: "non-anxious presence." It sounds like her non-anxious presence was balm to the bishops meeting. And I'm reminded of the delightful comment by TEC staffer Jan Nunley quoted in USA Today, along the lines of "It's only an ultimatum if you let it be an ultimatum."

These two finds in the blogosphere today were "sermons" to me. The desire to "go smite somebody" is always close at hand on Battlestar Anglicana. But as often as I can, I recollect the baptismal covenant. A whole lot of folks on "my side of the aisle" have memorized these parts of the covenant:

Celebrant Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
People I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
People I will, with God’s help.

But those are only the last promises we make. We first have to answer these questions in the affirmative:

  • Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
  • Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?
  • Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?
  • Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior?
  • Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love?
  • Do you promise to follow and obey him as your Lord?

Sometimes I think that the folks accusing us of heresy and apostacy and of not even being Christians -- I think they forget that we have already made these fundamental promises.

And sometimes I need to remind myself of them, lest Battlestar Anglicana take over my life.

So . . . this has been a very long and rambling post. I need constantly to recall all the parts of my baptismal covenant. And I need to remember that this journey up the mountain may not be what some folks want to pretend it is.

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