Monday, April 25, 2005

A Vacation, of sorts.

Apparently I’m supposed to be on vacation today. Yesterday was a vacation Sunday for me, so I preached in a neighbouring church where my wife serves as the unofficial interim pastor. Then I slept all afternoon. Drank beer. Watched a movie, the Simpsons, then went to watch TV at a local pub.

My wife and kids are visiting the in-laws in Edmonton. So I’m a bachelor again. The house is a mess. Pizza boxes and beer cans scattered around the house.

I hate vacations. I’m bored out of my tree. So I thought I’d catch up on my blogging.

Yesterday, this appeared in the local paper. Pulled from the Anglican Journal.

Damn.

I’ve been trying to keep The Issue off the radar screen of the congregation until some time in June when I’ll talk about the motion on Same Sex Blessings (SSB) before our National Convention in late July. Even discussing about the motion will cause division in the congregation just as we are beginning the initial phases of a building program preceded by a capital campaign. Not to mention amalgamation talks with two other Lutheran churches in the Lethbridge area. One of which, has threatened to pull out of the ELCIC and join the Lutheran Church - Canada, if the National Convention passes the motion regarding SSB.

So, it feels like future plans hinge on the outcome of the Convention.

One of our bishops apparently conceded that the Church "will be smaller" after the convention, no matter what the outcome. Both sides are deeply entrenched. The debate has been framed as social justice vs biblical authority.

Many in my congregation, who believe that social justice arises from biblical authority, feel like they are given a false choice. Some are conservative on The Issue but are also caring and compassionate. They decry the hate-filled rhetoric being spit by some very conservative pastors. We also have some very liberal parishioners who are uncomfortable with the ease with which the word "homophobe" is being thrown around.

But I fear the rhetoric will heat up as the convention creeps closer. The biggest loser in this fight may be the gospel itself.

5 comments:

Ono said...

Good luck, I do not envy you. I do think clergy and Church officials should take mandatory classes in conflict resolution and also study the art of political alliances. It may help. I dunno.

I tend to be pessimistic about disputes like this because I don't see how they can be resolved. On the other hand, it seems that commitment may need to precede resolution, as opposed to vice versa.

For instance, if the captical campaign came first and church investments were made, people would be more willing to site down, talk and work out differences since no one wants to see all that effort go to waste.

It may be uneasy at first, being that people are then forced to accept each other, but the key then becomes that things don't collapse into dehumanization, where the "others" are "evil" 'cos when you get there, it is over.

Socialist Swine said...

Good luck with your convention. It's sort of sad that issues regarding sexual orientation are proving to be so divisive to your church.

-Socialist Swine

Kevin said...

Ono and SS,

Thanks for your comments.

The funny thing is, we do have to take mandatory conflict resolution classes in seminary.

It's amazing how this issue polarizes much more than anything else we can dream up in the church - including ordination of women, which, I am told was hard slugging, but we came out united at the end.

kgp

Saheli said...

Good luck . . . .all you can do is pray and be humble and try to do your best, really. I have a feeling you've got those strategies down, so I guess try and relax a bit so you won't make it harder than it already is.

Kevin said...

Thanks, Saheli, for the encourgement.