Sep. 20th, 2016

Waiting.

Sep. 20th, 2016 11:31 am
alpharaposa: (bedtime)
One of the hardest Christian skills to develop is to wait prayerfully.

This year, we are surrounded by worries. There is unrest in the Middle East. Ancient Christian communities are being driven out. There is unrest here at home, too. Our politics are a choice between bad and worse. Our culture is increasingly divided and antagonistic. And so are our churches.

The United Methodist Church has hit the point of no return. An openly practicing lesbian woman who is married to another woman has been made Bishop in one of the more progressive Conferences, and now we are all waiting to find out if it will stand. The action was taken in defiance of our own rules, but in some places those rules have gone unenforced in the past. There must be, finally, a clear statement of what the UMC as a whole believes and is willing to enforce. There's a council of UMC Bishops meeting next year, its stated purpose to resolve this issue.

I grew up in this denomination. I love its music. I love its people. I love the Bible studies and the potlucks and the Bazaars. I love the theology of sanctification, the process of all of us painfully, carefully, working out our salvation together.

I have given thought to where I might go, if the UMC fails. There are places I suppose I could flee to, but I would go as a refugee. It would hurt to have to give up my home.

I wonder. What will happen to the organizations that are outside the UMC, but affiliated? To NAUMS? To our little non-profit, the Indiana United Methodist Pathfinders? United Methodist is right there in the name.

There are people who are gathering, talking, trying to make plans, but I can't go join them. I have small kids and work to do here. All I can do is pray. Pray for those who go to fight. Pray for my church. Pray for my country. And continue to raise my children as best I can, to teach them right from wrong and to love God, even if our church home becomes a battlefield we must flee.

It's hard, but it's essential. A Christian's whole life is learning to wait prayerfully. For Jesus' return. For justice to be done at last. For the broken world to be made new again. None of us can actually make these things happen. We can only perform our duties, wait, and pray.

It's not a simple thing to learn.

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