Thursday, January 03, 2008

Fascinating ...

For eleven years I have hung on the wall of my office space (wherever that may be) a poster that reads:
We can only see with open eyes.
We can only listen with open ears.
We can only think with open minds.
Anyone who stepped into my office passed that poster ... Yesterday it was one of the final thinks that I carried out to the van as I finished packing up my books, files, furniture and detritus from the last15 years of ministry ... As I've packed away box after box and confronted a bleak and uncertain future that would seem to no longer include active pulpit and parish ministry I couldn't help but think - "what a freakin' waste!!"
A waste of talent.
A waste of money.
A waste of resources.
A waste of time.
I've given my heart and soul to not only the ministry here in Minnedosa, but to the ministry of the United Church of Canada as an agent of faithful service, only to be cast out for misdeeds that truly pale in comparison to the vicious and manipulative actions of others ... my goal, even in my most misguided of moments has always been to help others ... usually at great cost to myself.
It is unfortunate that three years ago I foolishly tried to help a group of people who deserved only a listening ear rather than an impetutous champion who so readily ran off tilting at windmills and waging a battle for losers who were undeserving. But one can not change the past, and one can only bear the responsibility and consequences of one's own actions ... and that I do.
Today though as I survey that mass of material that has crowded our house, material I moved in February of 2006 with the sincere hope (and belief) that the next time I moved any of it would be to place it in a newly built structure, I couldn't help but weep at the tragedy that has unfolded in Minnedosa over the last few months ... This sense of sadness was deepened as I considered the "why?" of this ...
I've been accused of many things including:
Failing to maintain the peace of the Pastoral Charge ...
engaging in a ministry that took a "my way or the highway" stance ...
Looking back, I would dare to say there never was peace in this pastoral charge ... intead an uneasy truce existed from time to time between the old guard and those wanting more ... periodically it boiled over, but it was usually held in check by the paid accountable ministry heeding the Old Guard and not rocking the boat ... I guess as one who tends to rock the boat, push the envelope and openly try to welcome in the marginalized, I should have seen this coming ... mea culpa!!
It's funny though, ... lately in town I've watched as kudos were rightly bestowed on people who have independently taken the initiative to undertake a project, or to spearhead something on their own ... as words of praise were heaped upon those folks I couldn't help but feel a twinge of bitterness that the same community that would so savagely reject me for the self-same behaviour will tout others ... the irony was and remains sharp ...
But then as I glanced at the poster I realized that my failings were merely compounded by the inability of the leadership I was ministering among to open not only thier eyes, ears and minds, but also thier hearts ... There was and there is no openness at work here ... and as a result not only my ministry here ends with a broken heart, but the commitment of many others in Minnedosa ends with a similar broken heart ... two years after the fire many remain sitting amid the ashes weeping bitterly at the ever growing list of losses ...
Today the supposedly inclusive, warm, friendly and welcoming Church has become like the majestic emperor parading in front of the crowd with his extravagent new clothes ... too bad no one wants to listen to the voice that has been crying out: "He's naked !!"
All of it is, as Mr Spock would say - "Fascinating ..." too bad there isn't a desire to do anything about it ...
Maybe one day a new Church Structure will finally rise on Main St in Minnedosa, (I doubt it NOW - but that's another story) unfortunately recent events have shown that if it does, it will be similar to the whitewashed tombs Jesus once pointed to outside of Jerusalem ... beautiful and clean outside, but filled with rotting flesh and dried up old bones inside ...
The only hope now is for the Spirit to come and once again enflame Her people and bring a transformative resurrection into being ...
I for one pray constantly through the bitter tears that it will happen and that it will happen soon ...


MY OWN WOMAN... said...

Each post that you have written has made me smile. Each post that was wordless has made me open my eyes to the wonders that God has created. You see God's work in every picture you take and in every post you write.

Take heart, even Christ felt as you do when he looked down upon Jerusalem and knew that his ministry was not welcome. Conviction of the soul is often hard to take; and I'm almost sure that the Holy Spirit has used you more than once to show that the God you serve is a loving and benevolent God. What's sad is that a lot of people would rather not believe that. They prefer to believe that fire and brimstone will befall all those that are not as "saintly" as themselves. They preach hatred with the same mouth that they praise God with.

The Sadducees were well learned men, yet they did not recognize Jesus when he came to minister to the people. It's the same today.

All I know for sure is this, that if Jesus Christ were to appear before me now, I would fall on my face before His Glory because I am not worthy to be in His presence.

It's funny, I generally do not proclaim my faith loudly because I fear that I am more of a shame to God than a glory to Him. I have to constantly remind myself that He has aready done the work, all I have to do is accept that it is done.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and the Laughing Pastor.

itzktb said...

How can your future be bleak and uncertain at the same time?

Possibilities await you, as does peace, love, and more wisdom.

Your friend,


Indigo said...

Your church is in your pure heart and mind, your church ( and everyone else's) will rise again as it always does.

I watched the movie "I heard the owl call my name" the other night. While I had read the book by Craven many years ago I had never seen the movie. I wept. It so reminded me of you and church in Bella Coola, shrouded in the seamists under the mountains. And of your youthful hopes and dreams. Know that you are loved, cherished and valued by all your friends.

The snow is falling softly here in big fat flakes as we await the remains of a man home to the community for burial. I pray for your wisdom and words as I struggle to write a eulogy.