In another conversation today with another male colleague (cleric) I heard about their faith crisis, creating a vocational crisis for them as well. Their pain comes out of a deep questioning of biblical theology and historical doctrines. What do I believe? What can I preach? What does any of it mean? These men identify with those who have left the church, and they do not recognize or trust the hope in the gentle but steady return.
Marcus Borg talked about pre critical, critical, and post critical faith. These clergy with great integrity are experiencing the pain of the second phase but I’m not sure what will help them move into the third phase without abandoning their vocations, or turning away from the faith in which they found nurture.
Most birds don’t leave the nest until they know how to fly because a premature choice can be deadly. I am afraid for my friends, afraid that their choices will not bring freedom but despair.
I was wondering why no women have spoken to me about this. I suspect it’s because women have to figure out how to work within a patriarchal structure and process. We have to see the diamonds in the coal, the precious fruit within a difficult covering. Because that is where we begin, I wonder if it gives us a method for dealing with new learning and the shock of that learning.
When I speak with lay people who are returning to church, they are coming because they buy into the social revolution of Jesus; in the beauty of traditional liturgical practice, they find rest for their souls. In the chaotic energy of family services, their hope is fed for a new world that sparkles with creativity and spontaneity.
The church offers an intergenerational community of people who are growing together beyond the answers and into the deep questions. These are people reimagining ancient metaphors and reframing old symbols, making ritual joyfully reverent, meaningful and spiritual food in a tough and hungry world.
I hope my brothers find support to move into the land of post critical thinking. I hope they find nurture and allow themselves to be new and vulnerable again. I hope awe overwhelms and opens all our hearts so that we may all see and love more clearly, more dearly.
Comments on: "Day by Day" (2)
Trudy, I greatly appreciate your words about men clergy who are struggling! I had the blessing of two or three women colleagues, whose fresh, and often challenging perspective helped me very much to avoid the deadly state you describe, while discovering my own real faith far deeper than what the books etc taught! I am very thankful for their company and challenge on my journey into today, and hope and pray you all keep offering help to those who are forced to seek new faith perspectives in this new age!
God bless them, as she surely will, and God bless those who are offering a loving hand along the way!
Hi again, Trudy! Dick Rokeby here, in senior residence in Woodstock, Oxford Gardens, Chatwell home, 423 Devonshire Ave, Woodstock, N4S0B2, 519 421 2621.
I was accosted today by two ladies, staff members who commented favorably on my lovely singing….I was in the gym doing my daily 30 minute exercises, and I realized again that I had learned to sing and learned new theology thru the music f Taize! It is not theology or prayer so much as relationship-building… For me it expresses relationship far more than any old hymns and songs, it is bout living n relationship to the mystery that surrounds and sustains us!
It is great to be free from theological deadends, and doctrinal traps, and just free to sing of love, relationships, trust, enclosure and love!
I know this sounds like abandoning faith, but I find it is instead, deeply effective in keeping me in faith, without the huge burden of trying to square the great circle of mystery into a philosophical, theological or doctrinal conclusion!
I feel so thankful that the songs of Taize and our participation in life at Taize on several occasions, have proved to be the bridge to real relationship., rather than to theological assurance, ( which I believe is truly impossible!)
My favourite current theology involves realizing that the Church and bible, set on proving divinity, turned the powerful story of the feeding off the 5000 into a magic trick, instead of showing the importance of standing for generosity, shear ing what you have in thanksgiving, and trusting that others w I’ll follow the example! Retread the story, and we find that every body, (disciples) was worried that there was not nough for every one, and .jesus stood up and said, let me show you what will happen. He blessed whatever they offered, and it turned out that hen everyone shared what they had, there was more than enough!
Perhaps it’s a miracle of human generosity, following Jesus example, but I think we miss the point when we try to make Jesus a magician, instead of a teacher, and a wise person!
Incidentally, my voice is a real gift, bob foote came to me after seven years atSt James, and congratulated me,” congratulations, you finally got the sursum corda right….after seven years!
But it was Taize that gave me my voice, so this morning, I am doing my 30 minutes at the machine, singing , enjoying the singing too, while I rowed, and two women quite separately, stopped at the door and t yanked me for my beautiful singing! Now that is a miracle! But Love it, and am so thankful for the example ofTaize, getting me on the road to a relational faith, rather than a rational, scientific dodge ball game that is so exhausting.
Best wishes to you and to all your coworkers, on the challenging journey of being true to yourself and to the mystery we call God, in the midst of modern explosion of conflicting and conflicted claims…..God bless you and all like you!
And thanks for your writings!
Dick Rokeby. Singing his way into the 87 th year of being blessed!
Jane is here with me in good surroundings, but she is exhausted, wracked with skeletal discomfort, and generally worn out! Too many broken hips, replacement knees and broken pelvis over the past fifteen years…. And no, I didn’t do it! Blessings to all