Monday, August 06, 2007

cleanse and defend?

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your church; and because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness...

The collect for this week begins with a request, one that seems to be one (if not the) bone of contention in our church right now. Cleanse and defend your church Cleanse... of what? Defend... from what?

There are those that believe deep in their hearts, would bet their immortal inheritance on it even, that this cleansing refers to people who practice abomination. More specifically: sexual abomination, as in gay relationships, or adulterous relationships or marriage relationships not sanctioned by Holy Mother Church. The great rift in the Anglican Communion seems poised upon this head of the sexual pin.

But the prayer asks that mercy do whatever cleansing needs to be done, Does amputation qualify? I don't think so.

I wasn't always celibate. I had hormones and was prone to the same temptations of the flesh as everyone else. I'm hardly qualified to pass judgment on anybody else's response to those temptations, probably not even my own. There were times I feared hell for some of the things I did, but that's not why I became a nun.

There are those who believe Aids is a gay disease. They condemn the use of condoms to prevent Aids, yet allow husbands to visit prostitutes, and then infect their wives and subsequently their children. Where's the mercy in that standard? There are homosexual couples who have remained faithful to each other for years longer than the average heterosexual couple, yet their faithfulness is not rewarded, even recognized, in most states. There seems to be no justice nor mercy in that standard.

An anonymous commenter thought I might be able to draw a cartoon based on some sign on a church: "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts." Cute, maybe. But it depends on the motivation behind those words whether it's cute or simply another way to judge each other's conduct. Who presumes to know what God wants? Even if we look to the Bible for inspiration, it's so full of inconsistencies you still have to pick and choose which side you'll stand for.

Maybe God is perfectly happy with both fruits and nuts. One thing about the collect for the week that seems pretty clear, the church cannot continue in safety without God's help.


Anonymous said...

I sent the "God wants spirtual fruit, not religious nuts" quote cause I thought it was cute. Thats all. Not everyone has an agenda that their pushing. Relax...

Claire Joy said...

Not implying that you had any agenda, and perhaps whoever created the sign had no agenda other than the play on words, but you can bet the farm that someone will read those words (on a church sign) and run with them. Besides, some people think monastics are religious nuts.