Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Elvis Has Left the Building

Just teasing Anonymous... we know you're still out there, reading. 'S OK.

It has occurred to me that the fundamental difference is between Anonymous and me is this: He (and, I gotta believe it's a he... all that "girls" language) believes that, in order to be justified (as in, made right with God) he must adhere to every word of scripture as if it were literally true for all times and places. I do not believe that. In fact, I do not believe that honors the intention of the Author/author(s) at all.

I take Scripture very, very seriously--to the extent of learning the original languages in which it was written, to the extent of reading what many, many others beside myself have said about it, including Calvin, Augustine, Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich and others. I take it seriously in that I engage with and wrestle with texts that are painful and difficult and wholly unacceptable (the stories from Judges; the Levite's Concubine, and Jepthah's daughter). I wrestle with it until, like the angel by the river Jabbok, it gives a blessing. I immerse myself in it daily, even the parts that I disagree with. The word of scripture is not God. The word of scripture is not the Word, eternally begotten before time itself.

I guess I believe in the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. Scripture is brought in to dialogue with Tradition (as in, the teaching of the church over the centuries) AND with one's God-given Reason AND with one's life Experience. One trusts that God is bigger than scripture, and that God is still speaking (as I've heard it said). There is infinite knowledge and grace in the divine that has not been reduced to even those blessed and sacred 66 chapters which some people worship to the point of bibliolatry.

Enough. Elvis has left the building. Let's talk about the signs all around us of God's love at work in this broken and beautiful world.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

It's difficult to walk outside the seemingly safe fence of fundamentalism if that's all you've known. I'm still learning to give up the mindset, almost 30 years after moving on to other churches.

My rector shared an article with me that really opened my eyes. It referred to the passage where Jesus says, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way."

In essence, Jesus is saying, "Well, this part of the Bible is wrong. It's not truly God's will. It was the best we could do because your hearts are so hard." If Jesus can criticize part of the OT as being a compromise with human nature and culture, why can't we do the same with other passages? It was a total revelation to me.

Sorry to go on and on. I enjoyed finding your blog. You deal with all the negative comments with grace and good humor.

Suzer said...

Not happy to leave well enough alone, or to stop shouting, Anonymous (a/k/a has started e-mailing his diatribes to me.

A note for all future Anons like Smarkee -- whoever you are: Do not e-mail me. If you have a conversation on a blog with me, keep it there. Your e-mails will end up in my spam folder. You are cowards who I frankly don't care to converse with, and rarely do I even venture to answer your insipid and ignorant comments.

Most folks here disagree with your viewpoints and have stated so. There is no reason to continue to try and convince anyone by e-mail. You are only wasting your time, breath, and bandwidth by doing so.

PamBG said...

I guess I believe in the Wesleyan Quadrilateral

Ah, so you have repented and seen the light, then? ;-)

- From a cradle Lutheran turned Methodist minister (not for any particular reason other than the lack of Lutherans in the UK)

P.S. I am in awe of your graciousness and your sense of humour

KJ said...

"Let's talk about the signs all around us of God's love at work in this broken and beautiful world."

That would have to include those who have surrounded my sister and her family in order to provide assistance as she receives treatment for breast cancer.

Cecilia said...

Thank you KJ! Praise and gratitude for those people, and for you, and for your sister.

Pax, C.

Hidden in Christ said...

praise the Lord! too bad he's not really gone though. he told me he'd stop posting, but i sincerely doubt he will. weird that he reads all of our stuff everyday. he's kind of obsessed, kind of like those psychos from westboro baptist church (the lunatics) in kansas. hopefully he'll get a new obsession and try to save another group of people, or better yet LOVE people. anyway, i just delete the comment as soon as i realize the intent of the posting.

enough about anon...

thank you for all of your wise responses in love. your knowledge and heart for the Lord challenges and inspires me! thanks for who you are and for giving gals like me, hope. someday the old way of thinking will die out. and we can all start loving once again.

Anonymous said...

Well, if we are talking about broken worlds....

It's spring time out here in California, and on the tired coastal hills that were so burned and blackened in october, the green fuzz that bravely emerged in February has given way to purple lupin, patches of neon orange california poppies, and lanky stalks of yellow mustard.

Tradition has it that the 18th c. padres traveling from one mission to the next threw mustard seed from their habits to mark the road from mission to mission (they were a day's ride apart by the time all were built). So coastal California's spring is traditionally marked by the exuberance of shaggy yellow plants. For those that don't know it, the leaves cluster near the base, and the long stalks have balls of bright yellow all along them. (Yes, you can get edible seeds from it). Some of the plants are 5feet or more, and the hillside is vibrant in color. The scars from October's firestorm are hidden under this verdancy.

Soon enough the mustard will fade and turn brown, and ironically help create the fire hazard for the next round of Santa Ana winds in August. But right now, I peer from the train at madly scumbled hillsides, and imagine I see a figure in a brown habit making his way along a footpath, with the simple faith that sun and rain will bring color to the earth next year and mark his way.

And so, to bed, as my friend Pepys would say.


Cecilia said...

Thank you IT. Beautiful.

Pax, C.

Jen said...

I wonder if it was the same elvis who stopped by my blog. I just posted his emails but figured his idiocy would stand on its own and I didn't have any way to explain exactly what you did in your post of understanding the scripture. I hope he didn't find you from me, if he did I'm sorry. J

Barb said...

I've just checked in here after a week or so and I am bleeding for you C. I read your blog to connect with someone in another part of the world who tries to walk this Christian walk with integrity. And then I find you're having to defend whole swathes of God's creation from a couple of self-righteous nutters. This must be costly alongside the day job.

Please don't get the negative comments out of proportion - they can't obliterate the call to dance whilst celebrating life in all its fullness.

Jan said...

Bravo, Cecilia. And thanks for your kind words.

Barbara said...

Take a look at this piece by our priest, Lois:

You want someone on your team that knows her stuff, Lois is the one. Strong in faith and doesn't mince words and she believes in the goodness of ALL of us. And I do mean ALL.

Diane said...

Wow, I was sick, and look what I missed. Cecilia, I don't understand how they can say THEY have been gracious. You have been more than patient and gracious to the "visitors" here. Interesting that the one person said "you disagreed with the Bible" and not "you disagreed with God." hmmmm.

Choralgirl said...

No need to publish this one, Cecilia; thanks for visiting the Reef today! I was hoping you'd find your way to both of those posts. You informed them. You've taken quite a battering in the last couple of weeks, and I want you to know that your patient grace has been very moving to me, and quite a witness. Bless you. :-)


P.S.--I think the Holy Spirit's got to be grinning in your direction, pointing fondly and saying "See that? THAT's what I want y'all to do. Now get on it!"

Reverend Dona Quixote said...

Wow, Cecilia, I didn't know this was going on with you [because I have been swamped and my blog life has suffered.] But I am glad you appear to have had the support of others.