Monday, April 13, 2009

Is My God Silent? Me and My Spiritual Desert

For about nine months, I have been in the desert. The spiritual desert to be specific.

I am not one that expects conversation with God because that is not the way I experience God. My God is seen in my daily life... in people, in actions. In the entire way I view and experience the world and react. It is a sort of knowing of God's power. It is... hard to explain.

But my God is silent now. I don't have those glimpses or the rare full-on 'wow' experiences and it troubles me greatly.

So, for a while, I was silent. I didn't spent much time in prayer except intercession. I didn't talk to God, though I routinely say TLP at night and often as almost a mantra concentrating on each word and thinking about its meaning. Of all the odd things that put me to sleep, this is one. Being a sheep, counting my brethren doesn't help.

There were two things that early on changed my experience in the church: Being asked to be in the choir (meaning I had attendant duties during our extraordinary liturgy which WAS magical for me) and being on the vestry (I hated this, we had a micromanaging Priest at the time and the vestry was, ultimately, hardly an independent body).

Then the whole lgbt debacle which just pisses me off--no, actually it infuriates me--to no end. Intellectually, I cannot return to my parish (or any) until B033 is repealed. I just cannot stand with a church that parses either the treasure and sanctity of baptismal rights, or thinks so little of God's creation that we continually corral one group or another for exclusion in His/Her name. I will not stand with a church that does not both honor the baptismal sacrament AND honor creation as perfect, sacred and important whether human, 'animal' or plant. I cannot do it in the pews, and I cannot do it in the choir. I cannot do it. It is contrary to my nature and feels ALL wrong.

Yes, the Los Angeles Diocese is progressive and I totally appreciate and support the fine work of Bishop Bruno. He is a wonderful, wonderful, Bishop. But BO33 stands, Bruno or not. I will NOT go UU etc. Not where my spiritual heart is at all. I will not change churches. I love (and generally respect) the Episcopal church dearly and it is here that I belong. I really DO respect the big tent. But not to the extent that I am willing to sing or sit in a church that does not value our lgbt members as wholly equal.

Some have suggested I volunteer for the convention given it is close to me. No, that would be a bad, bad thing. I really don't want to know how sausage is made and I have 25 minions to care for which are always my first priority.

The other thing that REALLY, REALLY bugs me is that there isn't more emphasis in the church on good, modern theological scholarship. At my age (55), it annoys me to no end that most around me don't have a clue about church history let alone modern scholarship on the matter. I am far from anything considered even a lay expert, but the failure overall of the church to advance and emphasize this really, really bugs me. And I think this starts in Sunday School.

So, yeah, I am whining. I am whining because I don't feel whole. I am whining because I cannot feel whole until we ARE whole.

And I cannot go back until I get a sense that the church is realistically and wholly on the path of making everyone whole.

So, yeah, I need prayers, obviously, but more than anything else, come convention, I need to see action.

On yeah... one more thing. When the fires of 2007 happened, and we were displaced for 14 days, no one tried to find me or even ask if I was okay. I really needed my church. They were nowhere to be found.

I don't know how that has worked out for others in Katrina or the midwest flooding, but I can tell you that the people that came to me (and who I prayed with) were from Billy Graham's org.