Wednesday, April 27, 2011
While I enjoyed the video, I would actually like to write more on the supplemental reading, Born of Water, Born of Spirit Supporting the Ministry of the Baptized in Small Congregations. I mentioned in class, or after class, I can’t remember, I enjoyed reading this book because it felt like a baptism almost, like smooth flowing water to my inner self.
As a Roman Catholic (sense a theme yet?) I have always been led to believe I can only go so far and be taken seriously to a point within the church. The idea of having power because I was baptized and therefor should be ministering, even as a lay person, is a breath of fresh air for me. I took comfort in the words, “Rather than starting with the assumption of belief, the making of early Christians centered on the experience of baptism” (Kujawa-Holbrook, 67). I was thinking to myself, yes, that does sound familiar, and probably could still be utilized . . . I also then thought of my confirmation, made under threat as at 17 I was struggling with my faith and was not quite ready to reaffirm my Roman Catholic identity. But I did, and if it counted under duress, it must really count now!
I also found all the examples of small churches refreshing. From speaking with Susan I also was able to form more of a picture, as she belongs to a small church. The idea of church that “carries on being the place where people are constantly reaching out, to include, embrace and encourage [other] people to belong” (Kujawa-Holbrook, 36) is very comforting and inspiring. This idea made me think about why larger churches have so much more difficulty, and thinking of my own, all I could imagine are more of those “stridently strong” personality types. So now I have something new to think about in addition to the ministry of the baptized in all size congregations.
Reading Shane Clairborns’ The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical brought forth a lot of feelings. Some of what he writes I find a little odd, but I have to admire his passion.
Something I am not sure I was supposed to take away, but did anyways, was how closely some of his words mirrored my own thoughts. You all know I am Roman Catholic, and as a feminist it’s been rough. Now as a feminist and a Roman Catholic who wants to change the church? It’s as intimidating as it sounds. I could have taken the easy way out, and abandoned the church (side note, for me, that would be the easy way, for others whom the church has hurt beyond belief, leaving is a matter of safety and sanity) or I could do what I am doing. I am staying and fighting, and won’t go down until I finish swinging. My brother summed up what I plan to do nicely, “She is really frustrated by the Roman Catholic Church, so she plans on storming the Vatican all by herself. She’s a nut.” I personally don’t envision myself storming the Vatican just yet, but it will probably come down to that. In the meantime I see myself as merely following Jesus and what he would have wanted. Tying that in with how my brother sees me were Shane’s words: “Ha, that’s funny. My life was pretty easy before I met Jesus” (Clairborn, 135). Yes, my life was much easier (and had more money in it) before I decided on this path.
Another line which resonated with me was “This love is not sentimental but heart-wrenching, the most difficult and the most beautiful thing in the world” (Clairborn, 136). In spite of everything, I believe in the goodness of the Roman Catholic church, and the possibilities, other days I literally weep over what it has become and worry it can never be salvaged. I think this on days when I need to go get my best friend from his grandmother’s funeral because his family has been ranting over how the Church says he is an abomination because he is gay. I get despondent when I hear of another pedophilia cover up (it is not “sex abuse” these boys are not willing and it is not sex), or I witness people in church for one hour behaving angelically, only to hit another car in their rush to rejoin “their real life.”
The last one feeds into another line of Shane’s, “Christians pretty much live like everybody else; they just sprinkle a little Jesus in along the way” (Clairborn, 117). I’ll wrap things up now, but that one line alone, really makes me think. What would our lives look like if we instead of sprinkling Jesus in, we sprinkled a bit of regular life, and instead lived like Jesus all the time?