There is a draft post titled “More Than Meets the Eye” which got accidentally published earlier today, please disregard it and don’t share the contents with anyone yet. In this post I am being very open with my own grief, so please take that into consideration as you read.
On the third evening of Yearly Meeting the youth led us in worship. They offered writings of encouragement, drawings on our hands, and a string tied around our wrists to remind us of the love that binds us together. As I went up to the front I felt a sense of holy preparation and I was greeted by a young man who looked me in the eye and said “You are a bright spot in the Yearly Meeting. The youth know you respect and value our voice.” He then tied the above green string around my wrist and I am still wearing it.
That evening after the youth so aptly reminded us of God’s love we heard the voice of wrath from our speaker. He articulated a theology that I find implies disunity in God and disassociates the suffering of Jesus from the love of God. I believe something quite different than what was taught that night. I believe that God chose to die rather than inflict wrath, that in accepting the cross God demonstrated unequivocally that mercy triumphs over judgment. I thought that there might be room for my belief about the nature and character of God in the Yearly Meeting, but feel that hope has been dashed in choosing judgment over mercy in regard to dismembering one of our member churches.
I have a choice in the matter, and can leave or stay based on my conviction, but there is a young man who tied a string around my wrist that sees me as a bright spot in the Yearly Meeting that doesn’t have that choice.
I am still in a sense of grief over what is going on and there are parts of me that are so sickened by the wounds that are being inflicted that I want to write the whole thing off as a lost cause, and other parts of me
want to go on the offensive and fight against the factions bent on mercilessly dismembering the Northwest Yearly Meeting. I am deeply discouraged, confused, angry, hurt, and grieving, but this thread around my wrist reminds me that there is some collateral damage being caused and my call as a pastor is that of the wounded healer. Jesus said that all who are weary and heavily laden should come to him for rest, and that is what I am doing. Anybody who wants to join me in stepping out of the war is welcome at my home in SE Portland. I will gladly feed you dinner and give you space to vent and mourn and play and seek rest and healing. Theological agreement with me is not necessary since I tend to not always agree with my own theological thoughts. I would count it an honor to bandage your wounds with some of the love that is being wrapped around my own wounds.