Still Working Through Denominational Grief

Posted May 20, 2017 @ 1:54pm | by Tripp

I am sitting in the kitchen. There are dirty dishes on every available counter or table top. It's not always like this, but as the regular washer of said dishes, when I get busy, things can get behind. It's been a busy time what with U2 in and the Presiding Bishop in town and CDSP holding Baccalaureate and Commencement services. The whole Graduate Theological Union is abuzz with activity. 

There are empty Easter eggs scattered across the floor. An unfinished art project sits on the kitchen table. My brown sweater and green hoodie are still draped over the back of the kitchen chair I swore would be their home for a moment - three days ago. 

It's been like this for a while now. 

We forget. We misplace. We get behind. We pile, push, and procrastinate all in the name of parenting. 

I assume it will continue to be like this for some time. So, I am endeavoring to get used to it. 

I'm still mulling over a few things the Presiding Bishop said in the hopes to inspire all of us. To me, in my role of preaching instructor, he said, "We need fired up preachers. Fire them up. You were a Baptist. We need you now." Then what he said to the graduates, to all of us gathered there had me thinking about the complexity of Christian identity. 

There is real grief in leaving the ABC. Deep abiding grief. And yet...

...A friend teased me again. She's been teasing me for years. "Now that you're in serious discernment, do we stop making jokes about shoving you under the hands of the nearest bishop?" 

"No," I responded. 

What do you believe the call to come together is supposed to look like? 

I am more and more clear that God is and has been asking me to do this for some time. "Let me just shove you under the hands of this bishop" is Her ongoing joke to me found in the voices of those who love me. This weekend that joke was met with the sounds of Black Church preaching and singing, with a call to racial reconciliation, and with a sense of humble ecumenism that blesses the gifts we bring together to meet the challenges of our present moment. 

The preachers are calling us again. Proclaimers. Provocateurs. Prophets. They call us together to do the work we did not expect to do because it is the work that needs doing. 

"I need you here now," says God. 

This is my life. The cluttered kitchen and the deep grief as I miss my Baptist kin. This is my life. My son runs about, "I ready! I ready!" And my Episcopal kin hold me in their arms and say, "we need your gifts here."

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