On this morning's walk
there were many young cedars
bent over by the weight of the snow.
But with one slight touch
the burden fell and
they sprung back to life.
I long for such a touch.
I am heavy in heart as I consider the unfolding conversation with the PC(USA). News flash... the church is broken and everyone therein. So in order to fix this brokenness some want to form a "more faithful church so we can focus more on mission" and not be so "distracted by our brokenness" so that we can "build an ecumenical consensus with the majority of Christian around the world." etc. etc.
And the God of the wound weeps.... And I feel the burden of exile in exile... from the world and the church
Here are a few thoughts to add to the conversation:
Our Book of Order states: “The church affirms ‘Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda,’ that is, the church reformed, always reforming’ also (not Latin in the book of Order) “secundum verbum dei” - "according the the Word of God." As if to claim a higher ground for their particular point of view some claim this as the centering hermeneutic. But what is intended here is a christological and not a bibliological centering, thus the capital W in Word. In no way does this diminish the importance of the revealed and accepted canonical text. But the text is not the center, Christ is. And Christ is revealed not only in scripture as it speaks to the church from the past but also from the future as Christ ushers in the Reign of God’s peace and justice. The Book of Order goes on (I don’t hear this quoted as much in the conversations) to add “...and the call of the Spirit.” Now the wind is blowing in a direction that may not be nailed down by text or by those who desperately long for a closed wound and a settled consensus.
I recall the words of Carl Jung, "God enters through the wound," and also Pete Rollins book, The Fidelity of Betrayal. Speaking about the Bible, literalism, interpretation, and a host of other bible-related things, Pete writes, "The words of the text, like Christ, are wounded." I thought this was an interesting “christological hermeneutic,” a way of moving toward both an approach to, and an understanding of, the biblical text.
Rather than expecting a clear path, with a rarified dogmatic faithfulness, and clear ecumenical consensus, Rollins argues that the text, God, faith etc. lead us not to clarity but approach and hold something that is always "frustratingly elusive," it is not a new thought, but it is nice to be reminded of in a fresh way the core reformed understanding of “semper reformanda" (always reforming or more accurately always being reformed).”
Rollins continues, "The claim that the Bible is the Word of God, whether true or not, makes sense only if it refers to the source of the gaps between the words; or more precisely, the source of the irreducible Gap within the words themselves. God's word is thus testified to indirectly by the parallactical nature of the text itself, being communicated by the rich, weaving web of wounded words that testify to the happening of a divine event." (p. 57) In my conversations with people in the emerging church I have found much more tolerance of what seems like ambiguity in this approach to the bible.
Will further divisions (as in a non-geographic synod, or a general splintering of the denomination) in the church heal our wounds so we can get on with mission?
For me the crux of the matter lies in these questions: Is the future of the church as it anticipates and participates in the reign of God dependent on closing the wounds? Or are the wounds we carry a mark of our faithfulness to the God who is the wound? I’m inclined to believe the latter reflects the “call of the Spirit” that is blowing through the PC(USA) today.