Sunday, February 14, 2016

Baby Steps: Getting Used to The New Order Without a Beloved Minister and Friend

Good morning. It's a bright, sunny Sunday morning. With the windchill, the temperature is -41F/C That's right. At this temperature, the scales are the same. How cold is that? VERY!

As you drive along the river, the steam rises from the water--looks nice, but feels frigid. Frost bite is a real possibility after even a short exposure, so it's a good time to stay inside. 

The good news is, the cold is expected to break tomorrow and the temperature is going to shoot up to 21F with 36F on Tuesday and 32 F Wednesday followed by a truckload of snow--as much as a foot if we get the brunt of the storm.
Well, I'm not going outside this morning, but I will be this evening. By then, the temperature will have gone up ten degrees! 

Today is Valentine's Day. So I wish everyone a pleasant time, If you are lucky enough to have a loved one to share the day with, be grateful for it. Many people who've recently lost loved one will be alone for the first time, and the loneliness will be twice as awful as it is other days.

Today is also Sunday, the first time I willfully choose not to go to church. I'm still upset by what I see as the autocratic rule of the Presbytery, not theocratic as it should be, removing a beloved minister from a congregation who wanted her to stay because of the griping and complaining of a small group of individuals with their noses out of joint.

This action has caused me to reconsider a lot of things in my life--most specifically how I will follow my faith from now on. I'm well aware that religion is not faith. It's a man-made construct, a fallible as humans themselves. Different religions have been at war with one another for centuries, and some of the world's cruellest crimes are done in the name of religion. 

Presbyterianism isn't any different. We may say we are theocratic--governed by the rule of God, but when it comes right down to it, we are plain ordinanry people with flaws and we make mistakes. Last week's decision to dissolve the tie between the minister and the congregation was a collossal error.

Let's be clear here. The minister did absolutely nothing wrong. The complaints against her were petty, ranging from something as silly as being a couple of minutes late for something, to forgetting to acknowledge a plate of cookies years ago. Humans are fragile creatures who get their egos bruised easily, but holding a grudge like this--well, that's plain wrong and unChristian. The Presbytery has stated that  the minister remains  a minister in good standing, Her status now is  “Minister appendixed to the Roll of the Presbytery.” But that doesn't help me or the many other people in the church who are angry and feel cheated. I looked forward to going to church on Sunday mornings, hearing her speak to the children, and perhaps entertain us with a song on her mandolin. I enjoyed her sermons, which rarely didn't leave me with a bit of wisdom to carry me through the week. So what if she went five or ten minutes past the hour? I can afford to give God more than sixty minutes a week. 

So what will I do now? This wonderful woman, whose sermon last week was a tremendous example of grace under pressure, doesn't want any of us to leave the church. Out of my deep respect for her, I won't make a knee-jerk reaction. I will step back a bit, give the wounds in my heart time to heal and wait on God's wisdom. If He wants me to keep worshiping there, then He'll send a sign of some sort, and if not, then I know He'll point me in the right way. As a protestant, I have options, many of them, even in a town this small.  

Church is an imporatnt part of my life, one I would miss far too much if I turned my back on it completely, but I will read my Bible and wait for him to tell me where to go. If possible, it will be wherever my beloved friend and minister goes. Maybe I'll become one of the Christmas and Easter people. Who knows? The one thing I will definitely continue to be is a good friend to a woman who is above all else a lady and the best example of a Christina I have ever seen. 

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