Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Raising My Voice

Over the past months, since my tenure in the Diocese of Newark ended, I looked diligently for a place to be a Bishop and to serve God and the Episcopal Church. It has been both a painful and exhilarating journey, one of encountering God's love in so many out of the way places, and having so many doors in the Church slammed in my face. This journey is not complete, but I have come to the banks of the river, a place of resolution, that place where it has come time to decide how to continue forward. A place to raise my voice and to chart my own direction. I never fit into any of the standard molds of the church. As a Cherokee, mother, wife, writer, musician and artist, there have been times when the Church has desired my gifts. Now is their season of ambivalence. When the Church and the world most need creative, complex leadership, it seems as though the single dimension, cardboard cut-out, party line is the color of the season. So I will let others sport the colors and I will find my own design, raise my own voice and forage in strange lands for the sustenance I need. I am frightened, but I am not alone.

I hope to keep singing and writing and serving Christ in all people that will have me. I will find new ways to incarnate God's love in new and foreign places. The Church that I love and willingly serve seems unable to embrace me right now. I will not stop loving the Church or her people, but rather forge more relationships in new ways, so that I might sing and share the Gospel. It is a scary time, but I have a sense of life breaking forth. May all of you, on the bank of the river, on the edge, left behind, and cut off remember that God is in the midst of the people on the edge as well as those in the center. God's love is most powerfully known when broken people break bread together. May we share our voices, our love and our dreams knowing that our gifts are from God and the world desperately needs courageous, complex voices crying in the wilderness and outside of the Church walls.

1 comment:

Pat McKenzie said...

I feel your pain, thinking about a gift not being a gift until it is received. That forces us back onto ourselves in a move we do not usually need to / think to make. In being forced back on ourselves (not having anywhere to GO) maybe we learn from the inside about how we are that unique instrument of God's peace...

Like you I am in a scary-time search as an itinerant lay person, wondering which of my gifts am I supposed to be offering, and... to whom, and where. The church and the world seem to need so much, from my point of view. There is so much work in the vineyard to be done - isn't there?

Thank you for being daring enough to be publicly vulnerable. These are indeed extraordinary times when a bishop would be so honest about experiencing herself as ...not being wanted. LOL - an itinerant lay person's honesty is not as ... startling. And please know that your apparent "not-wantedness" is just that, only apparent, a twist in your journey, I am sure.

All the best from this corner of the Diocese of Newark, from someone who does so love your voice, on many levels ;-)

Pat McKenzie