A Map of the Apostles’ Travels
I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from blogging over the last few weeks. Some time off, enjoying family, wrestling with family, noting the gift of family, navigating the relationships of family … in other words reconnecting with people whom I do not often get to see is indeed a blessing!
As I return to the beckoning cursor, I have been struck by our recent denominational decisions to once more lay people off, to wrestle with the ongoing narrative of deficit. In this place, I am endeavouring to find the balance of critique and reflection, while avoiding judgement. Let me know how I do …
I must – at the outset – name I am not, nor have I been at the table where all of the information is available. I also realise that these are likely not easy decisions lightly considered. We are – in all of our human frailties – a faith community that endeavours to be compassionate. Okay, those are some of my disclaimers …
What I do know is that denominationally we sometimes make decisions that I do not completely understand. When there was a recent opportunity to strike a new path, follow a new trajectory that might mean relocating national offices that possessed the potential of both abundance and – what seemed to me – fiscally sound stewardship, we decided to stay located in a place that is … well … rather expensive!
From this recent decision, others have occurred that lead me down corridors and hallways upon which each door has a question hanging and which seems to still invite discussion …
But this musing is not about money
– though it is –
and it’s also not about the difficulty now being confronted by the end of careers
– though it is –
it is about the elephants (well one of them) that haunts us: the Proceeds of Empire.
We are benefitting from a long history of being Christians who are complicit and intimately connected with Empire and now it seems we’re holding on to that illusion. By clenching with white knuckles, we seem unable to awaken to the newness about us. This newness – if you will – is also generously provided for by proceeds which we can now choose to squander with abandon and joy!
I could write tomes about what this Empire thing means (Christendom is one of the old school words), but that’s already been done. Let’s just say that the United Church of Canada – as a reflection of a larger possible discussion around Empire – is the only church in Canada established by an act of Parliament on April 5, 1924. This decree stretches back through almost two millennia in which the Christian message, the Good News as we call it, has had to accommodate that which – at one time – its first leader, Jesus, critiqued! And now, as we lose the influence that came with being the Empire’s religion, we have to confront some difficult realities. And – for me – these are some of my questions:
What do we want more?
What we had?
What might arise if we let go?
What would it mean to harness & squander what’s left?
What might be nurtured?
What happens to our identity if we hold on or let go?
As is my wont, I do not have the answer, but I certainly have some inkling. Whatever we mean by the Good News, it’s always been about transforming lives. And staying where you are, entrenching in the Now, is about inertia and a state of static disrepair. Across this vast country there is wealth – the proceeds – tied up in capital assets, buildings and land, trust funds, mutual funds that make some countries GDPs look like a Piggy Bank filled with pennies, which though still legal tender are no longer in circulation here in Canada! Imagine, if we cut those strings, withdrew the seed from the stores and started planting with abandon … I know I don’t have the answers, but I sure am fascinated with wonder …
A Deacon’s Musing blog