First, I direct you to my article about Confirmation to the right of this page entitled “Confirmation
Sucks”. If you haven’t read it yet, it will let you know how I feel about the whole “age of accountability” which actually does (but doesn’t) exist in the Lutheran Church in the form of Confirmation. This is the first ‘topic’ that comes to my mind while reading this chapter. I find it pathetic that in the Lutheran Church we have “Confirmation” or “Affirmation of Baptism” that seems to be such a ‘must do’ for so many parents, but then we ignore EVERYTHING we say it is about. Is this really a time when our youth take responsibility for their own faith? If so, would you let them go to another church? Would you let them go to another faith? Would you allow them to ‘not believe’ altogether?
Anyway, there is far more to this chapter than my angst and frustration about adolescent Christian rites and rituals. As a pastor (and a human), I continue to be curious about the sheltering strategy of the church. Nadia is right. Most Christians I know would respond to her dabbling in (or even just ‘visiting’ with) Wiccan events of any kind as ‘straying off of the path’ and would praise God that she returned to Jesus and ‘the Way’. Yet, my question about such explorations is this: does she know more about the nature of God then those who haven’t peeked around the religious corner or peered over the fence of Christian doctrine? I don’t mean ‘know more’ as if she took a class on world religion. But has she experienced more about who God is than those who haven’t explored in a similar way.
I am a guy who grew up without a dad…no father…no ‘male role’ model in the home. I don’t know what that does to my psyche or personality, but I do think that in some way I relate to the ‘male’ aspect of God differently. Not the same as women do…but different nonetheless. The idea of the divine feminin
e or the concept that God is at the very least ‘more’ than male isn’t foreign to me at all. In fact it is a concept that I feel very at home with. I wonder if in our clear attempt to shelter ourselves from things that are at least perceived to be ‘not God’, we also are unintentionally sheltering ourselves from the whole of God, the rest of God, the mystery of God.
To be honest, it makes me nervous…very nervous, that we as a church community claim to have a handle on the whole God thing. Doctrines, though I’ve vowed a a pastor to uphold them, make me a bit anxious. Not because they are wrong…but because no matter how hard we try, they are always incomplete. Maybe deep down I’m a mystic? Maybe on some level I long to embrace the mystery of a God that created all things and calls them all good? Maybe I simply want to admit more publicly than I already do that there are more questions answered with “I don’t know” than any other answer. Why do we, all of us…conservative, fundamental, liberal, open, traditional, contemporary, liturgical, postmodern…why do we act as if we have a corner on the theological and doctrinal market?
There was a time when nearly all of Christianity agreed with 1 Timothy 2, where women were to be kept in their place and have no voice. The church was SURE about that….ooops. What else are we SURE about?
…I’m waiting for the collective “ooops”…