Sunday, 18 May 2008

Quiet Power

My vicar has a soft, peaceful voice. But her sermons, her words are strong. She rails no less than any Bible thumping preacher, but a damn sight more effectively.

On Trinity Sunday, her message was one of inclusiveness.
'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.' How did this message become twisted, how can some use this to condemn or judge others?

The others she was talking about were the gay and lesbian section of the Anglican Communion.

The church today seemed full of the grey army. I make no fun of them. To me the seniors, elders, are those who may be less distracted from their contemplation of matters spiritual. Their prayers are stronger, more focussed. I feel as though they are the big guns, that's what we need, extra strength.

'Doubt,' said the vicar, ' is a component of faith.' We all sat up. What? Aren't we certain? If we were, how would it be faith, if there were no doubt, if there were certainty, then we would have no faith, she went on to say that in this life, everything is provisional. The Jesus of the Gospels didn't set everything down in black and white, we were just given a basic set of practices by which to live, such as love and integrity. So how did we get from there to condemning other Christians?

I have just finished reading 'Disobedience' by Naomi Alderman. A Jewish woman from an orthodox background returns to the community of her childhood and teenage years.
I loved this book, there are different voices, it is thoughtful, quiet and yet powerful, like my vicar's sermons. And like the theme for Trinity, there is an exploration of rules. The orthodox community is bound, no, hamstrung by strict rules. And yet people are comforted by them, never having to expand their thinking.
But the book itself prods those limits, pushes the covers back. Exposes what the teachings of Judaism really say, not the ridiculous ties of people.
The protagonist feels the comfort of her upbringing but kicks against the limitations of it.
Spectacular read.


Sleepy said...

I am delighted you enjoyed the book!

Sleepy said...

You've got a kick arse vicar there!
Such a sensible,'tuned in' woman.

Give her my regards and tell her she is often thought of over here.
(And her house!)
Usually when I'm at Mass wishing violence on my fellow worshippers!