Tuesday, April 5, 2011

By Whose Authority?

Does one need to have qualifications to write a blog that explores theology, and questions church policies and politics?

Boy, I hope not!

This morning, there was a question that made me think, again, if there is an expectation that bloggers must have some special authority in order to write on the subjects we write about. The question came in the context of my studies in Education for Ministry... and some allusions I'd made in the conversation to my blog and the recent entry where I reworked the language of John 9. The person was curious that I was writing on the gospel, but haven't finished EfM and am only finishing out Year Three of the four-year course.

And for a moment, I felt that nagging doubt. "Do I have the authority to write about this stuff?" I stress, "for a moment". Because I maintain that this is my blog, and I can write about whatever crosses my mind, and for me, that tends to be puzzling out those portions of Scripture that I read and hear and squaring that against my experience in the here and now. It's like I'm in constant theological reflection... whether I want to be or not.

Somewhere along the line, a sad thing happened in the church. Priests, deacons and bishops became "THE authority" and the laity was supposed to just take whatever the person in black and white said without putting any thought to how that might fare in their own understanding of the world. It's one thing for children to behave that way and give the thinking power over to the authority, but when adults are unwilling to ask questions or (much worse) are discouraged from doing any exploration of their beliefs, then we have the scales tipped unfairly in favor of the ordained clergy. This is probably something some of the ordained are happy with because then they won't be bothered and their egos can remain in tact. But I see it as disempowering people, and that doesn't seem to be what God as Jesus intended.

In my reading of the gospels, Jesus is wanting to give those within ear shot plenty to chew on, so that they might come to see what is right before their eyes; namely, that eternal life starts now... and the kingdom is at hand. He speaks in parables and riddles because that makes people think. And when they think, and begin to see, it transforms them. And then they are in a place to share.

And that's what this blog is about: sharing. I'm sharing here the sometimes random firings in my brain that keep leading me along a path toward God. And mine is one which is colored brightly by my sexual orientation, something that does play into my view of the world. I invite you into this sharing with me. Go ahead and leave me a comment, or click on one of the quick comment buttons at the end of this blog. Tell me what you like or don't like about what you read here. I'm interested.


Phoebe said...

I am an Episcopalian because that means I am not required to leave my brain at the door of the church. I am also aware that my life experiences are very different from many of my male colleagues, so my reaction to Biblical readings is often very different. To grow in my relationship with God it is important for me to listen, hear and acknowledge the value the experiences of others; to allow my beliefs to be continually challenged. It makes the journey much more interesting.

Anonymous said...

I find your exploration not only thoughtful but well written. Keep on doing it.