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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gotta question? Wanna answer?

Gather round, boys and girls. There's something new coming to this part of the neighborhood. And, just in time for Lent!

I've been deeply honored by some of your questions to me, written offline, some seeking advice or guidance, others seeking an opinion.

I have often felt daunted by providing an answer. Sometimes, I've discussed the situation with colleagues - lay and ordained - seeking their wisdom. Other times, the answer are more obvious than the Iberian nose in the middle of my face.

Inspired by that, I thought it might be fun to have a "First Friday" feature to this blog. Here's how it will work: On the last Friday of the month, I will place a call for questions - something you always wanted to ask, but were afraid to for any variety of reasons.

You can email them to me by either leaving them here in the comments section or emailing them to me privately.

I will honor anonymity.

You will have until Sunday evening to email me your questions.

I have asked a group of nine ordained and lay leaders in this diocese to be part of the group that responds to your 'First Friday' questions. I will choose one or two questions and email them, anonymously, to the "First Friday Group" on Sunday evening and they will consider them until Thursday morning and mail me their individual answers.

On the morning of the first Friday of the month, I will post the question or questions and their individual answers.

I think this could be a great deal of fun as well as informative and instructive. I got the idea from "RevGalBlogPals" which has a weekly feature "Ask the Matriarchs." It's for "women pursuing or discerning a Christian vocation - and their friends".

I think there's a real need for "mentoring" lay and ordained leaders of both genders. I think there are many situations which arise in congregational life - tensions about authority and theological differences that can range from the ridiculous to the sublime. We need a place where these issues can be discussed.

I am very proud of the people in my diocese who have agreed to be part of the First Friday Group. Not all nine will answer every time, but I think the variety of their answers will provide a great resource for us all.

Of course, you will also be invited to add your responses in the comment section.

Sounds like fun, no?

Sooooo . . . . please send me your questions by no later than Sunday, February 1st (I''ll remind you again on Friday, January 30). You may leave them here in the comment section or write to me privately. I will choose one or two of the questions and mail them to the "First Friday" Group.

On Friday morning, February 5th, I will post the question(s) and their answers and you can also have at it in the comment section.

I look forward to hearing your reactions to this idea.


Robert said...

I think it is a fabulous idea Elizabeth!

Kirkepiscatoid said...

This should be very educational!

I've always wondered why I got kicked out of my LCMS confirmation class at age 13 for asking too many questions, most of them starting with "But what do they MEAN when..." but that might be beyond the scope of the learned group, LOL!

"But what do they MEAN when they say 'the only son of God'? How do they KNOW? Maybe there are some books out there about ANOTHER son of God!"

"Why do we say 'and justly deserve Your eternal punishment' in the Corporate Confession of Sin? I didn't do anything THAT bad?"

"What do you MEAN I can't chew the wafer? What if you can't get the wafer off the roof of your mouth?"

(All samples of questions made by 13 year old Kirkepiscatoid...)

Anonymous said...

Your calendar is on fast forward. I think you meant to remind us on January 30.

I do this all the time!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Got it whiteycat. Thank you.

FranIAm said...

Wow, I love this idea!!!

PseudoPiskie said...

Why are the corners of the chalice veil pulled out so it looks like a cut off pyramid?

Br. Christopher Nicholas said...

What a wonderful, generous and pastoral gift.

I look forward to participating!

Bill said...

Well, there are several questions, all having to do with the humanity of Jesus and all categorically denied by the Catholic Church.
Why do they deny that Jesus had brothers and sisters. In an age when the survival of a family depended on multiple offspring, they come up with all sorts of non-answers. Why would it be so terrible for Jesus to have brothers and sisters. Wouldn’t that speak to his being human and part of the culture of the time. And why do they deny that Jesus was probably married. For a Rabbi to not be married would have been written about. To be married would have been quite normal and therefore not written about. Why do they deny a possible relationship with Mary Magdalene. Again, wouldn’t that have just made Him more human. They seem to emphasize His deity at the expense of His humanity.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Okay, you guys, I'm looking more for 'situational' questions, rather than liturgical or theological 'facts'. However, these are real burning questions, what I'd like to propose is one sort of 'situational' and then others.

So, like: A new Assistant Rector is concerned because, ever since she got more Christmas presents and monetary gifts from the parishioners than her Rector, he has started preaching about "the natural order" of things and the "God-given role of women". She asks, "Should I be concerned?"

Or: A lay leader is concerned because she is one of only a handful of the same 10 people who do all the work in the congregation. She is angry that her rector 'lets the congregation get away with this' and doesn't do more to inspire more people. Should she confront the rector about this and if so, how should she approach him?

Matthew said...

I have a question. During the search for a rector, some members of the search committee asked more probing, difficult and biting questions of some candidates than others. Their questioning was particularly harsh on the gay candidates but not the others. I suppose in a perfect world we would have all agreed on the same questions in advance, but that is water under the bridge. When confronted these search committee members don't recall being harder in their questioning on some candidates vs. others. I believe discrimination is at least in part subconscious. So, how to shed light on it in this type of circumstance.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Matt. Great question.