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Friday, July 14, 2006

Blowin' in the Wind

I understand Dylan and Baez are making a comeback. That would be Bob and Joan, respectively, for those of you who are, shall we say, ‘generationally challenged’.

I remember them performing at the Newport Folk Festival – a creation after the manner of the Newport Jazz Festival – on stage together with Peter, Paul and Mary, The Weavers, Buffy-Sainte Marie, and Odetta.

The atmosphere was heady with revolutionary ideas about universal soldiers, love, peace, amazing grace, and justice. The air was thick with the smell of patchouli and . . . um . . . smoke.

At the end of the concert, the audience joined those performers, singing what would become the anthem of the time “blowin’ in the wind” from the bottom of our hearts and at the top of our lungs.

I was brinked on the second decade of my life, a ‘young blood’ full of myself and the idea that if I was not part of the solution, I was part of the problem.

The so-called ‘Korean Conflict’ had just ended.

The evil war in Viet Nam was raging.

Civil Rights had been won but the daily battle to dismantle racism continued unabated.

My parents were thoroughly perplexed and confused by the idea of – much less the need for – the movement known as ‘Women’s Liberation’, but when I applied for a credit card in my name, my application was denied because I needed the signature of my father or husband.

The Stonewall Riots in late June of 1969 provided the surprising spark which fueled the so-called ‘Gay Liberation’ movement.

‘Father Knows Best’ was off the air, abortion was legal, and the birth control pill was readily available.

My car – an orange VW Bug – had a bumper sticker that said, “If you aren’t outraged, you are not paying attention.”

My room at nursing school had two posters, each with a quote from Daniel Berrigan. One said: “Don’t just do something, stand there.” The other said something like: “If Jesus had just stayed on that cross, the revolution would never have begun.”

Thirty years later finds me well ensconced in the fifth decade of my life. The television last week carried images of North Korean soldiers marching in readiness.

The evil war in Iraq continues to rage.

An African American man has been elected to the Municipal Council of the serious suburban town were I live, and I have a debit card and three credit cards in my wallet, but the daily battle to dismantle the oppressive systems of racism and sexism continue unabated.

The Righter trial settled, once and for all, the issue of ordination of LGBT people and the 2003 election in New Hampshire placed an honestly gay man in the episcopacy, but another hate crime was reported last week in New York City – one of about a dozen so far this year.

Teen pregnancy is still epidemic, and abortion rights are under attack, being seriously tested this fall in North Dakota.

And, I still drive a VW Bug – a more subdued metallic blue with a convertible top.

What’s that old saying? The more things change, the more they stay the same. It was never more true.

Some would look at the progress we’ve made and say, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” It was Flo Kennedy, I believe, who once said, “If we really had come a long way, they wouldn’t be calling us ‘baby.’”

And yet . . . we have made enormous strides, even if we seem to take three steps forward and two back. We elected a woman of the laity to be President of the House of Deputies. We also made history when we elected the firs the woman Presiding Bishop who is the first woman Primate in the Anglican Communion.

Two days later, in a stunning reversal, we passed B033, a subtly crafted resolution designed with the erroneous notion that in ‘true’ reconciliation, no one is happy and everyone sacrifices something. (Where did that ridiculous idea come from? Certainly not from any scripture I can remember. Where, in this notion, is there even the hope of resurrection?)

Turns out, that’s precisely what happened.

Well, almost.

Neither the Archbishop of Canterbury, the neo-puritan bishops of the Global South, nor the variety of conservative, orthodox, ‘reasserters’ of our church were happy. Indeed, schism continues to be hot on the breath of many in the church.

The sacrifice, however, came only to the fullness of the vocational lives of LGBT people. And, to the church, which sacrificed its own baptismal vows on the altar of the false gods of unity and communion.

The work of mission and ministry is before us and it is daunting and never more important.

I find myself continuing to be deeply moved by the aphorisms of my youth. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. The revolution has begun – has been ongoing since the moment of the resurrection.

It’s time for us to stop doing the things we have been doing, hoping for change, and take a stand to work for change. It’s time to "stand in the Temple and tell" - and then ask questions, hard questions, of ourselves and of our church.

How can we remain consumed with ‘compliance’ and 'submission' to the ‘invitations’ of The Windsor Report when there are three dioceses in our own church which are in flagrant disobedience to the ordination of women in accordance with the constitution and canons of our church?

How can we continue to make real changes in the status of all women – baptized or not, laity or ordained – in the church, in this country as well as in the global village?

Where is the next generation of leaders and how will we identify, prepare and equip them for the next movement of change? I’m talking about change. Real change. Not just changing the faces at the top.

Where are the ‘young bloods’? Who will lead us in that systemic change?

In what seems to be the rapid unfolding of the second phase of the Reformation which seeks to redefine authority and power, magisterium and ‘foreign rule,’ what role will women play?

The answers, my friend, are blowin’ in the wind – and the name of that wind is Ruach, the divine feminine and Holy Spirit, for whom the revolution never has to make a comeback. Revolution is always “in style,” because it’s simply part of Her nature.

Let us reclaim our role of co-creators with God. Let us also commit ourselves to be midwives to this new creation which is being called forth from the chaos and calamity and confusion of our time.

Behold, God is still doing a new thing. And, it is still good.


Amanda said...

I enjoyed reading your posts. Nice blog!

Unknown said...

Not sure Bob would agree with you today, Elizabeth. As Bob said in his Oscar-winning song, "Things have changed."