Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Away we Go

Hello Friends! And I use all of those words loosely! Even saying hello scares me a bit here on the big ol' internets (as a certain mom says). And the word friend really carries a lot of weight, don't you think? (as do I for that matter, but please do not comment on that!) The impetus for this blog began with my work at Christ Church Cathedral. During this season of Lent I've been leading a discussion and some retreats on the topic of forgiveness. Such a weighty, difficult, empowering (and I hate that word), hopeful, frightening topic and one that warrants frequent reflection and discussion. What a privilege it has been to wade into those waters with parishioners from several churches and with many true friends. We've used the books The Sunflower, Forgiven and Forgiving (quite possibly my favorite book of all time), and The Shack. And o yes. the Bible! I am a priest after all, and must earn my keep! So after all this slogging through Lent and these books the conclusion is...forgiveness is hard. Duh! And forgiveness, like our daily bread, must be asked for and eaten every day. No matter how much you eat at the Golden Corral buffet on Sunday (ask me about the Golden Corral some day) you are still going to be hungry on Tuesday. We sometimes tend to forget that as it relates to forgiveness. It is that important and that rudimentary. Like so much of our lives of faith, it is a matter of the daily-ness. Not one big blinding burst of Light (my apologies to St. Paul), just daily walking, daily success, daily struggle, daily tedium, daily joy. Peace y'all! Rhoda


  1. Hmmm, I think I'll have to pick up Forgiven and Forgiving before I start commenting, but I do have one question: Is forgiving hard to give or hard to receive or hard to ask for? Or all of the preceding? And once forgiven, do we still have to ask to be forgiven over and over? And to whom do we ask?

  2. Those are great questions! Let's keep this conversation going. Which is a wonderful way to say, there aren't good answers to the questions!

  3. Hello Rhoda - I'm Sandy's Jewish friend and we've met a couple of times before. I like your comments about how forgiving and forgiveness is a daily act. I know in my life being forgiving of myself is the hardest struggle of all, and a daily one. I find it easy to forgive anyone who asks for it, but I often neglect to ask the same of myself.

  4. O Cheryl! I hear you sister! For many people the ability to forgive one's own self is the greatest stumbling block. My "theological boyfriend" William Countryman says this: "Get over yourself and embrace the message of forgiveness. Get over your goodness and your righteousness if they threaten to keep you from your full participation in your humanity. Or (more germane to your point) get over your faults, your inadequacy, if they're what hold you back. Get over whatever it is that makes you self-obsessed, whatever makes you reject God's wooing of you....God is being kinder to you than you think you deserve." Wow! Now he's certainly not saying "get over it" like that's an easy thing like I say to someone who's still talking about the fact that her name was left out of the Easter bulletin 2 years ago! This is a "get over" that does not neglect to take the injury seriously, but rather take the injury seriously while at the same time reminds us that in our human struggle we sometimes have higher standards than God! Silly us! Keep posting everyone! This is great! Peace, Rhoda

  5. Letting go is soooo hard...but I firmly believe it has to be done to get through the forgiveness process. From your previous post, I too saw the interview with the pastor and his family and was also brought up short by his answer about having no relationship to heal with his daughter's murderer. I think we make too much of the fact that he is ordained and forget he is human first. He has suffered a devastating loss and we are fools to think he will overcome this loss and move on quickly. We have to let him suffer and heal in his own time and trust that God will walk with him in this journey.

    BTW, Bill Countryman is MY theological boyfriend ever since I read his book "Living on the Border of the Holy." It's about discernment your call to the priesthood of all believers. While there are many great quotes in it, my favorite is in the acknowledgements section at the end of the book where he thanked the spell checker on his computer: "I knew I had to write this book when my spell checker kept trying to change layperson to leper."

    Have a blessed Easter everyone!

    Lucy Wagner