A reader asked what I made of Rome’s creating a new way for disgruntled Episcopalians to embrace Roman Catholicism. Answer: I see it as an opportunity for everyone.
It’s an opportunity for the dissatisfied to start over in a new place. I hope they will find relief from the burden, as they see it, of being in communion with Christians with whom they disagree. I hope it will free them to worship in joy, to move past anger and alienation, and to serve eagerly 24/7. If all they do is have one hour a week more to their liking, they will have missed the opportunity.
The departure of the disgruntled is an opportunity for those who remain – also to start over, freed from the harsh judgment, as they see it, of those who disapprove of recent decisions. Freed from an endless argument over institution, maybe they will find the courage to become a movement dedicated to transforming lives. If all the remaining do is breathe a sigh of relief at calmer annual meetings, they will have missed the opportunity.
We all need for these lifeless arguments to end. Right-opinion is a false god, and certainty is a delusion. Time to serve God by serving humanity. If that means the unreconciled going their separate ways, I don’t see any problem in that — as long as we all end up serving more.
GUEST ARTICLE ON YOGA
(In Lifeline, I have been hearing more about yoga lately. It’s all new to me. So I asked my Alabama friend Sarah Gaede to write about yoga and why it matters so much to her.)
By Sarah Gaede
As an Episcopal priest, I have always preached stepping into the unknown, and trusting that God, who is always calling us to a new thing, will provide the wherewithal to accomplish it. And I believe it—even more so after my month at yoga teacher training, which I did solely as a challenge for my 60th birthday.
I loved yoga for the physical benefits. I had no idea that it would stretch me spiritually as well. The teachers told us they were going to push us to our edge. I thought I’d been to the edge enough over my sixty years, and had nothing more to learn. Well, I was wrong. In order to become certified, I had to get past my life-long belief that I have no body awareness, something I have been telling myself since I was a tiny child. I had to believe that I could do this entirely new thing.
I meditated, prayed to Mary, chanted on my mala beads, and finally resorted to praying in tongues. And I learned to BRFWA—breathe, relax, feel, witness, allow. When my teacher Priti jumped up at the end of my last practice teach, threw her arms around me, and pronounced me “F-ing awesome”, I knew I could go to any edge, even a return to parish ministry, without losing my mind, my nerve, or my faith.
No matter what life throws me, I can come to my still center, quiet my mind, and allow the breath to move in and out. As our class mantra puts it (in Sanskrit): I bow to the energy of the divine light that sustains me — even when I’m bored in church.