Today’s contribution to the #WeAretheRCA series is from the Rev. Susan J. Hetrick, who serves at the Oasis Renewal Center in Arizona.
Dear General Synod 2016;
I was unable to attend General Synod in person this year, but I watched on Livestream, and I could not believe what I was seeing. I am so dismayed and saddened by what occurred. As an LGBTQ+ ally and a welcoming Minister of Word and Sacrament, I am still reeling.
The RCA has embarked on a 15-year goal of “Transformed and Transforming,” but what happened in June seemed more like defiantly shoving our head into the sand. What part of Transforming do we not understand? Is it the fact that WE – not just “those people”- need to do some transforming?
Father Richard Rohr describes transformation as follows: “Transformation begins with a new experience of a new Absolute, and, as a result, your social positioning gradually changes on almost all levels. Little by little you will allow your politics, economics, classism, sexism, racism, homophobia and all superiority games to lose their one-time rationale. You just “think” and “feel” differently about most things. If this does not happen in very specific ways, I have no reason to believe you have been converted. Your motivation foundationally changes from security, status, and sabotage to generosity, humility, and cooperation.”
Judging by the result of General Synod 2016, we have shown very little evidence of being transformed as a denomination. In our Communion liturgy we pray, “Grant that, being joined together in Christ, we may attain to the unity of the faith and grow up in all things into Christ our Lord.” But by insisting that the RCA take a stand of exclusion regarding LGBTQ+ people and same-gender marriage, we look for all intents and purposes like a stubborn child – arms crossed and bottom lip stuck out – who has not gotten their way. Which is a really sad when you consider that the RCA is almost 400-years old.
I will continue to pray that one day the RCA will indeed grow up.
Casting my net with yours,
Rev. Susan J. Hetrick