Week of Mar 7-13, 2021.
Sitting in the Tension
In the Psalms of Orientation, the world is depicted as solid, predictable, and stable. Life, the universe, God’s law – it all fits together. These psalms express gratitude to God who sits on the throne of this ordered, stable world. Psalms of Orientation have a rational feel to them. Reality makes sense.
In the Psalms of Disorientation, reality isn’t working out the way the psalmist expected. Previous mental frameworks about life and God don’t fit lived reality. Life no longer makes sense. These psalms express distress, confusion, anger and lament. Psalms of Disorientation have a distinctly emotive quality to them.
In the Psalms of Reorientation, the psalmist bears witness to an experience of God in the midst of the hardness and confusion of life, delivering, releasing, clarifying, strengthening. With this experience comes an opening of the heart and mind. The Psalmist sees with new eyes, knows and trusts God in new ways. Within the suffering, there has been an integration of emotion AND reason, and the fruit is wisdom. There is usually a desire in these Psalms to share this new revelation of God with others. In Psalm 40, David talks about singing a new song, and his refusal to seal his lips.
We cycle through these stages of prayer over and over in our lifetime, spiraling our way deeper into gratitude, through suffering, into wisdom and witness. Individuals spiral through these stages. So do communities and institutions.
It is interesting to lay this rubric of the Psalms over our denomination’s current tension over welcoming LGBTQ as members:
Some churches are firmly planted in Orientation: God’s law is clear and good. The Bible says homosexuality is wrong, and therefore, it is wrong. Gay Christians should not be allowed in church membership.
Many pastors and churches are in Disorientation: the reality of LGBTQ people and the law of God seem to be in tension. Folk are wrestling, feeling conflicted and confused, wondering how to both be faithful in love and faithful to the words of scripture.
A few churches within our denomination have passed through this conflicted and confused stage and have arrived at a place of clarity and unity around a new vision: full inclusion of LGBTQ Christians in the life of the church. They want to declare their new vision to the denomination and their surrounding communities. First Church in Edmonton has passed a statement this fall, and Kitsilano Church in Vancouver just did the same last weekend.
The Notice of Motions distributed to all pastors in the CBWC this February increases the pressure on churches to choose where they land on the affirmation and inclusion of LGBTQ folk. Here is a pared-down version of the three motions that will be voted on at the 2022 General Assembly:
Motion #1: We, member churches of the CBWC affirm the identity statement. (Which includes the statement on marriage as between one man and one woman.)
Motion #2: The churches of the CBWC establish membership practices and criteria in alignment with Assembly-approved resolutions and statements.
Motion #3: Because the Assembly approved these three statements: in 2003, marriage is understood as between one man and one woman; and in 2011, that there is to be no sexual behaviour outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage; and in 2015, CBWC churches and ministers must demonstrate Christian love to individuals who are same gender attracted; be it therefore resolved that all CBWC ministers, executive staff, and board members uphold these three Assembly-approved statements.
During Lent, we at Southpoint are intentionally taking time to sit with this question of inclusion in preparation for the General Assembly in 2022. We, too, are asking ourselves who we are, who we welcome, and who God is calling us to be?
Thank you for sitting in the tension of this conversation.
It can be uncomfortable to talk about complicated topics such as sex, sexuality, gender, marriage, inclusion, exclusion. It is hard work to explore, observe, and name what boundaries we can collectively hold and honour together. It is hard to let go of control and open up the space for these conversations when we don’t know exactly what will be shared or spoken. It is easier to just not go there. But I believe that these conversations, as awkward and as bumbling and as uncomfortable as they might be, are what love looks like for us right now. And I believe we can do hard and uncomfortable things.
If you feel the need for support, have questions or comments, or seek to give feedback, please be in touch with me. Your voice is important and valuable and your perspective is important to us.
*For further reading on the Psalms of Orientation, Disorientation, Reorientation, I highly recommend Walter Brueggemann, Spirituality of the Psalms.
This link will provide you with the information you need to join our Sunday service at 10:00 am.
You may like to have a candle at hand to light during the service, and the elements of Communion ready for that portion of our worship.
March 14 Brian Oger
Clearing an Outer Pathway: The Grit of Courageous Hospitality
Luke 15: 1-10
March 21 Nadia Vanderkuip
Removing Boulders: The Grit of Changing Your Mind
March 28 Christie Goode
The Cleared Path: When Tension Eases into Spaciousness
Rev 7: 9-10 and 22: 17
Lent At Home
Lean into this practice of prayer with your children and yourselves : the Lenten Pathway (link) and Prayer Journey (link). The prayers can be incorporated wherever you can carve out a window in your day to turn your attention towards the well of God’s love.
As you enter into this season: drinking deeply, clearing out the rocks and enlarging the circle, may you be met in your journey towards the well.
Youth Events in March
Fellowship of the Ring.
Zoom at 6:30 pm.
Roots group hike around Burns Bog at 11:00 am.
Everyone welcome – even dogs!!
Meet in the Planet Ice parking lot.
There may be cinnamon buns for hikers!
Order of the Phoenix.
Zoom at 6:00 pm
Wednesdays at Noon, by Zoom
If you would like to join in, please contact Anne (778-878-4352, email).
If you have a confidential prayer need, please contact John Hardy (email).
If you’re needing to talk or to pray, please contact Anne (778-878-4352, email).
Thank you for considering your giving while we are not meeting in person. Possible means of giving include:
Pre-authorized debit (monthly or one-time) with our linked form. Cost to Southpoint is $0.50.
Paypal to the The Church at Southpoint. Cost is 3% of the donation. No Paypal account is required, only a credit card.
Charitable Impact Foundation.
Cost is 2.8% of the donation.