Clayton at Weight of Glory posted the following from the infamous St. Joan of Arc parish in Minneapolis.
I, like many of you, have had my own struggles with our parish transition and knowing that we have completed only part of the journey. I have known for quite some time about George’s retirement plans and yet it was a shock when it finally became real. I didn’t want to let go of him. I barely made it through my farewell remarks about George at the Friday night celebration without crying.
When I was asked to be on the transition team, I was honored and yet worried about keeping 4500 households happy when I knew we really would have much work and responsibility, maybe a little influence and no authority and no control. I feel a great weight from the worries that sit in the midst of our parish life about who will be sent to us and if he will be a fit. I’m hurt that it has to be a him and can’t be a her. I’m frustrated that after seeking out and interviewing 30 people that we haven’t secured the right fit. I have been confused and upset over Jim’s not being appointed. I can’t help the emotions. They just happen. But, spiritually, I have to decide what I am going to do with those emotions. There is the challenge.
For myself, I have continually found peace and faith and trust with my transition team partners. I have trust in the universe and the God that can hold us, just like the water holds the swimmer. I have vast trust in the resiliency of this entire community that no matter who comes here we will gain in our spiritual journey from that person in unpredictable ways. The new pastor will gain much from us and be influenced by us. That happened with George and with other pastors that we have had. It will happen again. I am not afraid that we will have an appointee who will challenge our deepest essence. We will remain Joan of Arc but in a new shell and we will all swim together. We are not alone. We are in a trustworthy world even when the temporary darkness seems threatening.
I feel called to act as a member of a peace church even when I feel threatened. I challenge myself to not create enemies where there are none. To the degree there is concerns with the hierarchy, I’m trying to practice love, the serenity prayer and integrate that with the Buddhist practice of nonattachment and I all I know from the Theory of Everything that I teach.
Clayton emailed me and asked "They’re looking for a new pastor, and I think it’s something like looking for a new Golden Calf to worship." Well he is right and I do wonder about the situation there. Is it really true that they are interviewing for a new pastor? As far as I know it would be the bishop who would appoint the pastor and the idea of this very heterodox parish interviewing and rejecting 30 people smacks of what occurs in many Protestant churches where the congregation votes on to approve a new pastor. The chance of this parish selecting a priest faithful to the church is about the same as Barbara Streisand singing at the 2008 Republican conventions.
The israelites fell into idolatry when instead of waiting for Moses decided to return to their previous Pagan practices while in Egypt. The parishioners of St. Joan of Arc’s will also not listen to the Pope or their bishop and have also returned to Pagan practices. The Israelites fell back into the practices of the society they were raised in and this parish has also fallen to the recidivistic practices of our society. Aaron in his weakness went along with the people’s requests even though he knew it was not right. I would not cast Archbishop Harry J. Flynn totally as an Aaron, but he has allowed this parish to fester and spread its error with minimal rebukes and even when the pastor was finally relieved the diocese said it was just a normal retirement.
Now considering that this parish is interviewing priests for "the right fit" it makes me wonder what their help wanted ad might look like.
Wanted presider for a vital and progressive Catholic worship space. A successfully applicant should:
Be over fifty with gray hair requested, but not necessary. Should hold to the spirit of Vatican II, but need not have read the documents of Vatican II. In fact it is the spirit that gives life and the words are of no avail to paraphrase what Jesus really meant.
Have dynamic heterodoxy and be able to construct sermons using such words as inclusive, dialogue, empower, narrative on-the-fly without pre-thought.
If male – be willing to apologize for the fact and to be totally supportive of priestesses.
Have never been a member of the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club and if you went into mourning at the election of Pope Benedict XVI this is a plus.
Be a subscriber to the National Catholic Reporter and Commonweal.
Be flexible to the idea of dogma except in our dogmatic beliefs such as women’s ordination, that both homosexual acts and homosexual marriage are goods, and that abortion is a valid choice.
Be able to conduct GLBT prayer services in drag.
Have a devotion to Our Lady – Gaia that is. Eco-spirituality a plus.
Be open to Jazz in a liturgical setting with members of St. Joan of Arc’s Cecelia Jazz society.
Be able to help with and support our productions such as the upcoming Cabaret 2005.
Be able to help people with spiritual healing. No we are not speaking about confession, but though our healing circle conducted by the Body/Mind/Spirit Ministry using healing energies such as Reiki or healing touch.
Have not problem with he words gym and vestibule used together.
Orthodox Catholic priests need not apply.
Actually after reading their home page the above parody is mild by comparison. You would think with a parish of so many gifted individuals that they might be able to create a web site that wasn’t just plain ugly.