And sometimes you have to sit down.
The level of a anxiety at the Churchwide Assembly is troubling. It is probably also good, as it indicates that we are experiencing the pain of growth, which does sometimes require conflict. But it fells icky being in the midst of folks who are so angry with one another.
What drives it home is when we hear from other folks. Bob Edgar, chair of the National Council of Churches, spoke today, as did a rabbi (apologies that I don't have his name for you) representing Reform Judaism. This was the first time a non-Christian had addressed the Assembly. His address was wonderful (except for the part about the wall being necessary). He talked about culture run amok ("Reality television is becoming stupider and more offensive every day") and our need to call ourselves to something higher. Then he cautioned that we must also look beyond personal piety to the hurting world. Good words.
I'm reminded that at its best the church is the place which speaks a word of grace to a hurting world, brings food to the hungry, and shelters those who are homeless. It will be a good day when we move beyond arguing about issues of sexuality and return to care for a world in need.
Sorry if this is disjointed. Worship is in five minutes, and I don't want to miss the chance to share the eucharist with my fellow Lutherans, the ones with whom I agree, and the ones with whom I don't. That is what makes us the Body of Christ--the ability to stand together in the light of God's grace, the final word on all, and to all.