Shuck and Jive

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My Arrival in Heaven

I am thrilled to be a new member of RevGalBlogPals. I support women in ministry--all women in ministry--and I don't just say that, I do. Since I am a new member it may be rude to make a criticism, but then again, I guess I am rude now and then. It appears that the history of movements when successful, evolve into an institutional phase. In that phase the once radical egalitarian movement develops rules, becomes incorporated, makes more rules, and then secures its bottom line. Through that successful phase, some get left out.

Recently, the board of the RevGalBlogPals made a decision to remove a member. I don't know why, but the person removed thought it had something to do with her sexuality. I don't know the person who was removed. But I do wonder about the decision.

Here is the post regarding the removal. Here is her response. Here is a commentary by MadPriest. You be the judge. Or not.

An image stolen from MadPriest that cover institutions in general pretty darn well.

And a poem. (Thanks to my friend, Neil).

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics, the trash...

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Herb, whom I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, "What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

"And why's everyone so quiet,
So somber? Give me a clue."
"Hush, child," said He, "They're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you!"

Judge NOT.


  1. welcome to Revgals ... and to the conversation.

  2. Welcome to revgals. Although I am not too sure how I feel about directing others to your page from the revgals site to receive a slap in the face.

    Sometimes we have to trust those we voted to lead to make decisions without us knowing all of the information.

  3. I would also add that no one has voted to remove said blogger from heaven or from Christ's love.

  4. welcome to revgals John.
    blessings on your ministry

  5. Ah John, glad to see you on RevGals. Glad to see that you are as feisty as ever!

  6. Sometimes we have to trust those we voted to lead to make decisions without us knowing all of the information.

    That's what they said in 2002 about Bush's decision to go to to war in Iraq.

    Leaders, unfortunately, sometimes make bigoted or exclusionary decisions. From an official statement that was made, it sounds like they were justifying this act by claiming that they were just covering their asses. I guess it is easier to cover one's ass than it is to take a risk on behalf of excluded people. Jesus, on the other hand, stood on the side of the excluded--the tax collectors and the prostitutes--rather than the excluders.

    Good for you, John, for not being afraid to tackle this issue almost immediately after having been accepted into the ring.

  7. Yes, I AM the one who wrote the blog article about discipline and discipling in the Church. But the internet is not the Church!

    All kinds of people associate with me who, if they were in their right minds would walk away.

    Of course, I'm not a woman in ministry and don't have the constraints and prejudices against me that they have . . .

  8. mystical seeker - I do not think comparing a webring decision with the decision to continue to put thousands of young, innocent lives in jeopardy, not to mention our world itself is fair or accurate or even responsible.

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  10. Well that was an awkward issue of timing. I didn't realize I was going to be introduced on the RevGal site and did not intend that to be the welcoming page for those visitng. Apologies for that RevGals.

  11. Welcome to Revgals... even in the midst of a slighted heated conversation. :)

    As someone who accepts but does not agree on every point with some who are in the RevGal webring, I wondered at why she was included. The word she uses, "polyamorous", was pushing the envelope a bit, especially in defining a biblical view of monogamous relationships.

    There are other webrings out there if RevGals does not suit... ya know?

    But again - welcome...

  12. Deb, it's not that revgals did not suit her. She did not suit the board, or someone who complained... it's still not clear.

    I say this as someone who is struggling with whether to stay.


    PS Welcome John! I love the inclusive tone of your blog. ;-)

  13. Welcome John to the human being, the human doing. Hope you have a good experience. I think it is okay to disagree, and that is part of what it is about. Why leave that? Hope you stay John, and join us in the ongoing conversation and journey.

  14. Will Smama: I don't read Mystical Seeker's comment as comparing a webring decision to our government's decision (to go to war in Iraq).

    I read it as comparing your facile dismissal of criticism to our government's facile dismissal of criticism -- that facile dismissal being "You don't have all the information; just trust us."

    In both situations, the constituency should have all the information necessary for supporting such decisions. Wrong (or disingenuous) leadership is wrong (or disingenuous) leadership, regardless of the scale of the consequences, and should be criticized as such if it is honestly so perceived. Dismissing such criticism as unfair and irresponsible is itself unfair and irresponsible.

  15. Twas written:
    that facile dismissal being "You don't have all the information; just trust us."

    I find that I do NOT need to know everything behind a decision if I trust the leadership of a group. My government I am less inclined to trust. The RevGals Board... I do trust them.

    The person in question can certainly give all the info they desire since it is their personal life. The Board chose the side of discretion and I really can't fault them for that...

    But truthfully? The place to ask for answers is from the Board - not here...

    Just thinking out loud. And procrastinating on that stinkin' paper...


  16. Thank you, Gerontissa. That was exactly my point.

    Delegating day-to-day responsibility for decision making to an elected leadership doesn't mean turning a blind eye to what the leadership does. You still have to play a kind of supervisory role, and if the leadership gets out of hand, it is your responsibility to call them on it.

    The decision to exclude a blogger because of disapproval over one's sex life is just such an example of stepping out of line. In this case, I prefer to follow Jesus's example and stand up for the powerless and excluded rather than support those who exercise their power to exclude.

    Mad Priest mentioned in his blog that this same blog ring that excluded someone on account of their sex life has just accepted a Jewish lesbian agnostic. I applaud them for their inclusiveness in this instance, and I am sure she makes a fine addition to the blog ring. However, I also think it is fair to say that consistency is not the hallmark of their decisionmaking processes.