I occasionally write for a blog that my denomination hosts. Usually I limit myself to writing during our annual assembly unless something big is happening, but every once in a while I get a yen to write about something denomination-specific. This happened just last week, after I had attending the meetings of our executive committee and commissions. I'm the moderator of the Commission for Women, which means that I spent three days talking about all the injustices women face in our in-progress denomination, which affirms women's ordination in general but provides an "out" for those who aren't down with the equality thing.
I've been living with the consequences of that "out" since I joined this denomination in 1999 and was rapidly disabused of my initial delusion that this would be a happy, accepting place for women (I was fleeing from a reactionary fundagelical experience at the time). As a member of the Commission for Women, it's been part of my task to hear the worst of the stories of what women have experienced. Hearing all that crap so consistently can sometimes make one maybe the slightest bit bitter. So, I did what I do: I blogged about it.
And then the firestorm began.
There are now around seventy comments on that post. Many of them are from anonymous authors. In fact, I think only one of my detractors identified himself. All the usual accusations are there. I'm angry, I hate men, I'm not to be trusted anyway as I'm a supporter of the evil gays, blah blah blah. There are lots of threats that they will leave the denomination if they're not allowed to be nasty to women candidates and ministers, which is apparently supposed to bother me. I'm not sure why the exodus of a bunch of people who harass me and threaten my ordination would bring me a tremendous sense of loss, but whatever.
I'm more or less used to this sort of thing, although it's been a bit more concentrated this week than most. But I'm starting to think it's just the warm-up. My church just voted to allow same-sex marriages, and our regional assembly will be discussing it tonight. A minister who was disciplined a few years ago for performing a marriage has just been reinstated, so tensions will already be high. On Saturday, I found lists of biblical quotations about sexual immorality posted on the church doors, which I'm guessing may be some sort of commentary (again, anonymous) about our recent decisions. I suspect we are in for a rocky ride in the months to come. Because what we need is people verbally beating each other up again for a while, that being such an effective way for the church to function. I can't help but think that the powers of evil are chuckling with glee while we distract ourselves by ripping each other apart while the injustices of the world run rampant all around us.