Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were no pitfalls to pursuing the ideal of shared power in spiritual community?
Wait. I think that is my internal kid voice.
The truth is that we cannot and do not make change without trial and error. Without stumbling. And for me, even attempting to do it over a period of years hasn't necessarily made me any better at it.
Just because Godde is 'doing a new thing' doesn't mean the rest of us are up to speed.
I have also been remiss when talking about feminism as a critique of power and how we are using that critique to form new ways, hopefully more holistic ways, of being in in spiritual community and not made much of the fact that Jesus life, teaching and ministry were a critique of power.
Jesus critiqued the power of the rich v. poor, of the government v. individual, the acceptable and the unacceptable ... in each case calling his followers and the world to turn their understanding of power upside down.
Then he did this thing where he called his followers and his disciples friends. It is a model of leadership I love. Have tried to emulate. And wrestled with. And failed at.
Here's the thing: everyone comes to church with history and expectations of clergy. In an ecumenical community there is a plethora of differing expectations. Each one needing to be considered and addressed. (just thinking about it overwhelms me now) But I thought we could do it.
We call ourselves a Circle of a reason. Non-hierarchical. All on the same level. Connected. Individual tasks and calls but equal in value. That's what we aimed for. I believe Jesus lived that model in his life and ministry. I thought I could.
Newsflash: I am not Jesus.
In seminary I learned that pastors could not be friends with parishioners. I didn't believe it.
If we agree that I, as pastor, am the same as you: not better, not more holy, not more spiritual - then we share the journey in a different way. Friends fail. Friends share joy. Friends mark life passages together. Friends journey together. Friends dance together, pray together, eat together... often or seldom, but always as equals.
I learned at a time when I was brought to my knees in my personal life that the rules were still different for me as pastor. A heck of a time to have to learn that. In a community that lives compassion and inclusion for the hurting, for the mentally ill, for the emotionally crippled, it was not okay for the pastor to succumb to suffering. To fail utterly.
I blame no one for that. Just now pondering why and how we could have been different.
No answers here. Only questions.
Next up: what worked- and there is a LOT that did/does.