Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Is it alright with God?

Last week I explained to my 4-year-old grandson that I was going to be gone for four days to Washington, D.C.
“Why?” he asked.
“I’m going to the investiture of Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman presiding bishop and the first woman primate in the Anglican Communion.”
“Oh. Does God know?"
“Yes,” I said, “God knows. God will be there.”
“Is it alright with God?”
“Yes, it is very alright with God,” I said.
“Is it alright with you, GrandMom?” he asked.
“Yes, it is alright with me.”
“Then it’s alright with me!” he exclaimed, and leaped into my arms.
I was tickled by this exchange, as any grandmother would be. It’s nice to know he is interested in what both God and I think.
But it also grieved me that at age 4 he’s already picked up on the fact that God might have a problem with a female presiding bishop.
It’s because he lives in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. Here, even though both his parents and his grandparents think the ordination of women is one of the best things that the Episcopal Church has ever done, topped only by the election, approval and consecration of Gene Robinson, this child already has been infected by the toxic fumes of misogyny.
And why wouldn’t he? He never sees a woman presiding at the altar at our parish except for rare special occasions when we import one. He knows “Father Fred” and “Father Bill” and knows that his beloved Da is “Father Pool.” But he never sees women in clerical garb unless Deacon Janet happens to be about.
He knows that the bishop doesn’t “like” women priests because he’s heard us talk about it. Like most children, he doesn’t miss a thing when adults are in conversation.
He’s four. His brother is two.
They are why I get exasperated when people from elsewhere in the church tell me to be “patient.”
I really don’t what to one day be holding a great grandchild who asks of women in churchly authority, “Is it alright with God?”


Anonymous said...

"It grieved me...he has already picked up on..." and "He knows because he has heard us talking about it". Well, duh! Then why does it 'grieve you'? Or why don't you all hold your tongues in the presence of the child if you do not want to oppress him with your worry-worting?

Anonymous said...

I believe I do understand your feelings. I think it is not our family that gives these ideas to our young but the babbling majority around us outside our homes. I have a hope that we as Christians can learn to ask what would Jesus do in my situation and try with all our hearts to follow the answer we receive. This is, in my experience not easy but it is doable.
Thank you for the beautiful posting.
Big Bear City, CA

Anonymous said...

Four-year-old: "Is it alright with God"
I don't believe it. Never happened, did it?