Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A letter for Deidra Crosby who wrote about aneurysms & her dad

Dear Deidra,

I read your sermon on the Outlook blog. At least I think it is a sermon because you ended it with an amen. But I couldn’t say amen with you. You wrote about unity but did not write about truth.

In the high priestly prayer of Jesus, in chapter 17 of the gospel of John, Jesus lifts up both unity and truth. Jesus prays, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” Without truth there can be no sanctifying work which means being set apart by and for God—and the word of God written accomplishes that. The Holy Spirit opens our hearts and minds and reveals the truth of God’s word to us. There we find that Jesus is Lord and redeemer. Around his Lordship, in obedience to his word, in repentant humility we find unity.

You write that “An aneurysm is defined as an abnormal widening or ballooning of a portion of an artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel,” and compare the actions of the Fellowship of Presbyterians to an aneurysm about to burst open.

My husband and I were with friends several years ago when the wife experienced a burst aneurysm in her brain. At first we did not know what was happening. She was talking when suddenly she threw her arm out and then began to draw her whole body, arms and legs, into a tight knot. Her husband held her as we called the emergency number. Later in the hospital we could hear her through-out the emergency ward as she moaned loudly over and over trying to gain consciousness. Of such events, she had the least chance of living, but she did live.

I thought of her when I read your sermon. Her aneurysm happened spreading blood where it should not have been. But neither burst blood vessel nor its cause, whatever it was, was the identity of my friend. Instead, suffering, and crying out, she fought for her life and won. My memories of her last days in the hospital are of her smile as her husband brought her favorite cat to spend the night.

The Fellowship of Presbyterians is not an aneurysm; instead they are the body, the body of Christ, reacting to an aneurysm. They are, as all Christians are, living stones, real people following Christ. Not a piece of bad tissue.

Sin has burst its banks among us: The vow of purity has been ignored, thus eliminating peace and unity. The authority of the written word of God is ignored. The authority of the living Word of God is mocked. As the Presbyterian denomination draws in upon itself, failing to acknowledge either sickness or need, the Fellowship, and others among us, are attempting to remedy the break. As Paul said of some who took communion unworthily in the Corinthian church, some are weak and others sick and some are even asleep.

For those of us within this weary, sinking denomination may God work through all of us to renew his people. May we all smile at the end of our time of sickness with the joy of the Lord.

In the Fellowship of Christ,



Peter Larson said...

Another great blog, Viola. It is not suprising that those who have worked so hard to cause trauma, division and unholiness in the PC(USA) - infecting the Body of Christ with deadly toxins - now blame orthdodox believers for the state of the church and its unhealth. In their eyes, we are the source of the illness. They have reached that advanced stage of spiritual blindness where they mistake light for darkness, bitter for sweet and illness for health. It reminds me of the scene in Dante's inferno where Dante finally reaches the deepest depths of hell where the devil is frozen upside down in a sea of ice. Hoewever, the devil still insists that he is rightside up and that it is God who is upside down. It is hard to feel much hope for a denomination that mistakes deathly illness for health.

John McNeese said...

Aneurysms?  Deadly Toxins? Good Grief!

Paul Ogne said...

While I am honestly sorry for the loss of Rev. Crosby's father, there were many factors that contributed to his health issues.

As she explains:
"By the time I was in high school, my dad had two heart attacks behind him, was a chain smoker, a heavy drinker, and didn’t let his heart problems slow him down."

I believe that our denomination is in crisis, as some described as "deathly ill," due to years of unhealthy choices - not the body's efforts towards healing and health.

For generations church leaders have taken vows to seek the "peace, unity, and purity" of the church. Unfortunately healthy forbearance and valuing of different perspectives, like many things that are healthy in moderation and unhealthy in excess, through failing to pursue appropriate boundaries of purity, have resulted in not only in abandoning the pursuit of purity but also the repudiation of purity as a worthy pursuit.

We are now reaping what we have sown.

By seeking what we thought was peace and unity through devaluing purity, we have lost all three.

Viola Larson said...

So I have a Peter & Paul on my blog this morning: )

Thank you both. Yes there is a spiritual blindness engulfing our denomination, so how could they see anything good about the Fellowship, or those who disagree with them.

Viola Larson said...

I prayed for you this morning. I will continue to do so.