Tying the knot?

Back in May '07 (or sometime thereabouts) my former mentor Ann Redding had her priesthood put on hiatus due to her admission to the Seattle Times and the Episcopal Church that she was both a Christian and a Muslim. That is, she'd undergone a religious conversion of sorts, and now was practicing in two different spiritual systems. Now I'm working for an organization called Multifaith Works, which functions according to the assumption that there are inherent similarities between faiths that lead us to compassionate action. As part of my preparation in that job, I'm reading stories by people who practice Islam and Buddhism and the Bahai faith, and generally recognizing the similarities between them and myself. On Monday, I went to a session from our Diocese that pointed out Episcopalian boundaries--that is, what is essentially required of a priest in our tradition. In the midst of all of this, the Church and I are trying to decide if we want to get married. If we do so, these days it doesn't necessarily mean forever, but a bad marriage is always messier than a bad dating relationship, and there are going to be some consequences if we decide to get a divorce.

Right now our hesitancies are centering around our respective personality quirks. Even though she sometimes tries really hard not to, the Church has this inherent tendency to be controlling--to need to tell me who I need to be. In Seattle she's mostly gotten over her need to define strictly my theological perspective, but she's still not past her tendency to be nitpicky about the way I behave, and the way I should organize my faith and practice. She doesn't want to be embarrassed, and so tends to be uptight with worry that something from my evangelical past might come out in public, I might not say the right things at our worship service, or I might not genuflect towards the appropriate leader. Although she says she doesn't, I know she often questions whether I'm good enough for her.

For my own part, I know that I cause problems with my tendency to be non-commital. Even though I'm generally happy with her now, I have this impression that she won't look as pretty ten years from now, seeing her day in and day out. I'm a faithful kind of guy--I'm not going to cheat on her--but I can't guarantee that this will last forever. If it works, great, if it doesn't, I'm not sure I'm willing to sacrifice my happiness, or my family's happiness, for hers. The problem is that I know I have options, and I'm not sure that I can't or won't find something better.

There have been a few warning signs in our relationship. I already know that a lot of my friends don't like her, and I'm sometimes embarassed to introduce her in public. She's a little snooty, and though she's generally discreet when she's been drinking she can be obnoxious and offensive. She tries to be tolerant, but I'm worried that its just not in her nature as an institution with boundaries and principles. I sometimes think that we'd be better off as just friends, but at this point I've concerned that that sort of relationship won't work for us. We've either got to get married or break up: flush the toilet or get off the crapper.

For now, we're treading water and seeing if this will work. If she starts talking about having children, I'm out of here, but for now I'm willing to see if we can work things out. The Church may be a whore, but for now she's still my girlfriend.


Anonymous said…
take a mistress
bob said…
Ann Redding has simply ceased to be a christian. Even some parts of the Episcopal Church can figure that out, and as usual (you're too young to recall the first female cleric from here, Laura Fraser, who was every bit and then more embarrassing than Redding. Go ask about her, and watch the waffling) can think of nothing to do about it. That is because they know and understand nothing of Christianity. They are too busy redefining their
version of religion this week to recall what it was two weeks ago, let alone 2000 years ago. Very depressing. While you're considering being a cleric, ask yourself (or anyone else there, they know no more than you) just what would happen if you decided to do the eucharist yourself. Now, at home. What would they "do" to you? Based on *what* authority? No answer. Because there is no thought. No understanding of the faith, no basis for anything they do. Before asking about being ordained, think about the fact that
Episcopalians have no training in being a layman in the first place.
Unknown said…
Yea! My first anonymous angry rant comment!
Anonymous said…
as i take it, bob is not episcopal? then again, maybe bob is, since you rascals can believe or not believe anything you want. his language speaks of the proverbial "they". i think he means episcopals. so maybe bob isnt episcopal. $50 says bob aint no marcionist witch.