When I launched the Restoring the Waters website several years ago, I had thought it possible – and had made a commitment – to separate my eco-spiritual life from my institutional church life. I have been faithful to that commitment, but I think there has been a cost. Often I find myself wanting to speak either on behalf of or (more often) against the principles and practices of my institutional experience. Until now, I had silenced that part of my life, but that decision has cost some richness and depth. Besides, in the same way that all life forms are interconnected, so are such diverse human endeavors as ecology, medicine, religion, economics, politics . . . I could go on. It’s not possible to separate them out.
The Episcopal Church, in which I have served as priest for twenty-five years, has gifted me in many ways, even when the gift appears (short-sightedly, I think) to have negative value. The Church has given me a language, without which I couldn’t think – much less write – as I do. That language has allowed me to give expression to what we all know, simply by virtue of having lived our own precious lives. To have not only language but shape and form for the expressions of death and resurrection; redemption; compassion; justice; relationship; forgiveness; love; peace – I am grateful.
That said, the search for meaning and value, and their ritual sacramental expression for which the vast majority of us humans yearn, has been identified, defined, and laid claim to by the Church. That’s a problem!
So . . . in this revised public venue of Restoring the Waters, I intend to claim and embrace what I know about this sacred world – most of which has never been church dependent. In fact, the invitation is to explore with me my deepest challenges to the institutional church.
My work in the Church has been valuable, however, and I want to set aside a section which gives access to the best of my congregational resources freely offered to the Church, all of which have been enthusiastically received and – for the most part – institutionally ignored. I say that with not too much rancor, and with immeasurable gratitude for those like souls who have partnered with me during these decades, particularly my husband Jim Sims.