On Central Things

I have spent my first weekend intensive at Nashotah House. Yes, you read that right. A female bleeding heart low church liberal is a seminarian at Nashotah House. 

And I wasn’t tarred and feathered. Quite the contrary. I was welcomed.

I was in a class with every imaginable part of the communion. Focused on liturgy.  Our professor, Fr. Kevin Maroney, began with Lathrop’s Central things. I wrote a reflection paper on the book before the House, but my reflection after the House is what Fr. M. would call,”confused on a more informed level.”

On the one hand, Nashotah was a good example of walking together overall.  On the other hand prejudices were not absent.  In particular women serving in the chalice bearer role each day met one visitor who refused communion until a man could provide the service. It was handled with grace as it should be. But was in staunch opposition to the openness we seminary sisters would otherwise have felt.

The central parts of our worship of Bible, baptism, table, word were present, always present. It is after all this theology which is our common liturgical dna. But when table was disrupted, God was nonplussed. These family squabbles were not central.

The House has a reputation of conservatism and slow change, but I was not left with the feeling that such circumspection was a problem when a commitment to walk together is present. When focus on God’s presence is the main course at a table, it simplifies things.
The marriage vote in Canada this week cautions me that all inclusive means all.  I wonder that so many “inclusive” types wish to disown their brethren who are conservative, and so many conservatives want to run. Do they not understand these central things?


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