Sunday, April 19, 2009

A sermon I thought about giving

Yesterday was the diocesan confirmations at Grace Cathedral. I went as part of the St. John's contingent, but three of the parishes presenting youth were using Confirm not Conform which emphasizes hugely that youth need to make up their own mind about whether or not to be confirmed. In fact, that's main premise of CnC: that youth choose to be confirmed for themselves rather than conform to other people's (particularly parents') expectations.

So it's a bit unfortunate that the bishop began his remarks to the confirmands before the service with, "Some of you are here because your parents want you to be confirmed. And that's a good reason, because you are honoring your mother and father." Ummm...oh dear. Dearie dearie dear. Given that, oh, 2/3 of the confirmands had been through CnC where they were told over and over (as were their parents) that they should NOT be confirmed just because their parents wanted them to, this was...unfortunate.

I have to give the disciples a big thumbs up for how they dealt with Thomas--Thomas included. One of the things today's gospel reading suggests to me is that you can't force someone to believe something if they don't believe it. You just can't. And you can't force yourself to believe something if you don't believe it either. And each person has different experiences that make believing possible or not possible. And that it's OK to be in fellowship with someone who believes something different from you. They may change. They may not. But belief is a mysterious thing that cannot be dictated. And I think it's dangerous and potentially damaging when we think we can.

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