Rev. Miriam Baar Bush – Michigan
While the Great Lakes Catechism appears to be “pastoral” to some, I find it sadly rigid. It sets up a dualistic framework that does not reflect the broad mysteries of God, and reduces life lived in grace beyond our knowing to a binary, either/or existence.
Even the format undercuts what I have to come to experience in a life of pastoral service, spiritual direction and contemplation. The question and answer style of catechism may be helpful for some who need the answer to everything. I have come to embrace the mystery of the unfolding and unknowing.
Do we really think we can know the absolutes of grace? Don’t we severely confine the ever-unveiling truths in the Bible, itself written by men in a time of their own unfolding mystery of faith, when we insist on a static “the Bible says” experience of God? Can we look at Jesus’ perspective on relationships? Can we wonder and trust that God is in the questions?
Unlike the Belhar Confession, which, while addressing issues of apartheid, lent itself to a wider theology of inclusion, the Great Lakes catechism is a narrow exclusion. Our children and the people I serve in ministry would leave a church defined by this document; they have come to know grace, inclusion, faithfulness in same-sex relationships, and no limit to a notion of who and what and how the Holy One is.