I recently committed to working at being more positive about the things I care about, defining my beliefs more by what I am FOR than what I am AGAINST. Ideologically, it’s not hard for me. I am a generally optimistic person, and I have a relatively high view of human nature (except during elections and at sports events). Personally, emotionally, it isn’t easy. We live in a culture drenched in negativity, pessimism, polarization and fear-mongering… ah, but there I go: complaining again.
What excites me and reflects my highest hope is when people, inspired by conscience or the spirit, choose to assert new paradigms (or overthrow old ones) inside the matrix of an existing structure or institution. That is not to say I always agree with every possible assertion. What I particularly appreciate is the desire to honor the past, to honor a community or church or culture of origin, while still challenging those beliefs and assumptions. I believe that the only way to really change a structure without violence is from the inside. Maybe it’s all about keeping hold of that baby while draining the tepid water.
I don’t always manage to do this well (or gracefully). And a counterargument could be made that the baby actually drowned in the bathwater (not to sound morbid…). There are times for reformation. And there are times for shifts that seek unity - perhaps multilateralism.
There's an initiative called Roman Catholic Womenpriests that fits this mold in my mind:
Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) is an international initiative within the Roman Catholic Church. The mission of Roman Catholic Womenpriests is to spiritually prepare, ordain, and support women and men from all states of life, who are theologically qualified, who are committed to an inclusive model of Church, and who are called by the Holy Spirit and their communities to minister within the Roman Catholic Church.Simultaneously, there are times when these efforts necessitate genuine conflict, and that can be quite messy. In July of this year, the Vatican condemned efforts of Womenpriests, putting female ordination in the same level of "grave crime" as child sex abuse by priests. Very sad.