Sunday, May 29, 2016

Rev Ken

On 5/22 had had the good fortune to attend a Sunday service at Crathie Kirk Church. This is a very small church in Ballatar, Scotland. The service was led by Reverend Kenneth Mackenzie who is referred to as "Rev. Ken" by the members of the congregation. I met Rev. Ken the evening before as he attended a charity concert in which my wife was performing. He was friendly, talkative, and very much alive. This meeting gave me no indication as to what was in store at the service.
     Rev. Ken started the service by talking about numbers. He stated that the numbers one and two weren't really numbers at all. It was only with three that numbers started to have meaning. He spoke about how three was the beginning of diversity. He then spoke about the mystery of the trinity. He emphasized that this mystery could not be fully known. It could only be experienced. He then reemphasized the necessity of diversity. Diversity of experience, interpretation and people. He stated that it is only through such uncertainty, diversity, and necessity of experience could the trinity begin to be understood. He then spoke about the necessity of being of service to others as that was how the message of Christ could best be kept alive.
     So here sat this aging Hinjew in a Church of Scotland service with tears of gratitude in his eyes. The most difficult aspect of living in Nashville for me has been my introduction into a definition of "being a Christian" that horrifies me at best. In Nashville I've experienced a doctrine of absolute certainty. A doctrine that separates, excludes, demeans, diminishes, and causes so much needless suffering in the name of Christ. I cannot tell you how many clients I have here that are tortured by guilt and shame as a result of their religious experience. Last year a female Pastor asked a State Senate Committee to defeat a bill that would have expanded healthcare to the poorest people in Tennessee. She stated, "...let the people know that our (healthcare) coverage is the same as with Moses and the children of Israel when they went through the wilderness with only the divine providence of almighty God", (i.e. none). The legislators did their "Christian duty" and defeated the bill. Just last month that same legislature passed a totally unnecessary bill allowing counselors to refuse to see a potential client if that client's concerns went against their own religious beliefs.
     At the end of the service I had an opportunity to talk more with Rev. Ken. I asked him just how much of a weirdo he was within his church and he assured me that rather than being a weirdo he was quite mainstream. I then shared a bit of what is going on in Tennessee and told him how much it saddened me and scared the shit out of me. His immediate response was, "Amen."

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