For dyed-in-the-wool Presbyterians (of which there are fewer and fewer every day…although, we’re raising a new generation of them), the word “pride” evokes thoughts of sin. For pride–in our own abilities, in our own brain power, in our own efforts–is the thing that often keeps us from God.
Note some words below from John Calvin:
There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence.
For there is no one so great or mighty that he can avoid the misery that will rise up against him when he resists and strives against God.
The idea of Presbyterians organizing to be at Pride Celebration this Sunday kinda cracks me up. I know. I’m the only one.
But this kind of pride has nothing to do with the sinful pride that keeps us from God. This pride is the kind of pride that counters shame–and I am anti-shame. Shame is the pain one experiences from a deep-seated sense that you are not okay, not right, not acceptable. It is one of the worst pains we encounter as humans, and one of the hardest from which to find relief. When a person who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ intentionally inflicts that kind of pain on another child of God, it’s not okay, not right, not acceptable. (I would say it’s shameful, but I am anti-shame).
So this Sunday after worship, a group of Presbyterians will humbly take our place, handing out cookies and information across the street from the Beers for Queers pride celebration, praying that we might make some small progress toward undoing the damage that the Church has done. We will be there to let all people know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and loved beyond measure.
And, may God (and Calvin) forgive me, but I’m pretty proud of that.
–Rev. Anne Russ