A word from James Hindes

A little something to chew on from James Hindes, a priest of The Christian Community (http://www.thechristiancommunity.org/):

The phone rang in the late afternoon.  A young woman who had found our number in the telephone book was on the line.  Our name, The Christian Community, sounded friendly to her and she felt the need for friends.  She was scheduled the next day for an abortion and told me she wanted to discuss her decision with a minister.  I told her to come right over and we would talk.

Later I discovered she was twenty-four years old, that this was to be her third abortion in three years and that there was no ‘father’ in the picture. She admitted to enjoying life to the utmost and hoping to continue doing so.  The former abortions bothered her only late at night when she had trouble sleeping. But she knew that having a baby now would interfere with the life she wanted to lead.  Nevertheless, she was now having second thoughts about having yet another. She was in a state of complete indecision.

My task, as I saw it, was to help her make a decision as consciously as possible in the light of all the knowledge she could muster. In other words, to help her act as responsibly as she was capable. Ultimately, the decision had to be hers, of course, for she would bear most of the consequences, physical, psychological, and spiritual. Any mistake had to be hers. Only then would she have a chance to learn from it. It is a rare human being indeed who can learn from the mistakes of others.

However, I soon realized that she wanted something that I could not give her. She expected a Christian priest to tell her what to do.  Then she could either dutifully follow instructions, or, more likely in this case, rebel against perceived authority.  Either way she would no longer be responsible. All too often people try to pin me down as to exactly what my advice is.  “What would a Christian do in my situation, Rev Hindes?”  I usually answer, “Well, what do you want to do, and why?”  Christ has a special, individual relationship to the “I” of every human being.  I firmly believe that anyone striving to act out of his true “I,” that is, to do what he or she really wants to do, will be guided by higher powers, ultimately to Christ himself.  (from James Hindes, Renewing Christianity, pp. 9-10)

Since I am cutting the quote at this point, I should point out that James proceeds to examine the issues he has opened (the “I,” what we really want to do, etc) with great sensitivity – well worth reading.

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2 Responses to “A word from James Hindes”

  1. Will Says:

    Great post from a very pastorally astute clergyperson. I’ve never heard of his group, but I googled them and found a lot. You never cease to provide great links to exciting groups – kudos!

  2. John Says:

    The Christian Community (Christengemeinschaft) is a wonderful group. I have enjoyed visiting their parishes in New York and Chicago. In many ways, they resemble other independent sacramental churches, although they do not claim apostolic succession. The Christian Community is to the Anthroposophical Society as the Liberal Catholic Church is to the Theosophical Society – separate, but closely related. They have ordained women since their founding in the 1920s, and have some interesting approaches to sacramental life and teaching.

    There have been a number of points of crossover with independent churches with apostolic succession. For example, Philip Very was a CC priest who left and then became an independent bishop. A number of the folks ordained and consecrated by Very also have a background in the CC. And some indie clergy without a lineal connection to the CC (e.g., +WJ de Campenhout aka Jan Kooistra) have used the CC sacramental rituals. The situation in Europe is interesting, with some splinter groups going back to the very early days of the CC, and at least one effort that resembles the free priesthood – http://www.forumkultus.de/

    Also, for anyone around Chicago, the North American seminary of the CC offers a number of courses open to anyone: http://www.seminary-chicago.org/

    I could ramble on, but I will spare you! 🙂

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