Bridging the Divide: “We become the offering…” – conversation with John Plummer

In this moment in history, the powers that divide us are intensifying.  The sacramental work of the priest in each one of us is expressed in the work to bridge these divides.

Part of how we can do that is through the art of conversation.

Once a month (about) we will be sharing conversations with our patrons that serve this intention, conversations that reach out beyond the seminary, crossing national, cultural, religious, spiritual and geographical divides.

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Today, we share with you a conversation with John Plummer.  As Patrick describes in the introduction, John and he first met at a meeting of The Christian Community in Nashville, TN.  Though quite conversant in spiritual science, having studied it for many years, John’s destiny led him into ordination in a different tradition than our movement for religious renewal.  Knowing he was working as a pastor and priest in the middle of these tension filled, challenging times, we thought this would be a good time to reach out.

And what a rich conversation we had! We end up touching upon Cain and Abel, the role of personal development and grace and the whole mystery of ‘loving of our enemies’.

We spoke shortly after the recent U.S. election.  He spoke about the incredible divisions that have opened up in his community – revealed around both the reactions to the coronavirus regulations as well as the political season – and the deep priestly and Christian work of healing what divides us.

At one point in the conversation John brings up a story about “Mother Ann Lee”.  This founder of the influential Shaker movement in the United States describes having “a spiritual experience of seeing in spirit the gulf between humanity and the divinity, between human beings and one another – all the ways we are divided…and then she experienced being given great wings.  And then she flew and landed on the gulf and just placed, gently, one wing on each side, and then let herself become the bridge.”

In such rich imagery and theology, John brought out the core of Christian priestly work, work all of us are called towards.  Our heartfelt gratitude to John for this conversation.

John’s Bio

John was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and grew up in Nashville, Tennessee.  After theological education, he returned to Tennessee.   He was ordained in the independent sacramental movement in 1996 and currently serves as pastor of St Basil’s parish in Nashville.   He has written a number of books and articles on churches from his tradition, notably The Many Paths of the Independent Sacramental Movement.

In this conversation Patrick asks John to describe the church he serves at. If you’d like a glimpse at some photos of this church, feel welcome to see it on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/stbasilscathedral

We want to thank John so much for his time, humor and deeply open heart and hope you receive something from our conversation.

Our thanks to Elliott Chamberlin, who composed the opening music, “On the Road” and the closing music, “Seeking Together”.  You can find more of his music here.