All dressed up and standing in the corner?

April 8, 2006

Original Post Date:  4/8/2006

I've got to get a life.  I've spent the evening reading blogs.  Mostly conservative blogs, filled with anger, fear, sadness, regret, nostalgia.

I feel for them.  They seem to genuinely feel as if they have been kicked out of the church by the actions of GC03 and the increasing discussions of late.  I know what it is like to love the church – not loving the institution in the place of God but for the community it offers, the hope it spreads, the joy it can offer– and the disappointment it can impose when it leads you to believe that it rejects you; that it does not stand for what you believe in;  does not lead where you can follow.

That is the irony of the two sides of this debate – we have both felt the bitter pains of the exclusion of the great institution of the church.

And I want to help.  I want to tell them to stay, that there is room in this grand church for everyone.  But how do I do that, how do we all do that, when they say that they cannot stay if we stay?  That our very existence as full and equal members of the church causes them to leave?  It is as if we all got dressed up for the big church social and got there only to be told, "Wow- great party isn't it?  Ya know- it'd be even better if you'd go stand in the corner over there out of sight."

I don't want to stand in the corner- it is just as much my party as it is theirs.  I don't want them to leave the party or stand in the corner either.  Having them here makes the party fuller, better, more lively.  The more the merrier!  The better to experience the joy of the Holy Spirit moving among us, to share experiences, joy, sorrow, grief, love, happiness, anger– all together in community.  I long to do that together.  I cannot do that from the corner.  I cannot do that if I have to use a different sacrament, equivalent to a different baptismal drinking fountain, let's call it the party punchbowl on a table in the corner that says "GLBT Drinks Here" while everyone else is entitled to some other privilege.

It saddens me every time I read those posts that make it clear they don't get it.  They still think this is about sex.  They think that it is about Scriptural references to hard-core sexual actions.  They don't get that what we have are loving, compassionate relationships based on fidelity, mutual respect, love, commitment, monagomy, and honor– the relationships sanctioned by Scripture and not envisioned at the time by the punitive Scriptural references to sex alone outside of relationship.  That it is not about the authority of Scripture but about which Scripture has authority.

I will not stand in the corner, nor will I accept that they will leave this party without first hearing from me that I welcome them here.  I do not say to them that I welcome them if they welcome me, but I welcome them because they are human and their fears that keep them from accepting me are human, just as I am human with my own fears.  With that spirit, and with the help of God, I pray that some day they will move beyond their fear into love and join me in the center of the room, at the table, drinking with the same cup that I use.  One baptism.  One table.  One cup.  One communion.  That is the promise of the Gospel.  That is the Scriptural authority that I believe and trust in.  That is why Jesus died for us.  As we prepare for Holy Week I will be praying that I can find some way to utilize myself in this mission during this wonderful time of opportunity for our community and our church.  I pray you will join me.

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