Friday, June 20, 2014

I don't get it

Because I have never lived it.

Last night I went with Kerry and Nikki to a panel discussion called "At the intersection: LGBT and the Black Church."

It was really interesting and thought provoking and heart breaking.  I heard stories about the wounds and rejection of the LGBTI community in churches that consider homosexuality a sin.  I heard about people who were allowed to do their ministry as long as they did not reveal who they were.And I heard about depression and suicides.

What is always hard for me is the fact that I love the church and believe in the power of the community and love of God that is experienced in a church that is trying to be guided by Jesus and the word of God.  What
really frustrates me is people who say they take the Bible literally and use this wonderful sacred text to dismiss and revile spirit hungry people. And the church which is - I believe - called to be a "laboratory of love" instead becomes a place where people leave traumatized.  I cannot imagine what it is like to be a faithful Christian who is gay who must listen to their preacher tell them they are going to go to Hell.

So....I don't get it.  I don't get this interpretation of the Bible and I don't get why anybody would stay under those circumstances. Someone said that they stayed for a while because they were still spiritually fed even though they themselves were not celebrated.  I did hear people say that at some point "enough is enough" and they leave.  And one woman said "when you are real about who you are, then your relationship with God goes deeper."

I really appreciated one man who stood up and said, "I've been delivered.  I've been delivered from being delivered."  And he made the very good point that the LGBTI community should get to really study the Bible themselves so that they might understand that Sodom and Gomorroh is not about sodomy but hospitality and that Adam and Eve is a story that is not meant to say that marriage is being a man and a woman.  And they should read with understanding and enlightenment the words of Paul and see the writings of Leviticus in context and most of all know that our Lord Jesus said NOT ONE WORD about homosexuality.  we do not have to reject the Bible in order to love and welcome and celebrate all people.

So, I was glad I was there and I hope my contribution (yes, I actually spoke in the meeting....saying that if you want to do something for the children, let them see gays and lesbians in leadership in the church.  Which means finding a church where you can be in leadership - there are more and more of us out there) was appropriate and helpful.

Most of all, I am still left with the clear understanding that as a white, straight woman who comes from a  mainline denomination - there are limits to my really understanding how difficult it is to walk away from the church tradition that was part of your childhood.

All I know for sure is that my God is a God of love and invitation and welcome of all people.  And as a shepherd, it is my task to lead and care for  the sheep.  If there is any changing to be done in any of us - that is up to God.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Catching UP

We all have seasons in our lives.  Sometimes we go through seasons of grieving, or sickness and suffering and sometimes it is seasons of joy and celebration.

My personal life has been full of the latter in the past month and I have not posted much about it.
.  There have been three major events that have occurred and I celebrate them and am awed by how I continue to see God at work.

The first is the WEDDING.  Miranda and Audrey were legally married in Washington DC last October in a service which was very small - only the two moms, two friends and a minister. Last month we had the big family and friends wedding in Glascow Kentucky.  It was a wonderful weekend and provided an opportunity for a family reunion and for all of us to witness this marriage.  Because these are two women getting married, there was, to me, a deeper sense of the importance of  support as they will live their lives in a world in which not everyone approves.  This gathering also had many moments of grace and reconciliation.  Our family has been divided by divorce and death and there is just something about all of us being together on the dance floor that is so healing and so good. I am amazed when I consider that it was only 10 years ago that Audrey "came out" to me.  I have watched her during that time struggle and grow. She has been through  trials both in answering God's call to ministry  and finding love.  And the challenge of being a lesbian ordained pastor continues, but the love question has been resolved.  Miranda is such a wonderful partner for her - strong, organized, fun and faithful.  I feel so happy about their union.

the second is the BAPTISM.  I had the rare gift of baptizing my granddaughter Reagan two weeks after the wedding.  She has been through our "pastor's class" and that also was a real joy to me to get to share my faith with her and to watch her as she really begins to understand about being a follower of Jesus Christ.  The baptism was another opportunity of bringing family members together that just heartens my spirit.  It was a day of great blessing for me.

And the third was the SHOWER.  Kacey and Dawn put together a shower for my daughter Marnie who is expecting her third baby.  And it was just fun to watch the variety of women in Marnie's life come together to  celebrate a new baby.  The baby is due next month and I am eagerly awaiting her arrival and so aware of the blessing of a new life that is desired and welcome.  Every baby should be as loved as this one already is.

I think I have not written so much lately because there has been so much good.  The one thing I find myself thinking more and more lately is how much I wish my parents could see what is happening in the life of my children and my grandchildren.  They would love it!

When my parents died I learned that it is actually easier to talk about bad news with friends than it is to celebrate the good news. But this blog is a record for me of my life and I need to honor these remarkable blessings of this spring in my life.

A new marriage, a new life in Christ, a new baby.  New beginnings all!