Saturday, July 28, 2007
I wear the call of child of God, mother, wife, aunt, lesbian, professional, and maybe, just maybe the call to ordained ministry. So the journey starts with tugs towards, inklings of, random coincidences, things keep popping up, can’t seem to get this crazy idea out of my head, and then, and then the saying of it out loud first to my wife, then my closest friends, then my pastor, then my spiritual director, then finally, then finally the vestry.
And while this is happening other events occur, like my pastor speaking with the bishop, seeing what he has to say since I’m openly homosexual in a committed relationship in a conservative diocese. Finding out I can’t discern here, not formally, not informally…and soaking that in, absorbing what that means, and wringing out the pain from my being.
And while this is happening I research the ordination process, look at other dioceses, talk with two of our church’s seminarians, talk to my spiritual director, and pray for answers or ok what’s the next step Lord. If it isn’t this then what? If it is then where? If it is then when? I read spiritual direction books recommended within the ordination process handouts/guidelines, trying hard to hear. I center trying to clear my mind and let God in, really let him in, no other thoughts or worries, just time for him.
I often feel like I’m doing this alone, but that is a selfish self-pitying thought. I walk this journey with God. I walk this journey with my pastor, with my spiritual director, with my family, with my friends, and now with I hope the prayers of my church.
My frustration comes in not being able to “do” the process with my church to discern with them through a discernment committee. My frustration comes that I will have to move and start all over again. My frustration comes because I’m scared about the risks involved with moving my family and starting literally all over with new jobs, new schools, new everything, and what if it wasn’t the right call, what if I’m getting it wrong. My frustration comes in that if I wasn’t homosexual, there would be no barrier to my beginning the formal process. My frustration comes that my diocese is unable to wholly welcome me.
Going on vacation gave me space to breathe again. I told myself I would neither bring thoughts of discernment with me, nor thoughts of work, nor thoughts of things that always need to be done. I told myself I would walk away from this for awhile, and if the tug didn’t come back well then there I have it. But I find I am unable to walk away. I tried ignoring, but then I ignored prayer and study, and they both kept beckoning – come back. So I learned I don’t know how to ignore this, and I found I do not want to. What can be more beautiful then walking the path, the call God calls us to? Because in walking that path I am more fully myself, more fully a part of the world, more present to my family, more at ease with myself.
So now I wait and I pray and I think and I listen and I learn and I grow.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Inclusion with Clauses
I find it odd and absurd that gay and lesbian unions can’t be blessed. The Episcopal Church welcomes homosexuals to its church with the promise of full inclusion, well at least until you read the unpublished and typically undocumented fine print. Gene Robinson put the Episcopal Church on the map for me, until then I didn’t know that the denomination even existed. A fellow lesbian parishioner led me to our church, Reconciliation. As I learned more and more about what it meant to be an Episcopalian, the more excited I got. Here’s why I fell in love with the Episcopal Church: (1) Scripture, Tradition, Reason, (2) Women priests, (3) Gays and Lesbians welcomed as themselves, (4) via media. And these reasons why I love the Episcopal Church are also what bring me the most pain. It is reason number 4 in particular; the loop hole, the well ok, the we want everyone at the table, the so well we’ll look the other way when we don’t agree. We color it in the language of living in tension, we call it giving those who aren’t quite where the others are time to catch up; and this I can understand. But what I can’t understand is when we use via media as an excuse not to take action against injustice and discrimination.
Maybe it’s a fault of my own - an impatience with a 30 year conversation, an impatience with pure talk and not enough action. Maybe it’s a fault of my own that I’m unwilling to hold this moment in time in comparison to a 2,ooo year history. Maybe it’s a fault of my own for not being able to understand why others can’t see the beauty of my relationship to my partner, the beauty of our young family, maybe it’s my fault for not being able to see a God who finds my sexual orientation as evil and contrary to specific pieces of scripture never uttered by Jesus Christ. Maybe it’s my own fault for wanting our diocese, the Diocese of West Texas, to be like the dioceses that do bless same-sex unions that do allow practicing homosexuals to be ordained.
What I do know is that full inclusion with clauses hurts, it’s like a wound that never quite heals, every Sunday freshly poked as my heterosexual coupled parishioners have their unions blessed, never having to explain to their children why our church treats us just a little bit different. And so we begin the slow growth of the seed called hypocrisy. Do I explain to my children how sometimes the church gets it wrong even though Jesus tells us how to get it right? Do I explain to my children how sometimes “church people” are still learning what Jesus’ radical love is all about? Do I explain to my children that how the church is treating us, gays and lesbians, is contrary to the notion of what the ideal church is all about – it’s about family? And the answer is yes, to sugar-coat the issue, to avoid, to umm, well – is well, shameful to me, shameful to who I am, it is a shame I won’t carry. I’ll fast but I won’t lie; I won’t pretend that’s it’s ok. And when my children begin to ask why I stay the answer will be, because to leave the table is to leave the conversation, to acquiesce, and because the Episcopal Church eventually gets it right.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Walking With Integrity: +Gene Robinson preaches on "The Good Samaritan"#links
It's a very well done sermon that leaves one with much to think about.
Friday, July 20, 2007
1. As a kid I really liked Happy Days, and thought Fonzie was super cool. I even put stickers of him on my dresser, which didn't come off until my adult years when I stripped and restained the dresser - the dresser is now my son's.
2. I've traveled across the top part of the US, kinda through the Mid-West, and along the South-Western states in a quasy round trip one year. My ex-brother-in-law had this rule that if you used the restroom in that state it "counted as a visit." I didn't track my visits so I'm not sure how many states "count."
3. I've lived in 3 different countries: Korea, Panama, Peru, "visited" Japan, and many "visits" to Canada since their drinking age was 18 and not 21.
4. I've been attempting to learn guitar since I was 16. Have sold both of the guitars I now own once each, and bought them both back from the people I've sold them too.
5. I was married to a man for a long time before I divorced and came out with a @#$%* @#$% if you don't love me anymore because I am a lesbian and no one is putting me back in that closet bang.
6. I joined the Army during Desert Shield and was in Basic and AIT during Desert Storm, but then it was over, so my group got re-assigned or so the rumor went.
7. I did Weight Watchers and lost 30lbs, and have come to accept that I did inherit my mother's hips which I'd asked God many, many times in my teen years please not the hips, but alas, I've got curves.
8. One day I will take a vacation to New Zealand, Ireland, England, Italy, and Greece (in that order dang it).
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Greatful as a grapefruit
Thick skinned and bittersweet
Puckered lips, squinched face
chewy and hard to swallow
And the surprise at the realization
Widened eyes, that my thank yous hallow
Everything in life hard won, hard earned
I saw no god in that, but myself
Greatful as a...
Vision of God in all things
Greatful as a...
Memory to hold on to
Oh humbling gratitude
I am not alone
Never alone even when light
Is forced in through the cracks
Monday, July 16, 2007
We went this weekend to my wife's friend's wedding in Houston. The bride was lovely and her groom adoring. But, what stood out most for me, call me selfish yes, was us, the only as far as we could tell homosexuals, and the homily (it twas a Roman Catholic wedding). The good father spoke of commitment, love, trials, and endurance. He spoke of why the couple would want to profess and share their union in front of friends and family. And though I was greatly pleased to be a part of their journey in that moment, I could not help but think, if a priest, and the people present can and could understand what he was saying, how then brown cows can you could you not understand why homosexuals fight for their right to be married and blessed. The only leap required is one of imagination - switch either bride or groom for another bride or groom and here my lovelys am I.
Three forks in the road
One leads to more of the same
Another leads to Plan B
The other, ah, the other leads to leap of faith
How that other road taunts and teases and grieves me
One would think then no choice is that
But oh, how in the dark of night and random dreaming,
It glows so brightly...By what fire does it burn though
Does it burn from my desire, my will alone
Does it burn from hellfire's kiss
Does it burn as an amber lighting the way
I ask of the darkness, I ask of the dream that fades with open eyes
No committe do I have
Nor will I be given, at least not until
the fasting has been well ended
and everyone has fattened
Been listening to Team of Rivals, very good audio book, quarter way through, and the words are coloring my langauge this evening.
Monday, July 09, 2007
We took quite the trek to get to Grace Cathedral. The church is just beautiful, and the picture doesn't do it justice. I couldn't get good pictures of the stained glass windows nor the intricate cravings on the front doors. We did walk the outside labrynth as the inside one is under repairs.
This is the Palace of Fine Arts which we got to see on our way to the Exploratorium which is right next door. After our hours spent exploring we re-emrged into daylight and walked around Golden Gate Park then took our long bus ride back to the hotel.
San Fran was our training ground for Yosemite [Note: we stopped in Monterey but I didn't include any pics of the Bay]. Which after 2 days of walking those hills made our day hikes here a piece of cake. This is a picture of Yosemite's Upper and Lower Falls.
This was our view from Olmstead Point. This part of the park is only open in the summer, and after driving Tioga road for the hour it took us to get to the meadows it is very easy to see why...by the end of the day the steering wheel was getting that fried electric smell from all the twists and narrow turns. But, I am glad we took the drive.
This is the view from Inspiration Point - way in the back is Half Dome (which I now have tons of pics of) and to the left is El Capitan and if you look really hard there's a waterfall mid-right. We took a 2 hour tram tour of the valley, which was well worth the money.
We managed to have a really good mix of activities our whole trip, so the only day we were bored was the last day before flying out, because we underestimated the length of the drive back and because I didn't want to take scenic stops (though driving scenic 120 without getting out of the car wasn't too shabby either) because I worried about the rental's on-again-off-again fried sterring wheel smell.
If you ask the kids what their favorite thing to do was, they'll tell you it was swimming in the hotel's pool; good thing for scrapbooks (which my wife puts together for the big things we do).