“In a world facing 40 million people dying of AIDS and an increasing gap between rich and poor, this seems like a waste of our time and energy, debating the rightness and wrongness of gay and lesbian people and their relationships… I think it breaks God’s heart that we would be focusing on such an internal issue, instead of focusing upon the world which, as I understand it, Jesus called us to…” The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson
A few years ago I attended a local Faith and Family Fairness event, sponsored by the good people at OutFront Minnesota. There was this one guy, I have no idea what faith tradition he was from, I don’t remember if he was ordained or not, sadly I don’t even remember what his name is. What I do remember was that he sounded a lot like Bishop Robinson (quoted above). He said something like “I wish I did not have to focus on this issue of sexuality as it relates to faith. I wish I could move on already and work on making a difference on the issues of global and local poverty, dis-ease, racial and socio-economic justice and the things I think Jesus was about. But I can’t. Not until this dream of equality and love for all can become a reality.”
As I reflect on these two pieces together, I wonder. It may come as no mystery to you that I have struggled to figure out what what my call/role/thang is in this. Am I called to be the flag waving, rallying, bumper sticker’ing, pride parade marching, card carrying queer — OR — am I to (what I really thought my deal was for most of my life) let my life speak (Palmer) / preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words (St. Francis of Assisi)? I mean, why do I have to do anything about this? Isn’t my life my message? Isn’t that enough?
No. It is not enough. I can no longer sit on the sidelines in my queerly charmed life and stand by to watch. I have a voice, and a community, a family, a neighborhood, a world that is desperate to hear and know what I already know. Fear sucks. Love rules. Not only does love rule, but it always wins. It is patient and kind too as long as we are at it.
I think about Paul writing to the Ephesians too. What I hear in his words is a deep longing for reconciliation and whole-ness. Until We — the big W we, like the We that includes all of G-d’s creations — grow into the fullness and unity of Christ, as Martin Luther (who’s Feast day it is today) would say:
Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen.
Luther said he simply could NOT avoid his call and it left him standing alone, waiting (but ready) for whatever G-d put in front of him next. Well, Marty, me too. I wish I could let my simple existence be enough, but on this feast day, I guess I better go look for a hammer and an anti-queer door.