Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Myth 2: Timing is Everything

Not here. Not in terms of how we must always keep the voice of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk in front of the church, at all times, in the strongest of justice-loving ways, and in spite of any “odds” of changing the church at one point or another.

In our work, in our lives, we have only the present. The rest is in God’s hands. Time is important, if only as a reminder. A reminder of how long this difficult struggle has been taking place. A reminder that for nearly forty years our baptized sisters and brothers have been marginalized and rejected by this church, except in the most limited of ways. If you are LGBT you are only partially accepted in this church, which means you are not accepted at all.

Whatever time may be, it has not been something in our favor. It is a myth to suggest that time will change our situation for the better. If anything, “the waiting for the right time” has been an albatross hung around the neck of this Body of Christ; a yoke that bears the signature of all but Christian love. To delay in any way to set our face to the General Assembly with other than the full and unconditional inclusion of the LGBT community in our hearts and on our lips is to favor our own comfort at the expense of our sisters and brothers. That, my friends, goes against every Christian tenet and principle I have ever learned.

Honestly, I don’t get it. What is the reason for waiting? Are we not “done” yet?

There can be no silence when others who are oppressed and excluded are unable to speak for themselves. In that place of imposed silence, we who can speak have a sacred responsibility to do so, regardless of the outcome of any proposals. It is not the proposal or the possibility of its passage that frames this call, but the voice we have been given to speak: as one, together, unmistakably in concert, heart, and soul. The LGBT community and all others who are excluded from this church have to hear that they have not been forgotten. We need to continuously invite this church to join us in this God-given, fundamental call that we share for inclusion, justice, and love.

In the recent decision of the GAPJC regarding Janie Spahr and her marrying of same gender couples, the ruling stated:

“It is acknowledged by those who have heard this case at every level that Spahr has acted in light of her call and the church’s call to participate in a caring and compassionate ministry to persons who have been marginalized, who are faithful Christians, and who wish to be accepted in every way as full members of the body of Christ. In this, Spahr may consider herself to be acting in the role of a prophet to the church, while others would reject such a characterization. Prophecy contains risk and uncertainty both for those who would speak and for those who listen. The role of a prophet carries consequences.”

What we do carries consequences. It is not the outcome that carries consequences, but what we do now. Let us embrace the consequences of action and prophecy that embody faithfulness and justice, love and courage. These are not the products of time, but gifts of the Spirit. Such gifts are given us because we need them to do the right thing, which is always in the present.

Once again, I call for all the progressive groups to come together for this General Assembly with one voice and embrace the call to cure this church of the twin soul-sicknesses of procrastination and homophobia. What are we waiting for?

Here’s what I believe we are called to do: Remove G-6.0106b from the Book of Order, strike the Authoritative Interpretation of 1978/1993[1], change the language of marriage in the Directory for Worship, and correct the Heidelberg Catechism in our Confessions.

To say we are loved but it’s just not time, is to really say we are not loved, at all.

A better time for justice? Just another myth.


by Ray Bagnuolo, Gay and Minister of the Word and Sacrament
©2008 Ray Bagnuolo; Permission Granted for All Reprints