Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Response to Rev. Janet Edwards' Essay in the Washington Post

God has God's ways.
I learned that first-hand, again, when I was ordained as an openly gay man in the Presbyterian Church in 2005. It can happen, even in the PC(USA), but there are only a handful of us at the moment. The opposition and barriers to ordination for LGBT sisters and brothers has been very effective. The ratification of this amendment would have made it possible for the many LGBT folk who God has called to serve others as ministers of Word and Sacrament in a world that is too-broken by such divisions.

The fear that prompts some to marginalize others for their own comfortability is strong, well-entrenched, and a true soul-sickness. In all the arguments to prevent LGBT folk from being ordained, we never hear of LGBT folk trying to exclude others to achieve a gracious and, yes, radical hospitality. In fact the message is always the same: we do not want to exclude our sisters and brothers; we believe we can be together, in spite of our differences; we believe that we can find a way to be together in love, not for our own benefit, but for those we are called to serve. This IS being faithful.

In making dozens of calls to ministers who support and oppose the ratification of 08-B, in almost every case I spoke with folks who are truly trying to be faithful and open to the Spirit. There was an equality in the presence of God in every conversation that affirms what I think we all know - it's time to move beyond the separation and to be open to ways to be faithful together. The only "right" or "wrong" has to do with hospitality not sexuality.

It may be that we have been given this struggle to overcome it, not by votes, but by extending and trusting in Love. It may just be that this struggle is the path God has given us for unification -- not division. I believe true healing will be the result of such a union.

When that happens, and it will, the world will be changed in ways that are beyond any telling. A church that "gets it right," that chooses love over marginalization and embracing one another in our differences will do more to carry the Good News than a church that bickers, divides, and is complicit in the violence that is part of any oppressive system.

With many others, please pray with us for such a time.

Thank you to my friend Janet and all those who struggle for the marriage of Justice and Love and the courage to be steadfast in their calls to serve all.