Today, I feel a bit raw, so this post may be a bit unfiltered.
For the last few days I have been reeling. As I watched the vote unfold from the United Methodist General Conference on Wednesday I was horrified. How did this happen? I had talked to our leaders for months leading up to this point and I was told to have “non-anxious leadership,” that “things will work out,” that “God is in control.”
Five minutes after the vote my phone rang, it was a local reporter for the News and Observer asking me, “What do you make of this?” I told her I was shocked as once again the LGBTQ community has the doors of the church shut in its face.
But all of those passionate arguments. “This is what the Bible says…”, “But just look at the Scriptures…”
Please. I’m so tired of it. I’m so tired of people using the Bible to cover their biases.
“But unity!” they say – “we must preserve unity in the church!” So, we sought out unity at the cost of our LGBTQ friends who were consistently shamed and degraded on the delegate floor. We traded our friends for thirty pieces of silver. And you know what? We can’t have it both ways. We can’t have “unity” with one set of people while shoving another set out the door. That’s not real unity. That’s more like power brokerage using human pawns…
We failed to defend our friends.
Today, three days later and after countless conversations, media interviews, and pastoral “sessions”… I have this feeling that I have felt this way before. And then I make the connection. I feel the same as when my mom died. No, not in the full sense but in one specific way. When my mom died a part of me died and I felt like the world should have stopped. But it didn’t. My world crashed but everyone around me just kept going on. Life back to normal.
We have just perpetrated an emotional trauma on the LGBTQ community that thought we were a safe space, who were beginning to make peace with the church and now, once again, their rejections is the national news. Once again they must hear that the church has closed its doors and thus, God must have too. Once again all the trauma of rejection, of shame, a lifetime of religious tyranny has arisen from the depths of their soul to cover their heart in pain.
We did this. And we have the audacity to move on? To go back to business? To simply tell our congregations that “we still love you” and “so do those people who just voted against you” and leave it at that. To “stay calm and let the process unfold.”
“They have dressed the wounds of our people with little care saying, ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace at all!” -Jeremiah 6:14
There is no peace here. I’m destroyed. I feel hurt by my denomination who left my friends on the side of the road and justified themselves with their “rules.” I feel completely heartbroken for my gay and lesbian friends who I told that this would be a safe space. They have been abused and it’s my fault. Like many others, I feel like the world should have stopped and left with the burning question of whether we care more about people or our pensions?
Yes, I’m angry. And I’m sad. And I feel so much hurt for my friends.
I’m not a great pastor, I don’t do well in hospitals and I’m not a very good marriage counselor and honestly I don’t have many “pastoral” skills at all. But there is one thing I can do well – organize people to get things done. So, the only response I can think of is this: I will dedicate myself to fixing this wrong. I took a baptismal oath to resist injustice and oppression in all its forms, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. If I am alone in this then I will be a one-man wrecking ball to this oppressive injustice against my LGBTQ friends because this is not a reflection of God’s love. But I know I’m not alone, we are many!
Let the resistance begin.