Monday, December 20, 2010

What a queer blessing I have.

Kristi’s choir had a gig at the Guthrie, singing carols in the lobby before A Christmas Carol and 39 Steps started.  Afterwards we went out to Spill the Wine, and I met her director and his wife.  His wife’s an Ole, a music education major, and an Ole Choir graduate.  It was pretty much impossible for us not to get along.  We did a little reminiscing about choir, and Dr. Armstrong, and such.  It was cute in a music nerdy way.
Then suddenly the conversation shifted, and I found myself in a middle of a methodological explanation (on three glasses of wine…hurrr) of my call and what it means for me, for Kristi, for us, and for the church.
This happens a lot.
I don’t know in what proportion it happens to straight pastors and pastors-in-training, but I feel like it happens to me more - that conversations with strangers or acquaintances at parties and dinners suddenly turn into one laptop short of a PowerPoint presentation on what the church could be if it took a sideways glance at what Jesus wanted it to be.
These conversations are primarily happening with people who grew up churched (as is the majority in the Midwest) but now, in their twenties and thirties, have not found a church home.  Some are wary of religion, some disinterested, some downright angry.  Yet our conversations are exciting and life-giving.
(Okay, there are some people who are jerks.  But I am pretty sure, from other behaviors exhibited during the same gathering, that they are jerks in other situations, and therefore not worthy of spending my down-time arguing with.)
I wonder if my “queer” calling speaks to those who are “outside” the church tradition in a way that a straight pastor does not.  Am I, the long excluded, seen as a fellow outsider - another person the church has failed?  Is my calling not a manifestation of the insanity of Bible-thumping but a startling and fascinating commitment to an institution that has condemned, vilified, damned, and (at best) ignored me?
Am I not a supporter of the system, but one committed to its renewal?

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