Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two years ago, I read this article:
It changed my life in that it was what finally convinced me that I’d be OK at Luther.  That I’d find a way there, just like the others had, even though the article warned:
“All of this makes it an interesting time to be a [sic] gay or lesbian at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. It’s the largest of the eight Evangelical Lutheran seminaries and produces one-third of all the pastors who serve at the church’s 10,500 congregations. It’s also considered the most conservative. Professors give detailed recommendations to synod bishops, and if they know a student is gay, they must note that in their report.”
I facebooked Lauren (Wendt) after the article came out, and we chatted a bit, and since then I’ve met Margaret (Kelly) and Dustin (Nelson).  Who are both fantastic.  And both not ordained.
Obviously, things have changed a bit since the article was published; my candidacy committee (and thus my bishop) already know that I’m partnered and fortunately, in the Minneapolis synod, that isn’t a problem.
And the majority of students I’ve met at Luther are supportive.  Yet I know that they’re supportive because I’m out.  Almost everyone who knows me knows I live off campus, and that I live with Kristi.  So my peers (most of them, anyway) and my friends (all of them) know where I am, and thus they’ve had an opportunity to share that they’re supportive.
I know only one other seminarian who is out (because he is partnered), and one who is sort of out (because she is open, but not partnered, so it does not come up easily).
It would be easy, I think, to have gotten through these past four months without knowing how many fellow students are supportive of the ordination of (deep breath) people in publicly-accountable-lifelong-monogamous-same-gender-relationships.  
 I can’t imagine how lonely that could be for someone who’s closeted.  
And I can’t - not as a queer woman, and not as a future pastor - let my fellow students graduate from “the most conservative seminary” in the ELCA without knowing that there are pastors of great integrity, skill, passion, and compassion who support the ordination of partnered gay or lesbian or bisexual people.
I’m terrified of becoming “that girl.”  I know that there are professors who are diametrically opposed to my ordination.  I know that there are fellow students who are as well.  I can’t stand the thought of being known primarily as “that girl” for the next three and a half years.
But even more I can’t stand the thought of fellow students never knowing that allies exist in the church - and at Luther.
The article mentions, but does not detail, a group called Agape which met on campus.  I know little about it - just that it was a group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and allied people to meet and talk.  
So I’ve emailed Dustin and Margaret for a rundown of Agape circa 2008.  And I’m unpacking my belt of truth and my shoes of peace and my shield of faith.
I’m in need of a visible, public community of allies.  
And I think others are too.

1 comment:

  1. Please come see the post I wrote about you at my blog, A Conservative Lesbian, and count me as a member of your visible, public community of allies.