Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the Sojourners situation

I love Sojourners magazine and blog and frequently read, quote, link, retweet whatever's going on there.

But this... I don't get this.

Believe Out Loud, an organization advocating for open welcome and inclusion to LGBT people in mainline Protestant congregations, wanted to run the following ad on Sojo's webpage on Mother's Day:



Sojourners said:  No, thank you.  Our position is not to take sides on this issue.

Then they said it again, and again.

...

Note that the video is not about officiating marriage ceremonies for gay and lesbian people.  Nor about the ordination of partnered gay and lesbian people.  Nor about transgender or intersex or other non-cisgendered individuals, at all.  The ad said:  A lesbian couple with a son should be welcomed at church.


To me, the acceptance of gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender and intersex and queer and questioning is as much a "wedge issue" for Sojourners as calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan or advocating for health care reform or advocating for immigration reform are.

They've already been called out to this effect in their comments section, by wiser people than I, so I am thankful for that.

I understand their position, and Kristi supports their decision, so I recognize that there is a diversity of opinion about this subject.

But for me, I say:  I am not a wedge issue.


Welcoming me and my partner to church is not a wedge issue.

I believe that Jesus would have welcomed me, as I am.  Not with a command to "go and sin no more" but as I am.  That is absolutely the only way I can be in the situation I'm in - to be in relationship with Kristi, to be out about that relationship, and be pursuing ordination.  The only way I can do that is if I honestly, truly believe that our life together is acceptable to G-d.

I can understand the "We do not take a position on this issue" cognitively, but if that's the position taken, I have to stay back from any resulting discussions.  Once you say, "We do not take a position," you have said "We do not see that one side has more theological merit or Scriptural accuracy or movement of the Holy Spirit than the other."  This is scary, for me.  This means I am no longer safe.

I recognize that there are times and places when I have to defend myself, and I accept that as part of the life I have chosen.  I could have chosen to leave the church, and crippled myself spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally.  I could have chosen to be celibate, and crippled myself spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally.  I chose instead what I earnestly believe to be a path righteous before G-d, and that is my life with Kristi as a servant of the church.

I did not choose to be gay, but I do choose to live my life to the fullest regardless of how difficult that can be.  To do otherwise, honestly, would be death - not a metaphorical death, but literal.  I do believe that if I attempted to live a life of celibacy or of atheism that I would physically die.

I still get very beat up about all this.  I have been defending my right to love, to happiness, to marriage, to children, to ordination, to a "normal life" for ten years, and I do not care for it.  I recognize that defense has to happen, but I do not consider it my calling to constantly engage in situations where it is required.  Sometimes, oddly enough, I like to spend time with people who agree with me. Sometimes, against all human instincts, I like the dominant position to be one I agree with. 

For me, then, it is very hard to consider praising Sojourners for being so thoughtful and non-divisive.  What I see is another organization that was not willing to stand up for me and my queer brothers and sisters.

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