So, here's a sober post for once.
Concerning the previous post, the insanity has subsided. I can once again be productive and think at least somewhat clearly on occasion. It helps that work has been adequately distracting and there will be no more party time for a while.
The following is way too long and wordy. It's just my attempt to get some thoughts written out. I will probably make them much more precise very soon, but for the meantime, here is what I'm up to...
This phase of life--seminary-- will be over very soon (Thanks GAWD!). I have even settled on what I will be doing afterwards and it's not what I would have expected just a short time ago. I will remain at work in a community that i love early and one that loves me as well. This is an opportunity for which I am grateful and, though the time I stay will likely not be terribly long, I wish to make the most of it.
This is not what I expected. What i expected was to find a very progressive church I would work and be totally open about who I am. I would have loved to end up in a great, diverse city. But... I'll be in a place that's pretty much opposite of that, and I am strangely comfortable with the idea.
What good would it do for me to work in a place where I can only affirm existing attitudes. What good would it do to condemn hatred and bigotry from those places where one would expect to hear such messages. Though I am in no way condemning those type of places and I do expect to be in that type of environment some day, for this season in my life, I feel called to be present in a place where there is indeed a lack of understand that leads to exclusion and yes, even hate.
I wouldn't just go to any backwoods community. But I'm staying, because I know these people. I have given these people all I have to give. We have been seen difficulties and successes together and we have grown together. By letting me stay past this point they have essentially endorsed who they know me to be and what I am doing.
So, my vision is this: to get to know me even a little more. To know me for who I really am. If i were to reveal such things in love, would they reject me? I have a hard time believe they would.
So, if they would accept me, could they begin to accept others as well?
Here's my theory. Everyone knows families who have had a kid come out as gay. Though the family struggles for a while, in many cases (though I admit, definitely not all of them) the families at least come to a tolerance if not a full acceptance of that child. When someone who is very close comes out, it becomes so much easier to accept their sexuality because you wish to accept the person. However, the friends of this family may not feel the same way. It doesn't affect them quite as directly. They can remove themselves from the situation and cast judgments on the person and on the family.
This community has fell in love with many ministers who they discover are gay only after they are long gone--only after they are out of sight. When this usually happens, the rumors abound, and, as rumors usually do, they grow and get bigger and bigger. Before long people are talking of this person who has fallen in to debauchery and sin and living this disgusting, immoral life... etc. You know the kind of perceptions of which I speak.
What if this community could come to know of one's sexuality before they are long gone, indeed, while they are still working and serving in their midst. Would it be so easy to judge? Would the rumors grow so large if this person in is plain sight and pouring his heart out like always?
This is my hope. Just as a family learns to tolerate and/or accept a gay child, I feel like my family that is this larger community in which I work can come to accept me as who I am as well. And then, as I move on, I leave behind a community that loves without exclusion... maybe not always perfectly.. but always mindful of a specific face before they hate another sister or brother.
I know this is a lofty dream. This must happen in an altogether unlikely place with an altogether unlikely group of people. It may blow up in my face, but at least I know I tried. What good is a prophet in his own country? I could preach all of this to people who already agree with myself until we're all blue in the face, but who has it benefitted? I could preach this in the last place where I, or anyone else, would want to endure the repercussions of it... and possibly transform a community into one that cares for everyone around them and nurtures its people rather than one which ridicules those who are different.
So, for now, that is my dream. We'll see how this goes!