10 May 2011

One Vote Closer to My Dream: a Love Practicing Queer PC(USA) Candidate for Minister of Word and Sacrament Considers Triumph in the Passing of 10-A and Reformation of G-6.0106b

Closer to my dreams
It's coming over me
I'm gettin' higher
Closer to my dreams
I'm getting higher and higher
Feel it in my sleep[1]

I’ve never been sure whether 3 a.m. is categorically ascribed to be ‘just before dawn’ or ‘way in the Midnight hour’ but here I am nonetheless unable to sleep. Unable to sleep on the cusp of awaking from the 37 year dream of LGBT Christians with membership in the Presbyterian Church (USA) for full inclusion within this community of faith. From the first lone placard, silently asking, “Is anyone else out there gay?[2]” to my recent defection from Baptists fundamentally ‘not asking but loudly whispering’ to #PCUSA10-A trending on Twitter, I am unable to sleep tonight, this morning. When sweet sleep eludes me I pray…

I was there to hear your borning cry,
I’ll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you wer baptized,
To see your life unfold.[3]

Our Father, Creator and Mother Womb, you were there before my limbs were formed to hug the woman who is my lover, there before my first breath and most recent orgasm, there before my heart beat for her as healing when my heart was broken over another, there before delighting in myself and coming out to others, there before I prayed my first prayer with understanding that you hear my prayer right now.

Of this I am certain while staring down faces who speculate and scorn my fit to serve humankind as you created me, Jesus commissioned me, and Spirit anoints me. I pray that the hearts contending today’s vote for reformation and celebration in Presbytery of the Pacific and Twin Cities Presbytery would consider WWJD? What, some might ask, Would Jesus Do? As with 86 of our 148 presbyteries who rejoice as you rejoice, cause these to remember, lest we forget, that Jesus broke all the rules to fulfill the law of love. Pose the predicament that to do otherwise would be complicatedly crucifying Jesus, once again.

Even whilst being my Advocate, I pray you to show all of us a better way of representing you. Show us humility – this denomination does not speak for all Christians and thus the language we use to exclude must come into inclusive agreement. Show us love – powerful and plenteous to cast out fear of greater discord among the body (like speaking in tongues did at one time), fear of financial chaos (even though this sounds so much like Jesus’ table toppling in the temple), fear of becoming of the world (when in fact, you called us to be light for the world), and fear of a great exodus and attrition (if honest, the gay agenda is not the only reason our average congregation are peppered with octogenarians and vacant pews) .

Speak to our hearts to acknowledge sexuality as good, fidelity as a mutually rewarding gift, and purity as unsullied by gender performance or sexual orientation. Move our hands to eradicate the myth of ‘separate but equal’ which create chaste systems and culture chaos while knowing full well that all marriages are civil, Christian marriages may also include Queer folk, and that Holy Unions ought be the highest goal between consenting adults who discover in one another an especially intriguing unction towards life-long and loving companionship. Open our ears to hear what Spirit says to the Church – the biblical marriage which is being so fiercely protected is rooted in same-sex privilege. Biblical marriage, in its original context, was a property contract between two men – a woman’s father and his son-in-law! Now, how gay is that?

If you find someone to share your time
And you join your hearts as one,
I’ll be there to make your verses rhyme
From dusk ‘till rising sun.[4]

I stand on your historically inspired Word that, “It is not good for one to be alone”; or how about this one, “How can two walk together unless they are agreed?”; or even this one, “Two are better than one.” Having been blessed to find one to share my time, we share. Among that we share is great love for you and this ministry. On the cusp of this vote to affirm my ministry in this denomination, I pray that my life reflects your Lordship and my witness is heard as the Gospel. I pray that the polity which weighs my qualifications to serve as a Minister of Word and Sacrament align with the gifts of God and Spirit within me to meet the needs of church and community. I pray my gift of hospitality so liberally offered and gift of preaching highly commended command their imaginations to transform ‘the gay issue’ from being an issue into being people who love God and serve God’s people – of whom I am but one among many able and available.

I pray that the touchstone of my personal declaration of faith and focus of ministry, namely, Questions 1 and 2 of the highly venerated writ of the Heidleberg Catechism informs their witness of my work and worship: Q. 1. What is your only comfort, in life and in death? and Q. 2. How many things must you know that you may live and die in the blessedness of this comfort? The answers assuring eternity and compelling gratitude, respectively, inspires me to live, lead and serve the Body of Christ and all Creation; and that through the auspices of the Presbyterian Church (USA)[5].

I pray sufficiency in these truths to afford me the privilege of full inclusion in the PC(USA) – to serve as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, be counted among the first Same-Sex Civil Unions and Registered Partnerships in the State of Illinois[6], be able to bless loving relationships, and be the head and not the tail of reforming contractual marriage for some -- often deeply steeped in patriarchy and misogyny -- to covenant marriage for all.

O God who turns dreams into reality, hear our prayer.


[1] Closer. Goapele.
[2] David Sindt had the courage to raise a sign at the 1974 General Assembly asking, “Is anyone else out there gay?
[3] I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry by John Ylvisaker. Sung at the opening worship of the 2010 General Assembly at which voting on the reformation of G-6.0106b and celebration of 10-A was released to Presbytery vote.
[4] I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry by John Ylvisaker.
[5] My Statement of Faith, Motivation and Service. July 17, 2010. Presbytery of the Pacific.
[6] Effective as of June 1, 2011; and should and when we choose to.

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