Monday, October 09, 2006

Totally Disillusioned

Hello Blogreaders--

This morning I sent this email to Pastor M. Unfortunately, I haven't received a response. Don't know if it's because she's busy (like all other pastors) or just doing the usual thing of not responding to most emails (which frustrates me), or both. Anyway, here's what I wrote:

Dear Pastor, I'm having a tough time trying to reconcile my sense of call vs. the ELCA's policy on partnered gays. (Trying to be careful to use only "I statements" here.) You know, it's like gay people are being thrown a tidbit: "Here. You can be one of us, but only some of you. Sorry about the rest of you. That's life." I keep wondering if my originally planned course of going through all the prep for Associate in Ministry, Deacon, Pastor (whatever) and then standing outside the locked gate and passively waiting isn't a form of (pardon the expression--not sure what else to use)Uncle Tom-ism. Would it be better to work hard toward getting the ELCA to change its policy and/or doing some sort of ecclesiastical disobedience, as opposed to caving in, compromising one's principles, and going quietly into that good night? It's hard to believe that the ELCA, et al, will go so far and then dig in their heels against further inclusion due to what--fear of losing members, of being too radical?? To paraphrase Rhett Butler, "Frankly, my dear, it stinks."
I think one of the reasons I historically back away from pursuing a true sense of call is that I always hit this wall of exclusion, and the spiritual and emotional pain is devastating. I am greatly struggling with disillusionment and exclusion right now. I don't feel that Jesus excludes me/us, but it sure seems that the Church does. I start wondering if things like hunger strikes would work. (Yeah, right.) Frankly, I don't know what would work, short of a real miracle. But there is still injustice out there in an ugly form, and I don't know what to do about it, personally or as a follower of Jesus. And, at this point, my friend, I no longer feel it's just about me. (Quelle surprise . . .); this shouldn't be allowed to happen to anyone in the same life situation. It's just wrong. Help . . .

So there's what's on my mind these days. I find it truly offensive that the ELCA can pride itself on being justice-seeking, reforming, inclusive, etc., etc., and still banish any partnered gay (lgbt) person. This is not justice. This is blatant discrimination. This is being afraid to be Christlike for fear the synods and congregations could lose members and--most importantly--MONEY. It's always about money when you get down to it.

I know that some people might encourage people like me to leave the ELCA and go to a more liberal church (UCC, UU, etc.) if I don't like it. That's not just. That's discrimination. That's dodging the issue.

I find my anger is getting to me more and more. I wish I could get some time with Pr M to talk about it, but I feel like I can't take up her time unless it's something "real." I mean, I probably will never go to seminary anyway given my debt load, work schedule, etc., so some people might ask "What's the big deal? Shut up and sit down." But that, too, skirts the issue: just because I may never get to be ordained due to life circumstances and bad choices, doesn't justify closing the door to all other partnered gay people who are being called by God to rostered ministry.

It hurts. It hurts a hell of a lot.

I am considering some sort of "ecclesiastical disobedience" Perhaps no longer taking communion, but getting a blessing instead. Would that mean anything? Would anyone care?

Or should I just say "screw it" and bail out of organized religion altogether? Maybe non-church people are more accepting of gays anyway.


Blogger Pastor Peters said...

All of our denominations are struggling with this issue. It breaks my heart that you might consider leaving the church all together. We are supposed to be inviting people to the table -- not turning them away. And it breaks my heart that you might feel the need to protest through a sacrament that is rightfully (or ritefully) yours. Is that fair to you? Forget the greater Church. God wants to offer a message of blessing to you. Don't deny yourself that message because of church powers that be. Know that you are blessed.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I wish there was an eay answer. You are right Jesus nor God would ever exclude you or anyone else for that matter. I'm in seminary right now and it's hard for me to know that because I am not gay it is easier for me to get ordained then it is for one of my best friends. I will pray for you and pray that the Church will get its act together!

8:52 AM  
Blogger The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

You say, "I wish I could get some time with Pr M to talk about it, but I feel like I can't take up her time unless it's something "real.""

As a pastor, I would much rather give you time for this conversation/struggle than give time to some other folks who are convinced their stuff is "real."

If this is your spiritual leader, claim time for your spiritual self.

1:53 PM  
Blogger SingingOwl said...

(((((HUGS))))) I do not have the answer, but I am praying right now for you.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Iris said...

My heart breaks with you. Does your denomination have an advocacy group of some sort that seeks justice in ordination standards? I would encourage you to be as involved with them as you possibly can.

I echo Pastor Peters, be fed at the Lord's Table. You will need the strength and nourishment for the road ahead.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Swandive said...

First, good for you for reaching out. Right on for speaking your mind. I am what I like to call a Luthapalian, former ELCA who hit the wall hard, and left church altogether, then God had other plans (as usual) and I have landed myself in the Episcopal Church. It's not UU or UCC - two very fine institutions and expressions of God's love in the world. We are a church who is actually in communion with you ELCA folks. Anyway, anger is good. Frustration is good. For a while. Take some time to sit, breathe and ask God what is your call in all of this. It sounds like you are on a long road of justice seeking. And maybe that is and will be your call. Know that it is just an institution, it is not God who is saying no.
Bless you as you wrestle.

4:42 PM  
Blogger WeavingLibrarian said...

Blue -

Please take care of yourself and know that others are praying for you. As an ELCA member I am very frustrated with our lack of backbone as an institution.

Know that you are loved and God's grace will always be with you.


9:47 PM  
Blogger juniper68 said...

adding my prayers

10:25 PM  
Blogger Sally said...

I wish I could give you a helpful answer, instead I am sending a virtual hug... I pray that you will be able to follow your call, and that the church will truly start to act out the inclusive message it preaches.

I pray also that you will find a person to listen and help you thorugh this time of questioning and dissillusionment, you are right Jesus would not reject you, so how dare the church do so in his mane!

7:00 AM  
Blogger revabi said...

I so hear your hurt and pain. I would hope that if I were your Pastor, 'i would say to you, "come on in and lets talk or lets go eat and talk" or something like that. I hope. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

Welcome to revgalblogpals.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Mary Beth said...

Your post brings tears to my my own (Episcopal) church has been mushing around over the same issue for years.

I very much agree with Pastor Peters. Don't consider denying yourself Eucharist ... that would be cutting off your nose to spite your face in the biggest way I can think of.

Absolutely take the pastor's time, and more than once if you want. Many times. That is her job, to minister to you.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Catherine + said...

Dear Tangled, I agree with the commenter before me. Pastors/priests are there to help the sheep of the flock. They are the shepherds and have a responsiblity to you. Your situtation is very real. Come get ordained as an Episcopal priest and then go be a pastor in your denomination. I knew a Lutheran minister who became an Episcopal priest this way. Do not deny yourself the intimate presence of Christ by deny yourself the is this that will give you and your blessed partner strength in the days ahead.

Jesus did die for ALL, go claim your blessing!

5:29 PM  
Blogger Catherine + said...

Tangled, this is as real as it gets. Call and make an appt with the church secretary if nothing else. Make her listen to you.

Irked on your behalf,


1:30 PM  

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