Monday, June 1, 2009

Moving Away From B033, Some Personal Thoughts

I deeply hope all of you, especially my TEC brothers and sisters, will read through this and take action. I beg you to do so.

As many of you know, I have put my attendance at my TEC church (and all TEC churches) on hold pending the upcoming convention's decision on B033, meaning not necessarily rescinding it, but replacing it. As Susan Russell+ put it, 33 years is long enough (to wait).

This was, and remains, a very painful decision for me. But I simply cannot attend a church that does not recognize all the baptized in the sacraments which is, simply, TEC's own form of discrimination.

Today, I am sending letter to the priest of my church with a link to each video asking her to please forward this to the deputy representing my parish. I want to go home. I can do that if they allow others to go home too.

This is a very emotional issue for me not because I am lgbt--I'm not--but because friends and loved ones, Episcopal and not, are deeply injured by prevailing B033. I cannot stand with a church that would so injure those I respect and love and set them apart, spiritually. It is wrong and it must be corrected.

When one reads the pain on the faces of--or taste the tears of--those spiritually wounded and intellectually confused by a church like ours, self-described as a "big tent" church that claims to "Welcome Everyone" but doesn't in reality, how can one not turn away from this wrong?

In one respect, I am just as bad as the GAFCONers in that I left though I did not, and will not, cut the spiritual strings. I am 180 degrees from GAFCON's point of view, but I also took a departing path in fact over one of the issues they claim as their opposite own.

I feel so very conflicted about this and it has been very difficult. I feel like I have let those I love down. I have justified this because I don't, personally, have a vote. I cannot, personally, make a difference. I can support with my vote and presence and action in the public square, but not in TEC's square. But now I can at least do something to help, and so can you.

On the other side, I cannot look at any of my lgbt friends or those I meet, especially those Episcopal, and explain how or why I can walk through my sanctuary's doors in the face of B033's standing.

If you only knew how this makes my heart ache.

I have prayed and prayed for clarity. It has not come. I feel apart from my church. I cannot imagine what it must feel like for our lgbt brothers and sisters who have felt this way for decades.

Meanwhile, five states have legalized gay marriage, and more have approved its second cousin, domestic partnerships while in CA, the recent Prop 8 passage and subsequent Supreme Court decision have brought flesh back to the dinosaur of exclusion. Other states are addressing either recognition of lgbt marriages in their states, or are considering domestic partnerships or lgbt marriage. Yet in the states where marriage is legal--and even where domestic partnerships are legal--our TEC clergy cannot marry or bless our own brothers and sisters.

Will the government lead the way on an issue that is apparently confounding for the children of God? Ironically, that answer is unquestionably yes.

While my diocese is progressive and active on the issue, I see little if any parish leadership on the issue in Orange County with the exception of the likely suspects. No TEC banner was in the recent Prop 8 protest held in Santa Ana. No TEC priests were lined up supporting our lgbt brothers and sisters there along with clergy from other churches. Why? Why? Why?

Is keeping peace in conservative parishes more important that guaranteeing our church's baptismal promises to our lgbt brothers and sisters? Well, is it? Apparently, it is.

Fear of rancor and loss of giving frightens our clergy into silence? Apparently. Shameful.

So I hope you have seen the recent videos from Integrity, and if you have not, I hope you will not only view them right now, but contact your deputies and let them know your wishes on the matter. I am begging you to do so EVEN IF you believe they are already in support.

Both Integrity videos are below and both are excellent. Please watch them and take action. I ask you--I beg you--to do so. Please help us all come home.

The following video is VERY powerful and explains many legal and spiritual points.

Pray for the church.