At one point in time I checked the “divorced” box when I filled out forms. When I was just a few days past my 21st birthday, I stood in front of my fiance and my pastor and made a commitment — a covenant. I stood in front of our family and friends, in front of God and said “I do.” Just a few short years later, I broke that commitment. I ended that covenant. (Ok, “we” did but this story isn’t about him.)
But, you know what? I didn’t lose my job. When I told my boss about my ending marriage, he didn’t fire me or call me a sinner. My family didn’t disown me and never once did “abomination” come into the conversation. While in seminary, seeking my masters of divinity, I considered ordination, and, had I kept going down that path, I would have been ordained, despite my divorce status.
Divorce — that broken covenant — brought a lot of pain and guilt and shame. I cried a lot and wondered where I went wrong. I struggled, but I was never rejected by my church family. I grieved what was lost and what could have been, but I didn’t have to hide it. Everyone knew and still I was safe.
While my cells and DNA were coming together after conception, I believe that God was working with all my parents provided to create me, just as I am. God created me to be a female and heterosexual and white (although the white part was kind of a given considering DNA and all, lol). God also created parts of my personality and talents, like musical, creative, loving, and outgoing.
God didn’t determine the choices I would make. God determined who I would be. God looked at me, as God does for all of creation, and said, It is good.
If you know about anything going on in the United Methodist Church right now, you might know where this post is going…
I’m not a Bible scholar, but I do know that Jesus talks about money more than anything else. I know that divorce is mentioned several times in the Bible and in fact, because I’m now married to someone else, I’ve committed adultery. I do know that the references to homosexuality in the Bible are based in a specific context and culture. Again, I’m not an expert, but Rev. Adam Hamilton is so you can read his post about this. (His reference to pensions and retirements is a good one!)
I don’t understand why we have become so focused on this one issue. Why can I get divorced and still work in the United Methodist Church? Why is it I can choose to break a covenant and not be condemned, but my friends who are born the way God created them to be are? One is a choice, one is not. What is the fascination on this one topic? Where is the fear coming from? What do they think will happen if our gay and lesbian members are ordained?
The same thing that happens when straight ones are ordained…
Families are comforted during challenging times in their lives
Children are entertained at church functions
People argue and disagree and try to find a way to make this church thing work
Sermons are preached, prayers are prayed, hymns are sung
Toilets get unclogged and flooded basements get cleaned up
Bulletins are printed and money is counted
Sermons are critiqued, as well as the pastors
Phone calls come in late at night and dinners are interrupted
Not enough vacations are taken and pastors never stop working
I suppose my pastor does talk about his marriage from the pulpit sometimes. He talks about the challenges of raising children together, the lessons he’s learned from his wife, the ways they navigate life together. I don’t think that would sound any different coming from a same-sex marriage. In fact, I think it would sound pretty much the same.
I’m sad. I’m sad that our LGBTIQ are hearing over and over again that they are incompatible with the teachings of the church. I’m sad that we are overlooking the clear message that comes through over and over in the Bible — what God creates is good, all of it is good, all of us are good. God loves us just as we were created and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Even when legislation is passed that makes you feel unloved and unworthy, you are loved.
Even when churches and pastors tell you you’re not welcome, you are loved.
Even when people think that exclusion makes more sense than inclusion, you are loved.
Even when protestors call you names and cause you to feel unsafe, you are loved.
And, if you’re in Indianapolis, you are always welcome at my church.