Friday, April 20, 2007

Don't be Discouraged

Four years ago I used to haunt the Anglican forums over on Beliefnet. I still drop in once in awhile, but rarely post. Check them out. There's some good folks over there.

After a few months, having managed to offend just about everyone over there at one time or another, I came to realize that that particular medium was probably not the best choice for a person of my temperment. That realization, coupled with Bnet deciding to move some of my posts, caused me to seek other avenues of expression. Thus, Jake's place emerged.

A few of the old BNet gang still drop in here once in awhile (hey Dan, Karen and Joe!). Demi and I developed a friendship with a Lutheran who was a reg at Bnet. That friendship has continued, primarily through exchanged emails, over the years. She now has a blog. I felt many of you might appreciate her latest post. So, without further ado, here is a note of encouragement for all Episcopalians from Mata H:

...I have a friend whom I have known since we were both 16, who is a gay man, now 57. He is a brilliant professor and writer. We were chatting on the phone the other day and generally blathering on (as we do) about the condition of the world in general and America in specific. Out of the blue (because we have never discussed it) he said, "I really love the Episcopalians!"

Now my friend is a VERY, VERY lapsed Catholic, so to hear that he loves any religious group is shocking, and even more so a group that is in agonized upheaval and potential schism over a variety of issues related to GLBT inclusion. But my friend is not IN the church, so what he sees is as a gay man outside the church.

And he is delighted. Why?

"Because look at all those straight people putting -- of all things -- their church on the line in support of our right to a full life. Church people, straight people, standing up for us for the first time! It is wonderful, so hopeful!"

He didn't see any snarkiness, and machinations, or feel pain. He saw a corner of the events. But what he saw, what he took into his soul -- was the fact that many straight people who proclaim a faith in God, stood up for him. They put something dear at risk for him.

He's lived a whole life where he has not seen that before.

Sure, there is more to see -- and sure, there is pain -- but those are the easy things to see when one follows this story. Sometimes hope is the hardest thing to see, but my friend saw it -- and if he saw it, others saw it.

Do not be discouraged, those of you in the Episcopalian or other churches who care about inclusion. Do not fear. Know that as you speak the words of inclusion, people you do not know, people who thirst for the gospel, people who have never seen courage like this -- well, those people are listening, and they are thankful. Those people are gay and straight, rich and poor, urban and rural -- they are the people outside your doors whose hearts will be touched progressively more deeply as your doors open progressively more widely.
Thanks, Mata.

Oh, btw, you're now nominated for the Blogger's Choice Award!


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