Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pioneers into Outlaws

In a wonderful post by Damien, he recounts some history as retold in the opera Dialogue of the Carmelites. He gives an excellent and brief summary of the story; do read it. Years ago I recall hearing part of this opera on the radio. Not a big opera fan (though I am a little one), I listened because I was so intrigued by the title. The last scene is so wrenchingly powerful The nun’s are singing, praising God; the “thump” of the guillotine giving grim punctuation as each voice is silenced, one by one, down to the last.

God forgive us all.

Joe Perez's post reviewing the recent sci-fi movie Serenity makes a point that feels connected to Damien’s observations:
Serenity takes a huge interest in spirituality and offers an unconventional approach that should resonate with many gays and lesbians. Serenity’s is a message for all trailblazers of new spiritual territory in times when the price of being a pioneer is enough to make you an outlaw.
The price of being pioneers is enough to make us outlaws. A role we did not seek or consciously choose, I suppose. But it seems to be a role that has chosen us.

For all the “dysfunctionality” of my family of origin, for all the weirdness, violence, and emotional nightmares of growing up, I learned a few things of great value. My mother was often one to buck the system, just a little. She had a keen sense of justice (for everyone but herself, but that’s another story). From that I picked up a strong sense of honesty, integrity, justice, and “doing the right thing.” (Even though doing all that for myself has taken half a century to begin)

In a way, I have always wanted “a fight.” A prayer for Social Justice in the Prayer Book (of the Episcopal Church) asks that we may “fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression.” But this is not the fight I wanted. Poverty, hunger, housing, racial equality, you name it, I’ve been ready. But this? To fight for acceptance by the Church, my family, the culture, even the government (and even myself)? No.

The other fights (housing, poverty, etc.) are very important, and always I want to be “waving those flags,” too. But they are not as personal to me, not quite so close to home. But this fight has chosen me. So be it.

Let us make no peace with oppression.

Matthew Shepard, Billy Jack Gaither, Private Barry Winchell: ora pro nobis


Ross said...

You sound a bit like your mother...fighting for social justice for everyone but yourself. I don't think that is all that uncommon. In fact, I feel that it's easier to stand up for someone else than it is to defend myself.

Also, if it offends, please forgive me for comparing you to your mother. Some folk get really outraged at that (my own mother included).

Mind the Bear said...

Ross, thanks for your comment. I don't mind being compared to my mother or even my father. I have some of the best (and the worst) of both of them in me. Also, I got my good looks from both of them. I also have my father's big feet, and they say that indicative of something. (LOL)

Cheers, Joe

Steve said...

Beautiful post, brother. Ora pro nobis, indeed...

As for big feet, I could only wish that held true with me, Joe - but the 13 EEEE feet don't sync up with any attribute of mine except my waist...