Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dreams

The revelations of the sordid lives of the Rev. Ted Haggard and Rep. Foley are sad to me. Even though they show up the hypocrisy of some asshole conservatives, they certainly don't show the gay world in the best light. A pedophile and involvement with a prostitute. Not things I want folk to point to in the gay community. Yes, they are in all communities, but it just makes finger pointing all the easier.

And, I hate to see anyone humiliated (well, almost anyone). Foley's humiliation ain't such a big deal to me, but the thing with Ted Haggard will backfire. People will say he was lured into it. And, the way he has described himself since admitting "wrong" is soooo full of self-hate. I know that feeling, and am sooooo glad to be ridding myself of it. I pray that he will be able to come out, but don't hold out much hope.

Why is the Church such a place of hatred, sometimes. What part is it of "love your neighbor as yourself" or "love your enemies, and bless those who curse you," that folk don't get? On occasion, I want to chunk Church, just give it up.

And yet, it draws me back. I've never confused God with the institution. But it is the institution that carries on the worship that nurtures my soul. I've tried to get God to chunk me, but God never has. God persists in loving me. Lost as I may feel, I don't want to turn anywhere else.

I dream of someday, somehow, someway, a place and ability to minister and be ministered to within the gay community, as a gay man. I wonder what God has in mind for me as I try to discern next steps. I want to offer love, and hope, and (especially) a sense of community and welcome to those who are so disenfranchised from the Church, from God, from society.

I'm dreaming of the future. That's a good thing.

Cheers, dears, Joe Posted by Picasa

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear BearToast:

Here is a lone vote for scrapping this idea of "ministering and being ministered to within the gay community." I beg you not to join the ranks of the Balkanizers, feminists who want everything reviewed in terms of gender power relationships, gay Christians who need queer theology at the center.

Face it. We are the periphery. Historically, revolutions have begun on the periphery, but they do not become the historical events that mark generations until they can persuade the center. And as long as we are gazing at our navel, we are not going to be very persuasive. That means, among other things, giving the Devil his due [I feel a post coming on -- I'll stop here.]

But dream of the future. And know that we are following you as you pursue that dream.

"With God nothing is impossible."
Amen.

yr
Troll

john said...

I have never felt abandoned or judged by God.
But I do feel a sense of judgement and abandoned by people.
I think it is human interpretation of God's writing that causes such criticism and hypocrisy.

bear said...

I too had a bad feeling when this happened. I explained to people that this can be spun against the gay community with negative stereotypes...
But I am also hopeful. People are constantly surprising me as I out myself. I think in a way, I am helping "the cause" and others in the closet around me, and other to understand that most all of us are just like them and not these negative stereotype's. I think many are making this clear realization (esp. the younger generation seems more receptive it seems) so I have concluded, it will just takes some time.
God will always love you. Sadly, the Church just may take longer as usual to come around (if ever.)

Alan said...

Just as some would paint LGBT folks with the same brush as pedophiles like Foley or liars like Haggard, it's important not to be too quick to paint the Church as one monolithic institution either.

There are indeed lots of wonderful churches out there...church communities that are not just "accepting" but celebrating. And they don't have to be "gay" churches either. It may take some time to find them, but they're definitely out there.

Ian said...

Bear,

I hope you don't mind a bit of perspective from an "outsider".

I think there is an important bit of context to the life of Jesus that seems to be missing in most modern ministries. Jesus lived as a member of a persecuted minority. We as gay men, either out or still in the closet to one extent or another, can relate to the status in ways that the average White Anglo-Saxon Protestant never could. As just one example, how many of us can relate to the emotions and pressures that Paul must have experienced when he denied Jesus? If you could find some way to bring that insight to your home church, I think you would be doing them a great service.

I think it is also important to remember that Jesus' message was delivered to the jews, not to the romans. If we were to extrapolate this to the modern day, his challenge is not for fundamentalist christians to love us gay men. Rather, it is for the gay men who have suffered (can continue to suffer) so much from the actions of men such as James Dobson, Jerry Falwel and Oral Roberts to embrace those very same men in uncoditional love. And that is a call several orders of magnitude more challenging.

Ur-spo said...

that was touching; thank you for posting it.

jeff said...

I've just stumbled upon this site. Read all the way back, and saw alot of my own journey. This happened to me: I told God goodbye; I was going away and I may not return. That meant pulling the plugs on everything:no church membership, Bibles and BCP out the door, subscriptions cancelled, sleeping in late Sundays (the guilt vanished in a month)..
Of course, He was patient and there all the time. I knew that all along. But ii had to do this gaming of a game, it was the only way I could see a way out of the deep sadness I knew He did not mean for me.
I found Him again, waiting. He was waiting in honesty and trust and not in the accusations and hate I had hurled His way for so long. And, He was there in the love I share with another man for 25 years now. We fight and make up like all couples, but at the heart is a peace that is not earthly.

Steve said...

Wow.

I agree with Troll a bit... because I've dealt with feminists who believe that the correction to having "men as dominant oppressors" is "having women as dominant oppressors, and getting even." That's the same sin, just flipping genders.

But I have to understand how I relate to this God I am drawn to - and while I don't embrace every kind of "queer theology," I have to get to the place where Alan and Ian got to. I had to walk away - and Jeff's description fit me exactly (except for the books - couldn't bring myself to toss them, somehow). And then I had to be drawn back in by the grace that I knew was waiting for me.

I have been one that has confused God and the church, over time, even though I know that's not consistent.

My coming out experience - and this has been especially true online - has been highly affirming. Evidently people hear the grace and the Gospel without looking at "who I'm looking at." So dream away, brother Joe. I am, too.

Carlos said...

Hey Thanks for still reading my blog all this time... From Calvin to Chicago... Maybe a new title? Anyway, as a queer theologian I see great value in queer theory and theology. For too long the Bible and theology has been viewed solily through the eyes of heterosexim. Though to be honest, our voices have been heard for centuries in the Church... Just read St. Bernanrd of Clairvaux and other MEdieval theologians as they speak of having mystical sexual unions with Christ, vis their understanding of the Song of Songs (this is the beginnings of my thesis).

gratefulbear said...

Thank you for a thoughtful and thought-provoking post, Bear. I'm saddened by Rev. Haggard's situation, and my fear is that with "spiritual advisors" like James Dobson, he'll be forced into a different closet (as an "ex-gay") and continue to lead a life of self-loathing and shame. I remember what that kind of life is like, and I don't wish that on anyone.

~ Hamza

Michael said...

For God sake they lied! They get no pity from me, they have hurt innocent people. Couples can't get insurance for their partners-children are kick out by their homes in the name of God. Have they apologized to the people they have really hurt-No. They go back in the system that created them. No one has made them accountable for the real pain they cause. They're self absorbed monsters without a conscience or soul thinking only of themselves and appearances