Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The grace and impatience to wait

Give us the grace and impatience
to wait for your coming to the bottoms of our toes,
to the edges of our fingertips.

We do not want our several worlds to end.

Come in your power and
come in your weakness
in any case
and make all things new.

--Walter Brueggemann, from Advent in Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth

I've talked before about M and B, members of my mishpacha, my chosen family. We first met one another (about 6-7 years ago) because B and I were working at the same church. She and I (and later, her M and my Beloved) quickly became the kind of friends that live in the deep chambers of one another's hearts. The four of us share the experience of being lesbians in ministry (and their spouses), and we've tried to help one another to keep right on becoming, to live out our callings faithfully.

It is my honor to walk with her as she does so. She's profiled in one of our local newsmagazines today. Take a look at her story.

B is one of those people who lives with deep integrity but manages not to be insufferable about it. :-) She lives the vision of church that I described here, though sometimes it comes at quite a cost to her personally. Funny thing is, part of the reason that she does so is that the Institution has made it clear that she doesn't really belong "on the road," for no reason that has to do with her call or her competence.

It's just about That Issue, again. Homosexuality. Yawn.

Don't get me wrong; her pastoral heart would have called her to the barren places anyway. She's an unconventional thinker who looks out for those who have been tossed aside. I'd like to think that this is a Pauline moment, that all things DO work together for the good of those who love God. But that feels like too simplistic an answer, because justice is not present. Though she is, in a sense, doing exactly the ministry to which she's so clearly called, she's also tethered to an unjust, Catch-22 regulation that requires her to choose one of these avenues:
  1. Deny her vocation as a minister in order to live out her vocation as a married person.
  2. Deny her vocation as a married person in order to live out her vocation as a minister.
There are lots of possible versions of those two choices, but that's the distillation. It is a specious choice.

Instead, B has found a third way. She lives in (mostly) calm, clear-eyed and grace-filled protest against the injustice done to her, but puts her ministry first, and keeps her eyes on Christ. As a result, with B (as with so many of our friends in similar situations who have the grace and impatience to wait for the church to catch up with God), new life keeps on springing up around her. You can almost smell the fresh breeze that is the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps because of her vantage point as an outsider in her church, she understands something that's much harder to appreciate from a comfortable berth on the inside of anything. As B says,

In the end, love is stronger than walls.

Thanks be to God.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I'm so glad to have read about her and about the others in the article.

Turbo: said...

Wow. That was totally beautiful. I struggle so hard with spirituality, specifically Christianity, but your blog affirms the words of Jullian of Norwich that "all will be well." Thank you.

Choralgirl said...

Turbo, I love that quote, too. :-)

The Starving Artist said...

Thanks, as always for your grace. We newbie "outies" truly appreciate your example and these stories of grace and boldness.

While the article does move me to tears, especially as I think of my own loved one who must hide herself so as not to be kicked out of seminary, it does indeed all come down to this: Love IS stronger than walls. I tell myself this as I contemplate what could happen to my partner. We have to keep living, hoping, loving, and telling the truth! Change is coming...I just wish it would hurry up.