The Quixotic Pastor

Friday, February 12, 2010

After a VERY Long Break ...

... I think it is time I started blogging again. Why?

One reason is that it appears that I have more to say than what I can say during my sermons and teaching time at church.

Another reason is that some people think that I am a gifted writer and that I have been neglecting that part of my identity and work.

A third reason is that progressive religious voices lack access to mainstream media and, hence, the public view of what Christianity is has been skewed toward a right wing agenda. Everyone who considers his or herself a religious progressive needs to begin shouting from the rooftops and demanding to be heard --that will not happen unless we take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to proclaim the Gospel as we have experienced and understand it.

Perhaps the most compelling reason is that, in the current political climate in Michigan and the rest of the United States, the political and religious right is once against trying to consolidate their power by lying about, demonizing and creating baseless fears about LGBTQ persons. The best thing I know to do about that is to be out and proud about my faith, my sexual orientation, my life experience.

More later!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sunday 15 March Sermon

I am very much indebted to many Revgalblogpals and Jan Richardson especially for my thoughts in this sermon.

I know that, beginning with Pentecost, I will be preaching to my congregants about what it means to be church and different ways of being church. Being church is different from doing church --I know this in my heart and gut, but not sure how to articulate the difference.

However, I got a start on defining that difference in this sermon.

I read an article on the Common Dreams website about how people in the US are turning away from the church and becoming increasingly secularized, America, One Nation Under No God by Michelle Goldberg. Seeing articles like this one reminds me that something is terribly wrong when the church becomes identified with corrupt and corrupting instititutions, self-serving religiosity, anti-intellectualism, patriarchy, capitalism, exclusion, injustice ... and I could go on and on.

OTOH, the Spirit is always waiting to form and reform communities of faith --perhaps the Spirit is speaking to those of us within the church in the voices of those who are outside the church, if we have the ears to hear.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

1 March 2009 Sermon

Although this feels very risky to me, I have decided that, since I am recording my sermons for the benefit of some folks who are missing service here at DPMCC, I might as well post them on my blog.

It feels risky because I do not manuscript my sermons, and sometimes I create what I say on the fly, trusting the Spirit to lead me and guide me.

But I have already begun posting sermons on DPMCC's Facebook page, so it seems reasonable to post them here as well.

Eventually, there will be a link to this site from the church's modified and updated webpage.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Fork In The Road Friday Five

Singing Owl from Revgalblogpals shares:

"I am at a life-changing juncture. I do not know which way I will go, but I have been thinking about the times, people and events that changed my life (for good or ill) in significant ways. For today's Friday Five, share with us five "fork-in-the-road" events, or persons, or choices. And how did life change after these forks in the road?"

1. Age 19 --Professed my faith in Jesus Christ for the first time and became a Christian, instead of an Agnostic. Started on a path of discipleship, which changed my life in many not-so-obvious ways and at least one BIG way because ...

2. Age 21 --Said YES my call to ordained ministry and began exploring ordination. Changed my major in college from engineering to mathematics so I could pick up some more appropriate courses without having to start over again completely. Began candidacy/formation in the United Methodist Church, started seminary, ordained a Deacon in 1988, graduated seminary 1990, ordained an Elder 1991.

3. Age 30 --Came out as a lesbian [without any advance warning] to my district superintendent and bishop, resigned my credentials for ordination and moved my church membership to an MCC congregation in Dallas --all in the same month. That was one BIG fork in the road, let me tell you ... but also a way in which I said YES to God.

4. Age 34 --Began the process of having my ordination reaffirmed in MCC, because "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" and She is persistent in grace and love.

5. Age 35 --Met DH, the woman who would become my life partner. Moved with her to Michigan about a year and a half later, where our life together and my ministry has taken some interesting turns ...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sophia shares this Memorable Pet Friday Five:

"My son's tiny beloved lizard, Elf, is looking and acting strange this week. His skin/scales are quite dark, and he is lethargic. We are adding vitamin drops to his lettuce and spinach and hoping and praying that he is just getting ready to shed his skin--but it's too soon to tell. Others in the ring have also been worried about beloved pets this week. And, in the saddest news of all, Songbird has had to bid farewell to her precious Molly, the amazing dog who is well known to readers of her blog as a constant sacrament of God's unconditional love. So in memory of Molly, and in honor of all the beloved animal companions who bless our lives: tell us about the five most memorable pets you have known."

1. Pooter. He walked into my kitchen 17 years ago and since then we've been inseparable. He is the most affectionate cat I have ever known. He even comes when he is called [unless he is eating.] He likes to drink beer out of my guests' glasses when we're not looking. Pooter is a character!

2. Angel. My friend found Angel on I-35 near Denton Texas and saved her from certain death. Lou advertised for the owner, but when one was not found, Angel became mine, not because I like dogs, but because I had a fenced backyard. Angel has grown on me for 12 years, but DH really, really loves her. No matter where she is in the house, Angel can hear the sound of a piece of diced carrot or potato hitting the kitchen floor and will run to get it.

3. Ellie. I wish I could get to a pic of sweet Ellie, but I can't right now. Ellie was DH's dog, a dachshund something mix who was just so precious. Ellie was my favorite dog ever. She loved to curl up in your lap and be petted. Although she was about the same size as Pooter, she took up as much room in the bed as DH or I. Ellie crossed over that rainbow bridge about 3 years ago.
4. Deeogee. DH's sheltie, who was in my life for only about 2 years, but in DH's life for much longer. She was sooooo smart, and sooooo pretty. When the arthritis crippled her back legs, she was still so full of life and energy that DH ordered a doggie wheelchair for her --she was next to unstoppable when she got it. Deeogee crossed over in 2000, and is buried in a pet cemetary near Bowie, Texas.

5. Boy. Boy was DH's dad's "golden receiver". DH's dad never trained Boy, except to do his doggie dooties outside, and fed him pretty well only the leftovers from the restaurants he frequented. When Boy got to be too much for DH's failing and increasingly fragile dad, we took Boy. When we got him, he was about 25 pounds over weight, he was diabetic, he smelled to high heaven and his fur was matted with motor oil, grease and God knows what. We started with a tub bath ... then 6 to 8 weeks of a strict dog food only diet, lots of playful exercise with Angel, walks with the mamas made a new dog out of him. The early excesses of his life did get to him and his heart gave out --he crossed over in 2007.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday Five: My Favorite Things

Songbird from the Revgalblogpals shares this affirming Friday Five:

"In a week of wondering how various things in our family life will unfold, I found myself thinking of the way Maria comforted the Von Trapp children in one of my favorite movies. Frightened by a thunder storm, the children descend upon her, and she sings to them about her favorite things, taking their minds off the storm. So, let's encourage ourselves. Share with us five of your favorite things. Use words or pictures, whatever expresses it best."

Heh heh. It would be fun to revisit this F5 in about 6 months and see how my answers are different. But today, here's what I say.
1. Several days of sunshine after dark, dreary, gloomy days

2. The prospect of warmer temps and --dare I say it? early spring rains? [Naaawww, can't be, that's just wishful thinking in Michigan in February ...]

3. Easter. Easter I live for, Christmas I live through ...

4. DH and my 10th anniversary is the week after next. Wow ...

5. The desire for green, growing things and dreams of gardening.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Creating Change, some thoughts

For many, many years now, generally in the last part of January, first part of February, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force ["the Task Force"] hosts a gathering of 2000+ national and international activists called Creating Change.

Last week, as a volunteer with a local program of the American Friends Service Committee, I travelled to Denver to this gathering to learn various advocacy skills from experienced activists, to challenge and be challenged, and to look at the intersections between advocacy work for the LGBTQIQAetc community and peace, inclusion and justice work for other communities that suffer under the weight of patriarchy, privatized privilege and poverty.

One trend developing within the Creating Change community that I deeply appreciate --and celebrate that I see it happening with other LGBT advocacy groups as well-- is a new emphasis on LGBT persons reclaiming their spirituality, even their Christian spirituality.

In other words, room is being made at the table for persons of faith in a gathering where religion and spirituality have almost always been suspect. The queer community has tended to assume that, because some religious voices are oppressive, all religious voices are oppressive. Christianity is particularly evil within this paradigm: if some Christians are heterosexist, then all Christians must be. If some Christians are anti-science, anti-intellectual, then all Christians must be ... and so forth and so on.

More than once in my life when people have known I was queer and I came out as a Christian, I have basically been accused of "fraternizing with the enemy" and "demonized" as an oppressor myself.

I am so glad to see that changing for many reasons. When it comes to LGBT civil rights, I think this is of particular importance since so much of the voice of the opposition comes from religious people and organizations who have co-opted the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to serve their own political ends, to exclude those whom they fear and to shore up their own power and privilege.

BTW, one reason why I am reflecting here about this is that I have to submit a report for our program's website about my experiences at Creating Change.