The Quixotic Pastor

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Off to Pittsburgh

... for a denominational regional conference. No PC access ... no blogging .... no e-mail ...

Now if I could only figure out how to lose my cell phone .... no, no, no, just kidding!

I am looking forward to some much needed alone time ... and a jacuzzi. Enjoying worship as a participant, instead of as a leader ... and a jacuzzi. Being at a gathering with 350-400 Queer and Queer friendly people of faith ... hopefully not trying to get in the jacuzzi at the same time.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Proud to be a Eunuch?

So, under the heading of "Biblical Queers: Our Gay Saints", this Sunday's services are devoted to telling the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch from Acts and the community claiming God's promise from Isaiah 56:1-8:

Thus says the Lord: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. Happy is the mortal who does this, the one who holds it fast, who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it, and refrains from doing any evil.
Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and do not let the eunuch say, “I am just a dry tree.” For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant— these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.

It's nice to know that, in spite of the machinations of some within the church, although some churches continue to close their doors, their altars and their pulpits to TLGB people like me, I'm welcome at the Holy Mountain, which is a house of prayer for ALL peoples ... especially for those who in Israel's past have been particularly outcast or specifically excluded, like the foreigner, the barren, or those whose genitalia don't function in a normative way, i.e. to produce progeny. Disrespect and disregard for those who do not bring forth children continues in sometimes not-so-subtle forms today ... ask almost any childless couple, especially straight couples, and they'll tell you so.

Jesus talks about eunuchs in the Gospel of Matthew [chapter 19:21] during his challenge to the pharisees that their understanding of divorce is irresponsible and unjust. When Jesus calls them to a higher standard, they say that under those circumstances it is not expedient to marry. Jesus' reply is that some are eunuchs because they are born that way, some are eunuchs because humans have made them so and some are eunuchs as a matter of choice because of the kindom of heaven ... and certainly Jesus himself, if he was indeed a single, celebate man, possibly falls in that third category. As a lesbian who never tried to conform to society's usual expectation of women and knew instinctually that neither sex with nor marriage to any man would ever work for me, I consider myself as a eunuch of the first kind, one who is born that way. The whole point of Jesus' comment about eunuchs to the pharisees is basically to say to them, "y'know, marriage [as they understood it within that culture, within that time] isn't the only option for people ..."

Anyway, the great thing about the Ethiopian Eunuch's story is that Philip baptizes him into the faith without reservation, after Philip had taken the time to teach him something about what he was reading, about who Jesus was. Imagine the contrast: here's a foreigner, clearly of African descent, a person of some political power yet outcast from the presence of God in the temple and the very righteousness for which he hungers and thirsts. Here's Philip, a Jewish kid from the sticks, blue collar, member of an oppressed minority, not that well educated, but he knows his Hebrew Scriptures. When it is all said and done, Philip goes on to another ministry task, the eunuch's still a eunuch ... but at least he has found a home with God.

Y'all can tell that I have much more to do with this yet to make it into a usable sermon.

But at least I've blogged ... hopefully my experience will be different from Lutheran Chik's and Blogger WON'T eat my homework ...

Monday, October 23, 2006

She was beautiful ... inside and out

I, my DH and my DH's brother Mr. B flew out Friday morning to attend ONTL's [our niece the lawyer's] wedding in Kansas City. Other than a few stressful travel moments related to rapidly shifting flight times and flight numbers [our plans were changed for us 5 or 6 times by Delta and the airport] it was a really wonderful time.

ONTL is a beautiful young lady, body and soul. She's tall, dark, slim and brilliant, a regal queen in her white wedding gown. "I sing the body electric" as a phrase describes her perfectly. There's nothing she won't tackle, and 99% of the time she'll succeed. Her new husband [whom she been with for 7 years] is equally as intelligent, as fair complected as she is dark, possessed of all-american, boyish, deeply dimpled good looks topped by close-cropped red hair, as solid as she is willowy, as steady as she is quick-silver ... together they are thunder and lightning. Together they are breath-taking. Very complementary. Much to teach one another. They will change the world dramatically someday, somehow, I have no doubt --watch out!

The ceremony was awesome, done by a family friend and former pastor of the All-American who is a kindly pastoral man [Mr. B says "He smiles when he prays ..."]. My role was their unity ceremony, much more powerful than a few candles ... consisting of a beautiful wooden chest with an ornate lock and two skeleton keys, a very good bottle of wine, love letters they have written to one another, letters written to them by their families, tokens of love they have exchanged through the years, all locked away in a beautiful chest. The idea is that, if/when they find their marriage challenged, they will ask themselves if they need to open the chest to remember why they are married in the first place. They will sit down together, enjoy the bottle of wine, read the letters, release the power of their exchanged tokens and recapture their joy and reason for being husband and wife. The keys were presented to their mothers, so they will have to ask for help if that time ever comes. And if it doesn't ... well then, they get to reopen the chest on their silver anniversary. We kept all of this secret from everyone until it happened, although it would have been kind for me to warn All-American's uncle, who sang "You Raise Me Up" [the Josh Groban song] while they were sealing the chest and presenting the keys, so that he would have to sing through his tears ...

Then we partied! Oh did we party! All-American's family owns a catering business among their endeavors, so we were well feasted. DH and I, as old and decrepit as we both were feeling, danced the night away together, full speed ahead and damn the opinion-torpedos, double-two and disco, 3-step and swing ... My DH was absolutely gorgeous herself, and I feasted my eyes on her almost as much as on ONTL. She was actually headache-free and her troublesome knee was co-operative, so she danced freely and fluidly. I simply fall in love with DH all over again when I watch her dance.

In our evening attire, we walked back through downtown KC the two blocks back to our hotel from the reception at about 11:45 am to get packed up and prepared to fly out ... we were in bed by 12:30a because we had to arise at 4:30a to get to KCI by 6a so we could get on our 7:20a flight.

Yesterday evening I was a zombie. Couldn't even stay awake to watch the Tigers defeat the Cards ...

Today, unfortunately, I am still a bit of a zombie ... and have some respiratory issues to boot. But work calls and duties beckon. DH has just returned from a job interview, so I am going downstairs to find out what happened.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Buried Treasures .... in the Book of Proverbs????

So last night at one church's Bible Study, we began looking at the Book of Proverbs, the choice of the group.

When they chose it last week, I was thinking to myself, oh this might be kind of difficult to teach ... but then, as I started getting into the preparation for it on Monday, I suddenly discovered I was thirsting for something like this, and now I am looking forward to drinking deeply from what had been a largely undiscovered well.

For what have I been thirsty?

Especially in this political season, especially in our increasingly polarized, sound-bite driven US culture, especially as I confront fundamentalism of many different flavors, I have been thirsting for WISDOM!

And Proverbs is the exemplary Wisdom book, at least in the Protestant Canon of Scripture.

That wisdom literature even exists in Scripture is a sign to me that God intended us to make use of human reason and experience as well as revelation as we make life decisions, and not revelation only [i.e. Scripture].

I am also remembering something that Marcus Borg wrote [I think] about Jesus himself being primarily a teacher of wisdom [because he taught in parables] as well as God's Wisdom Incarnate ...

And wisdom is not the kind of knowledge that is easily gained or explained, nor does it lend itself to sound-bites. It is something that is cultivated over a lifetime of building relationships and collecting or sharing experiences, something that requires a real journey and effort to engage ... something that, when we pray the Serenity Prayer, we pray for --"God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the WISDOM to know the difference" --which of course is the hardest thing to discern, isn't it?

So, anyway, I am more excited about this study than I was before. I am looking forward to being reminded of some long-neglected practical advice for living and enjoying a little common sense perhaps? Of course, one has to be careful about a certain elitism associated with knowledge ... but these days, ignorance sometimes seems like a weird form of elitism, and knowledge is not as valued as it once was ...

Monday, October 16, 2006

11 Days Since ...? Wow!

Yikes. It has been a long, long time since I last posted anything.

Where have I been? I have, besides the usual routine of preparing for worship ... worked on my income tax, that I am finishing today, which necessitated a thorough cleaning/reorganizing of my office [10 medium bags full of shredded paper for fire starting] ... did a Holy Union for a very special couple at one of my churches ... went to a same-sex marriage forum in the Thumb ...
visited two congregants who were in the hospital ... hosted one of our denominational evangelists and her partner [oooh, but they were such a blessing!!!!]

I have managed to read through some of the revgalblogpals blogs, however, from time to time and once again I must express my gratitude to this online community for expanding my spirit ... as well as feeding, airing and watering my mind when the numbers get to be too much ...

And, right now, the numbers ARE getting to be too much ... and I am not just talking about my taxes either! Which I need to get to ... right now!

More later ...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Throwing The Bastards Out and So On ....

Last night I attended my first ever gathering of the Michigan Green Party, where we heard from various Green candidates for the upcoming election.

Although I have been a life-long Democrat, with only occasional forays into the Republican Party, I am becoming increasingly convinced that the only way politics will change for the better in this country is that there must be more voices at the political table! For too long in the United States, the political system has been like a cozy little romantic table for two at a ritzy restaurant [a meal a corporate lobbyist provided!!!]: the couple may disagree, may have some serious fights, but when it gets right down to it, they will do what is necessary to preserve the relationship, even if it means living in denial about whether or not it is really working, about whether or not it is corrupt to the core. I haven't yet created a table-analogy for a political system for the US that might work better ... but I am working on it.

Anyway, there are three things that spur me into exploring 3rd and 4th party alternatives. First, I am extremely pissed that Democrats are not standing up to the Executive Branch's rape of the constitution and I DO NOT CARE when they whine that they are in the minority and can't do anything. At least TRY, for Christ's sake! I love the Feingolds and the Conyers and the Boxers and the Kuchinichs and the Waxmans --but there aren't enough of them. You see, that makes me wonder if, when we throw the bastards out, if we're not just replacing them with another set of bastards ...

Second, I do not like that the top dog 2 parties have too much power over their players. Here's a stunning example from local politics. There's a Republican candidate for our state senate who, while he wants to support GLBT civil rights, is afraid to do so openly lest he lose his party's support --i.e. funding! He feels unable to vote his conscience ... and I have to ask, how can he represent his constituency effectively? If there are more voices at the table besides two, there has to be more give and take in the conversation ... and it gives him a way to represent me by building coalitions with other parties.

I will write more later ... my DH, who is currently a member of the "I-want-to-be-working" class needs me to print off some resumes for her for a job fair she is attending today.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

So much to pray about ...

I am absolutely stunned about the Amish school shooting in Lancaster, PA.

Any school shooting is awful, and I was also troubled by the shootings in Bailey, CO and Wisconsin last week. But this one is worse to me, maybe because it was a one-room school, among a community of peace-loving people, who are basically defenseless against this sort of thing. This is not a school that would likely install metal detectors ... and have armed security on campus.

I know the Amish have a proven track record of survival within a world that is often hostile to their values, although not usually hostile to the Amish themselves. But this is something really different ...