The Quixotic Pastor

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

RDQ Returns From Washington DC, Part 3

In my e-mail this morning, I found a request from the intern at the American Friends Service Committee [AFSC] Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered [LGBT] Issues Office for a reflection of 500 words or less about our trip to DC for the Clergy Call To Justice, parts of which would eventually be included on a new and improved website for this work.

I am privileged to serve with a variety of individuals from different parts of the state and from different faith perspectives on the Program Committee for this office.

Soooo … this is what I wrote:

The vision statement of my particular Christian denomination, Metropolitan Community Churches, says that “just as Jesus did, we are called to:
· Do justice, show kindness, and live humbly with God. (Micah 6:8)
· Explore life’s questions with open hearts and minds.
· Raise our voices in sacred defiance against religious (and political or systemic) exclusion.
· Reach out to those with no hope.
· Lift up new generations of remarkable, far-reaching spiritual activists.”

The activism in which I engage at a state level, and the work I do with the AFSC LGBT issues program as well as other organizations, I do because I believe it is as necessary to my being a disciple of Jesus as worship, study, prayer or any other Christian discipline. Because those who most often seek to exclude GLBT persons in the United States claim to speak from a Christian perspective, as a Christian myself I feel a special and particular call to witness to a different understanding of who Jesus is and what is required of Christ’s followers.

So, when the opportunity arose, I traveled to DC with the intention of doing justice, seeking to raise my voice with others in sacred defiance against religious, political and systemic exclusion. I rejoiced in the opportunity to work with people from many different faith traditions and perspectives for a common goal, and experienced in all of those gathered in that place an “inbreaking”of the Kindom of God –yes, Kindom, that’s not a typo—where everyone, regardless of how they may have traveled to the table, what map they may have followed, how they understood who or what was guiding them, found a mutual welcome –at least we tried! As one of the speakers put it, “the divine in me sees the divine in you, the divine in you sees the divine in me” --and for a time, we found a home with one another in our common purpose of raising our diverse voices in sacred defiance.

I feel I have returned from DC with a deepened and broadened awareness of the importance of being a pilgrim-activist [or an activist-pilgrim] within a broadly diverse faith community. Not just a pilgrim, one who engages in a faith journey seeking unity with the Divine, seeking love, wholeness, truth and beauty … Not merely an activist, one engaging in the political process to accomplish a certain end or desired effect … But rather someone whose experience of and relationship with God is expressed in the doing of justice, not for “just us” or “just me” but for all creation.

I am not able nor would I presume to speak for other persons of other faith traditions, although I value the revelation of God I receive from them and strive to honor their witness. But, isn’t one aspect of the doing of justice ultimately about extending a deep welcome to those we consider “other?” –and waiting for welcome to be extended to us before we “take”? Welcome to our tables. Welcome to our community. Welcome to our places of power. Welcome to our places of worship. Perhaps the best of what I brought back from Washington DC is a greater awareness of the necessity of mutual welcome for the living out of my faith –and just how radical that simple act can be!


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