Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blogging for LGBT Families on Trinity Sunday


June 1st is "Blogging for LGBT families day" and in light of my calling (as an Episcopal priest), I chose to blog within the context of Trinity Sunday.

John 15:26 - 16:6

26”When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

16”I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. 2They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. 3And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. 4But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts."

I don't usually begin blog posts with a portion of the Gospel for the day. But today, as I contemplate the Trinity, I also find myself contemplating our own little trinity of Mama, Mommy and baby.

And, in light of the reading I find myself contemplating a worldly truth--"an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God." This is not to say that I fear for our lives--whilst our home state is not the most progressive of places we are surrounded by great neighbors and a loving community--it is to say that I am all too aware that there are folks in this world who would gladly and righteously persecute us because we are a lesbian couple raising a child together. Further, the persecution would be labeled as being in "God's name". I am also aware that persecution doesn't necessarily mean physical assault...it can also mean the insidious nature of powers and principalities that believe that it is appropriate and faithful to with-hold legal protections from families like ours.

"and they will do this because they have not know the Father or me"
Okay, feel free to accuse me of proof texting. But, I do believe that the foundation of the Gospel is love and therefore my interpretation here is based in this loving center and in my understanding of baptism. Bigotry, persecution, exclusion, intolerance and hatred stem from a place of not recognizing the loving God in our midst. In the baptismal covenant, as found in The Book of Common Prayer, we are asked to "seek and serve Christ in all persons". This includes LGBT folk as well as everyone else.

So, if we cannot see Christ in each other (and ourselves) we fail to recognize the truth that the Gospel proclaims on this Trinity Sunday--Christ is in our midst. God binds together my own family and is our center. God calls us to advocate for each other, to be Christ's hands and feet in the world.

Further, we are called to be known..."they do this because they do not know". Do those who seek to persecute us, who feel that it is a moral good to deny us and our baby full and equal rights even know us? Do they know who we are, do they know the GLBT folk in their own families, their own communities, their own churches/mosques/synagogues? Do they know that in their persecution they attack people who they could come to love, or love already?

And, by this I don't mean "love the sinner hate the sin". By this, I mean that they love us as we already are...as God made us and meant us to be. Who, in knowing our baby (with his bald little noggin, chubby feet and rubber band wrists) could hate him and the love that brought him to be? Who in knowing our devotion to him, could deny our right to raise him with love or our right to teach him to uphold his own baptismal covenant (which we will speak on his behalf a few months from now)? Who?

Now, don't answer that question. I am sure there are people who could. And, we plan on protecting him (as much as we are able) from those folks. But, there are folks who persecute out of their own ignorance--out of a place of believing that LGBT folk are "other" and are not part of their communities. Out of a place of not knowing the truth of God's love for all, regardless.

So, on this Trinity Sunday and in anticipation of blogging for LGBT families day...it is my prayer that we will all come know and be knownn and that our love will be recognized in truth and in wholeness. And, that we will all be prepared to advocate for those who are persecuted. So be it.






Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Wildflower

Our Mister Moo (yes, that's what we call him when we aren't saying his name!) is the most amazing and remarkable baby we have ever beheld. I know many parents (if not most) feel this way about their children--but I hadn't really expected to feel that way about my own. I am an old school skeptic, occasional pessimist, and my way of coping with challenges is often to contemplate the "worst case scenario" as a means of hoping for the best whilst preparing for the worst. So, my approach to newborn parenting has been one of anticipating loads of fussiness, sleep deprivation and crankiness (on our parts!). While we have daily fussiness and I am sleep deprived and I we do have our cranky moments--they are all eclipsed by the rapturous love we have for this little creature. We are consumed, we are smitten. And, I am bemused...

I am bemused because my prayer life as the Mama of a one month old has devolved into my nightly prayer of "Please, God, let him sleep, oh please". It is perhaps the most fervent prayer I have every prayed and it is delivered with greater consistency than any other form of prayer I have ever undertaken (my apologies to those who thought I was using my maternity leave to fully embrace the daily office). But, occasionally in my prayer life I have moments of revelation...moments in which my prayer transcends the rote and I feel that I am most earnestly pursuing a relationship with the Divine. And, this prayer of a tired mama's desperation, is so grounded and so based in a sense of my own humanity and my desires for my child that it really does seem to enter into that "Buberesque" place of the "I-Thou". My relationship with Mister Moo is so focused, so intertwined (as I tighten the sling that holds him tightly sleeping against my chest) that I cannot help but feel the presence of God.

Being a Mama is making me a better priest...and each day of building this relationship (with my spouse and with our child) is transformative. In Cranmer's liturgical depiction of the "journey of the heart" there is the sense that our hearts are continuously journeying towards and drawn to God. This parenting, this Mama'ing, is truly a journey of the heart--the simplest yet most difficult journey I have ever embarked upon.

(I will post at another point about how in the process of parenting we are constantly deferring our own needs, wants and desires...and that in this deference I see salvation history at work!).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Not Quite Perichoresis

The concept of perichoresis has always been one of my favorite ways of understanding the relationship of the members of the Trinity to each other--mutual indwelling. Or, as a favorite theology professor put it, the dance in which all the members of the Trinity participate and into which we are invited.

As a lover of dance, and as someone who danced both modern and jazz for over a decade of her life, I am enamored with the idea that God has invited me into a dance--and , like any good partner, God responds and reciprocates as we trust each other in our lifts and leaps. Without words we can know when we should bend, when we should accept each other's weight, when we should provide counter balance and when we should collapse into the floor. And, in each other's arms we find a wholeness that was somehow missing before we assumed the dance. We are greater in the dance than we are when we stand alone around the perimeter of the dance floor (which makes me think of Victor Turner's language of the "field").

This relationship of mutuality is akin to that which I aspire to with my spouse and now our child. Trust. Mutual reliance. A whole greater than the parts. And definition's of self that are grounded in, but not chained to, each other. The dance, the relationship, liberates me in the midst of a grounded life. It allows me to embrace our mutual dependence as an aspect of freedom. And as the baby cries to be nursed, yet again, I ponder who he will make me as we grow together (in faith and love).

Suffer some so that others might suffer less?

23B, Scripture appointed (track 2) +++ Growing up poor meant growing up with the constant awareness of who had what. More or ...