"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day


My Obligation.

I've been looking through the blogs of friends today and through the blogs they connect me to and have found a very frank discussion of the Church of Christ's role in relationship to the gay community. I am truly impressed by what most of these people have said, and alarmed/appalled by the comments they are receiving. I looked back at my blog entries and realized that I haven't talked about this. It could be for several reasons. 1. Everyone who reads this thing knows very well my opinions about this issue; 2. This is something so important to me, that I don't really know that anything I say could do it justice; 3. I don't know that I want to be part of the fray. But today I feel compelled to be (I apologize if it seems a bit disconnected. It's really several posts in one.)

So, Brokeback Mountain. I think it's very interesting that a film about something that happens all the time has caused such a stir among Christians--either being on the side that think this is important to witness, or on the side that are appalled that it exists. I think all of these people, and really everyone, needs to see or read The Laramie Project. This is the story of a theatre company going to Laramie, Wyoming and interviewing the community about Matthew Shepherd's murder. It is amazing and terrifying and in so many ways indescribable. It has the same messages as Brokeback Mountain, but is so much more difficult to watch, and because of that, so much more convicting. Matthew Shepherd did nothing wrong. He hid nothing. He betrayed no one. And he was met with such violence as no one should ever even have to imagine.

I feel like this issue will be very important to my generation. Gay and Lesbian people are the last Americans who are left unprotected against bias and hate crimes and inequality. I believe it is our job as Christians to stand up for people who are in need of protection. And I know that for many Christians, the sin is still greater than the sinner. But I say this to them. Imagine the person you love most in the world. Now imagine that they are gay. Imagine the torture that they go through everyday knowing that their society, and, for many their church, believes that in loving the person they love, they are committing an unforgiveable sin. Imagine them feeling rejected by their families and their friends, and ultimately their God. I have seen this happen over and over and over again, and that is why this is so important to me. I feel that there is no greater injustice than taking God away from someone. I believe this is what the religious community is doing when we reject people from our body based soley on their sexual orientation.

I don't believe that this should matter so much. While I understand that people often come to define themselves by aspects that are singled out by others, it's just sex. There are many, many, many things that should be more important in defining a person. My straightness does not define me. My personhood does.

I was a part of a Bible study on homosexuality when I was in college led by one of the smartest people I've ever met. He began the discussion by saying that if you had never struggled with homosexuality, or had never witnessed someone you loved in their struggle, that you were there to listen, and not to talk. This didn't really go over well, but I believe it led to one of the most frank and enlightening conversations we ever had on the matter. We all know the verses in the Bible that say this is wrong, but when engaged in this debate we often forget the ones that speak of compassion and love for all people. Shouldn't compassion always be greater than condemnation?



I was thinking today about the word "Single" when used to refer to a person. I think it's weird. Married people aren't referred to as "Doubles". Singles bars, clubs for singles, singles ministries drive me crazy, krazy, krazee. I refuse, refuse, refuse to participate in these things. I might be single. I might always be single. But I will never be "a single." I think it's odd to define yourself by something like this. And maybe unhealthy. Defining yourself by something you're missing can't make you feel anything but incomplete.


Three Years.

Sunday marked three years that the United States has had a military presence in Iraq. I remember the week the war began. I was convinced that NYC was going to be blown up, so much so that I had to buy toothpaste and refused to buy anything larger than a travel size. You don't need all the toothpaste when the world is coming to an end! I was working as a temp at Krispi Kreme's factory in Queens and was working on their filing in the conference room. I sat there (eating donuts) and watched the news coverage on the television they had available for the occasion. And I cried. People would come in for their lunch breaks and talked to me about the war. Most of them were for it. I tried to say nothing. "After all, Saddam was responsible for 9/11. Don't you care about that? You weren't here then. You can't possibly know."

I've discovered in recent weeks that I have no sense of self-preservation. If I were ever in a plane crash in the Andes, I would be the first one eaten. People tell me that this is why I'm so against the war. Because I cannot find the place within me where I want to survive above all else. I have always been a hard-core pacifist, before I knew what a pacifist was. I do not know that there is ever a situation in which I would find it justifiable to fight back like that. It's the same reason I don't believe in spanking children. There's a very fine line between punishment and retaliation. You have to be very calm and very self-aware to be certain that you are not crossing that line.


It is Finished.

I quit my job today. And I will be starting the job mentioned many weeks ago in three more weeks. As I rode the train in to work this morning, I started feeling very ill. "I'm going to have to quit my job today." I got to work and printed out my resignation letter, carefully crafted the night before. I went about doing what I had to do for the morning and then got up boldly to go and talk to my boss. But she wasn't there. So I came back to my office and was talking to my co-workers (the nice ones) and was told that another SWer quit last week. I felt guilty, so I told them I was quitting. They were sad, but understood very well why I had to do it. And then I had lunch. Someone told me that my boss was in her office, so I gathered up my things and my courage and went to her office again. But there were three people there eating lunch with her and she was on the speaker phone. "I need to talk to you later on," I said. "Just let me know," she said. I went back to my office and waited. Did some work. Talked on the phone. I got a call from my boss that she was ready to speak with me. I gathered my things and my courage again, and went downstairs.

"I'm here because...I'm sorry but....I have to resign my position." I managed it with no tears, a huge feat. And I waited for her response.

"Okay. I understand."

"YOU UNDERSTAND!" I thought.

"I knew."


"Good luck."

I then, without prompting to do so, explained the reasons I had decided to quit. I had rehearsed the speech in my head for weeks, so it had to be done. As I was walking back to my office, I began trying to put my finger on the feeling I had. The only thing I could think of was the feeling that some of my friends who have come out to their families have described. You build this thing up in your head as one of the most difficult things you'll ever have to do. You work out just what you're going to say for every contingency. And then it happens....you say it. And they say "I knew." And you think "F- THIS!" This is what I got today. I know that things in my head are always a little more dramatic than in real life. I pictured maybe some anger, maybe some violent regret, a bit of pleading to keep me there. I got nothing--no surprise, no shock, no awe, no apologies....NOTHING. So what do I say...F- THAT.

UPDATE: This past week has been mad weird, yo. I resigned on Monday afternoon and by Tuesday everybody in my clinic knew, but no one would tell me who told them. It wasn't so much a secret, but I was just shocked that it happened so fast. And the response I got was very humbling. Everyone asked me not to go, but understood, and had been long aware, of the reasons I decided to go. I found out that one person, who I wouldn't have suspected at all, had gone to the administration on my behalf. I spoke to the woman who runs my program and she asked that I speak to the director of social work and let her know how serious I am. And I heard a rumor that the main reason I'm leaving may be leaving herself (not of her own volition). I told my friends in the clinic that I am 99% leaving. That 1% depends on seeing with my own eyes that something is being done. I feel like I'm leading a coup. It's fantastic.


Viva la Revolucion!

Tonight at CCfB, I gave the communion meditation, something I've done before and something I really enjoy doing. I think it turned out well this time, as I put alot of work/thought into it. My friend and fellow CCfB-er, JTB, said I should put it up here, and as I had already typed it out, here it is. Viva La Revolucion!

I have long been witness to other people’s revolutions. One of my best friends in high school led a walk-out of GT English because she was tired of sharing her classroom with the student council. Several of my friends in college flunked out because they had to be there and didn’t want to be. And of course there’s Che. When I was in college I began studying the revolutionaries in Latin America—Che Guevarra, Fidel Castro, Simon Bolivar, Emiliono Zapata. I told my friends that after college I planned to move to Mexico and join the Zapatistas, only in jest of course, but knowing that I longed for change, for upheaval, for justice.

I have known many people who have gone somewhere, witnessed something or read something that has changed their entire being, an internal revolution of sorts. An uprising of the spirit bringing about great change. In reading about the world’s revolutions, I have found that great action often begins with the internal revolutions of a few. I am inspired by the revolution I see taking place here [at CCfB]. I grew up in a place where the poor were blamed for their plight and thought of only on Christmas. Where difference is avoided and defiance is unacceptable. Where the world is small and history books are right and true. Where disparity is blamed on those who despair. I was taught that my purpose as Christian was simply to make other Christians. For many years all of these things kept me from being close to God, because I knew this was not my purpose. Then came my revolution.

I discovered that God is indeed good. That the world is huge, and not mine to save alone. That there is a place for everyone in God’s kingdom and that there should be a place for everyone in God’s Church. I feel like this is what communion should be. It should be like one of those uncomfortable family-style dining restaurants in the City where you’re seated at a long table with people you’ve never met, who you may have nothing in common with aside from the fact that you are at the table. And that is enough. You eat together. You share a smile, sometimes you talk to each other, sometimes you don’t. But you are there to share that meal together and that is enough.


Silence and Equality.

I was reading someone else's blog today where a battle is being waged in the comments section about the role of women in the church, and not just the Church of Christ. It got me to thinking. I haven't so much studied these things, but have simply trusted that the people who made the decisions to make my church in Manhattan a gender equity congregation read up and wouldn't have led us astray. I just cannot reconcile within myself the prospect of God declaring me unfit to lead, unfit to speak my mind, unfit to serve.

1 Corinthians 14:34 (As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission as the Law says.) and Galatians 3:28 (There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.) are the two verses used by the main-line Protestant churches to justify whichever side of the debate they land on. The reactionary me gets a flash of anger at the words "remain silent," "not allowed," and the most evil of words "submission," and a wave of peace comes over me with the entire verse in Galatians. I never really thought about this until I moved to NYC. I went to conservative churches my whole life. I kinda liked the fact that I would never be made to lead a prayer, or do a sermon, or lead singing. I never really thought about the fact that I, on my own, with no spouse, would never be allowed to speak to a mixed group of people over the age of 10. In college, I was part of a less conservative group where ways were found for women to speak. If I wasn't quoting scripture, I wasn't teaching. I was just telling a story or voicing my opinion. This church (in Austin) is now facing great internal conflict because some prominent members are not okay with their congregation becoming one of gender equity. But now that I've been going to a church where gender equality is practiced for about 4 years, I cannot imagine going back.

This seems to be the way churches are going these days, and it just makes logical sense. The women's liberation movement was not a bad thing. It gave us greater opportunity to be independent and contribute to society. Why would this be true only in "earthly realms"? You can't send me to college and teach me how to respect my own intellect, and then expect me to be able to turn this off in what is supposed to be the most important aspect of my life. The God portrayed in the New Testatment does not seem to be one who would tolerate creating divisions among His people. And historically women were leaders in many of the early house churches set up by Paul, as it is much more difficult for a man to convert to Judaism (as I am not a Bible scholar, I am going by what I was taught in The Rise of Christianity at UT. But the guy who taught it was Church of Christ, if that makes this any more valid). So why would it be different now? Was their leadership merely a question of supply and demand?



Four Jobs I've Had in My Life:
Subway Sandwich Artist
Secretary to Evil
Copy Editor
Social Worker

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:
Drop Dead Gorgeous
The Breakfast Club
The Pianst

Four Places I've Lived:
Perryton, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Austin, Texas
Brooklyn, New York

Shows I Love to Watch:
Will & Grace
Law & Order
What Not to Wear
The Gilmore Girls

Four Websites I Visit Daily (and more than once daily):
New York Times
My Space
Washington Mutual

Four Favorite Foods:
Anything Mexican and Mostly Vegetarian
Turkey Burgers
Mac & Cheese
French Toast

Four Places I Would Like to Visit:
Monterrey, Mexico

Four Places I'd Rather Be:
My Apartment
In Austin, Texas with my peeps
In an office with a window

Four Albums I Can't Live Without:
RENT (The Musical)
Coldplay (X&Y)
Counting Crows (This Desert Life)
Nirvana (Nirvana)

Four People I am Tagging:
I believe that no one's left to tag. How sad....unless there are touch backs.