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

5.13.2006

Seeking Safety.

On Thursday night, I went to the MCx Young Professionals Small Group for the third installment of a discussion about homosexuality. I went in expecting another fiery discussion, as at the previous week's discussion I could not keep my mouth shut. I've apparently become notorious among this group for being able to talk circles around anyone. At one point someone asked me a direct question and there were Oooos and Aaahs at the prospect of this person taking me on. He responded with "Oh no. I'm not taking her on. Casey would destroy me in a second." And I had begun the evening having dinner with a friend where we got into a discussion of the reasons why other countries are justified in their bad feelings toward Americans. I don't even know how we got there.

I have VERY strong opinions. One might even call me opinionated. How sad. I don't like to admit that I am anything negative. I am convicted. I am resolute. I am steadfast. I am thoughtful. I am challenging. And maybe even opinionated, but I hate admitting to the negative connotations of this word.

The minister of Manhattan Church of Christ was there on Thursday because we had asked him to be a part of our discussion. His opinions and ideals matched mine, so I never felt compelled to speak up and was given time to just listen. He said something that has stuck with me. He never delivers sermons that contain political overtones, because he wants to be a place of safety for people. A place of safety. Someone who is approachable and who can engage in an even-handed discussion. Someone who can maintain their passion on a topic without becoming inflammatory. Hmmm...I'll have to think about that.

3 comments:

jch said...

Casey, not all of us are called to be safe in our speech. I appreciate Tom's position and there needs to be leaders like him but there also needs to be leaders who speak strongly about issues with certainty and clarity...even if it means the words said have political overtones. The prophets spoke in this way. So did our civil rights leaders. Your strong convictions, your beliefs need to be heard. I appreciate your willingness to probe what it means to be someone who speaks safely so that a place of safety can be found but not all of us are called to that. Keep preachin', sister. We're listening.

JTB said...

Amen to that! Some are called to be prophets. A while back you wrote about Joe naming you as one of the "blessed are they who mourn"--I never read that beatitude without thinking of Jeremiah, the weeping prophet.

Making a place of safety shouldn't equal making it easy for people to take a moral holiday; that's why we need places of safety where people like you can speak out.

Hilary said...

Casey, I keep coming back to this post and Joe/Jen's comments. Tom's perspective really spoke to me. Then suddenly I was snapped to the other side with Joe/Jen's thoughts. I agree with them, that you are a woman of deep conviction and need not feel called to be silent about what is on your heart. Selfishly though, I've been thinking about myself, and wondering in which situations am I called to be a safe place for people to question, confide, muse, and when am I called to speak with conviction, as Jen said, what I know to be morally right. Thanks for keeping me thinking.