Try

I love how you work so hard and so passionately for justice for all people and all creation. I appreciate the variety of ways you approach that work and the diligence and care you take with it. I love seeing the forms that takes — from caring for the environment to buying organic to praying for habitat houses to praying at LGBT rallies. You are an awesome woman and I hope I can find ways to be as courageous as you in this work, and to support you as you continue to do it.

This is the love that Teri shared with me yesterday.  She offered a different reason why she loves me each day during these dark days of Advent.  It’s humbling and a little overwhelming to get these affirmations — even though I eagerly await for their arrival every day.  This one actually came late.  It came hours after I had gone to the gym and listened to most of this podcast on the new monastics.  This shared love from Teri came after I had heard of Shane Claiborne’s intentional community in Philadelphia.  Though I’ve heard and read about the reclaiming of ancient Christian practices, I hadn’t heard anything quite like this.  And it grabbed me.  I admit that part of me wanted to run out of that gym and join the community because this group of young Christians are living in the exact harmony I seek in my life.

This year, as #Reverb10 asks today, I’ve tried to work on my spiritual life.  I’ve spent tons of time trying to carve out time for God.  I’ve worked on how I talk with God and how I choose to find God in my midst — but what I really want is to find God in the movements of my hands and feet.  I haven’t found that enough.  Even though Teri thinks I’m a tremendous advocate for justice, I don’t feel like it.  I write letters upon letters to our local paper.  I even speak at events where I’m identified by others as a “female clergyman” because of the voice I can offer for marriage equality.  I’ve done a lot of work in marriage equality this year.  I serve on a board that is working on this issue.  It’s an issue that resonates with the church I serve.  It’s something we can do together — and as it’s been an issue that has been discussed in the political arena, it’s offered an opportunity to talk about what marriage means for the church.

Indeed, I’ve tried.  I’ve tried a lot of things.  I’ve tried to advocate for justice.  Still, it feels that I’m not doing the work that really matters to me.  I love my LGBTQA sisters and brothers.  I feel blessed any time I can assure a broken heart that God does indeed love your queer heart, but it’s not really the work I want to be doing.  It’s not the work that matters most to me.  Civil rights are important, but my heart really breaks about the human rights that are not being met.  Tuesday will be the longest night of the year.  In Portland, we’ll remember those that died and those that continue to live with too little shelter.  This was an issue that makes my blood boil and my heart pound.  In seminary, I tried to get churches to care about the homeless.  I encouraged communities (even those that slammed the door in my face) to know their neighbors.  I felt called to do that work.  I was excited about eliminating poverty after spending a mere three months in Appalachia.  I went on do do faith-based labor organizing.  I might have done a few other things too.  I had visions and dreams.  I hoped to work with members of the churches I served to do this work.  Now, I spend more time teaching others how to be Christian than being one.  I teach more about what the Bible says than living out the words.  As I learn about the various legislation and actions taken against immigrants in our country, I’m getting madder and madder.  I want to be able do something about that.  I want to be able to do more than teach.  I know that members of my church might not agree with my “political” convictions, but these are truly acts of my faith.  In 2011, I want to try to do less teaching and more doing.  I want to try to find my faith in the justice I seek with God.

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