The Call to Justice

Last night, I got a text message from a friend at the Human Rights Campaign Clergy Call. You may have heard me rave about her before. She is truly fantastic.  The text message told me simply that this gathering of clergy trying to figure out an appropriate response to the Defense of Marriage Act was awesome. She thinks we should go together next year.  I was touched. It was lovely to be missed. It was lovely to be connected to this conversation through a friend that I communicate sporadically with through texts and emails. It was nice to know that I am thought to be someone that has a voice in this conversation.

And yet, this is also something that challenges me. I’ve found myself doing a lot of LGBT ministry. It’s partly because of my understanding of the United Church of Christ. We are people of extravagant welcome. In a world with so many exclusions, my denomination has been inspired to speak more clearly about inclusion and welcome. It’s the ministry that the church I serve most strongly understands about the UCC. After over ten years of being an Open & Affirming congregation, they are most excited about this expression of their identity. I want to support that. It so happened when the question of marriage equality arose in Maine, we found yet another opportunity to speak clearly on this issue of inclusion. We studied our sacred texts and tried to understand what it means to move beyond blessing unions into an understanding of marriage for all citizens. I wasn’t shy. I was clear about my perspective. I engaged in lots of conversations so that I was pushed on my perspective. I had to find the words to respond. I had to figure out why this particular issue matters to me.

And it does. It matters a great deal to me. I’m more than willing to be that voice. I’m happy to be that prophet that is sent out of the community to offer a message of good news, but in the end, that’s what it felt like. I have felt more and more that this was the message of the church I serve. It’s who they want to be but not really the good news that I want to be preaching. There’s something else. There’s some other message that’s mine.

A church member interviewed at Pride 2010.
I’m not sure what that is. Right now, I’m remembering my passion for economic justice. While the church I serve does support the low income people in our community, it’s been a while since I pushed on how we change the system that creates poverty. This is the work that I loved. This is the passion that I discovered when I was in Appalachia that summer as a missionsary. This is why I worked to reduce homelessness. This is the vision of God’s realm that first captured my imagination. As I work on the details of an upcoming mission trip, I’m remembering that passion and wondering what I want to do with it now. Where will this vision of justice take me? How will I speak about it? Who am I called to be now? Does that mean that the ministry with the LGBT community isn’t as important? Or is it just that we can’t do it all? Are we simply pushed to go where the Spirit leads?

For now, I can only say I don’t know.

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