There are days that I wonder what on earth God is preparing me for. I am at a seminary known for preparing theologically conservative pastors for rural congregations in the Midwest. I am in one of the more conservative of all presbyteries in the country. I work for a Conservative Evangelical parachurch organization.
But I am a liberal – in many senses of the word. I am politically on the side of government providing a safety net for the health and welfare of those with the least. I am theologically a mix of Barth’s Christology and the sensitivities of liberation theologists to the marginalized and the third way espoused by emerging theologians. I am ok with the Bible as inspired but not literal, as a living document used by the Holy Spirit to reveal truth in changing contexts. That “always reforming” means the Holy Spirit can change the church through those new revelations, especially when the church fails to love all of God’s children. God gave me a husband who wants God to work through a less broken church and a child that the church promised to love but has (by its language) rejected him.
I want to praise God in full-throated song, but find myself choked by the questions my son brings to me. I want to join hands with my fellow leaders, but I am repulsed by their hardheaded responses to his pleas for acceptance. I want to reach out to others who feel rejected, yet I fear being rejected as just one more who comes to do harm and as one who has broken ranks with the righteous.
And then I see people like Jennifer Knapp, Jack Rogers, Abby Kaiser & Lisa Larges. And I see other people whose names are not bandied about online and in the magazines who bravely stand in that gap, taking the abuse from both sides. Is that my call? Am I to stand with them as a parent, friend, and co-laborer who loves these beautiful children of God? Or am I to work quietly and persistently toward a day when I have a larger platform from which to tell my story?
Speak to me Lord. And as you speak, fill me with the power I will need to stand- whether quietly or with a loud voice. Fill me with the passion I need to abide in you. Fill me with your Spirit, the one that discerns, responds, prays and loves on our behalf. Connect me with those who bring you to life in me; steer me away from those who would drive me from you. Teach me how to love more fully. Amen.