I was a little shaky when I got off the phone with him. On one hand, I was excited because they actually were going to support me. You cannot go through the ordination process without a church backing you. I honestly didn't know what to expect when I submitted my application to them. As you know, I come from the second most conservative presbytery in the United States, and deciding to go through the ordination process in my home presbytery was not something that I undertook lightly. I knew there was going to be some conflict, but I didn't know exactly what form that conflict was going to take. I know this is not going to be the last hurdle I will have to overcome when it comes to my sexual orientation, but I was hoping it wasn't going to start so soon.
While I was excited to have their support, I was disappointed about what came with that support. While I am grateful that they want to support me despite our differences in opinion, I still do not fully understand the issue. Growing up as a gay person, I have a hard time seeing the issue the way other people do. I understand that the Bible says that being gay is wrong, but it also says that divorce is wrong. If a divorced person can be a pastor, why can't a gay person? The Bible also says that women should not teach men. Why can a woman be a pastor, but not a gay person? Do gay people pose some kind of threat that I am unaware of? I completely understand their need to make their position clear, I just wish that wasn't their position.
The more I thought about it, the more fitting I found the situation to be. I have long ago accepted that God is in control of all of this. My predicament is basically an illustration of the state of the church. Two sides on opposite side of a highly polarizing issue, the difference being that we have so far been able to deal with those differences in a Christ-like manner, unlike many other parts of the church. If my congregation, who does not agree with everything that I believe in, can stand behind me and support my decision to go through the ordination process, why can't this happen in other churches as well? Who said we all have to agree with each other on every single little detail? I guarantee that if you were to do a comprehensive study on what each of the people on the session of my church believes, their beliefs would not line up perfectly with each other. You know what? That's okay! That doesn't mean that they are not brothers and sisters in Christ. We can all support and love each other, like they are supporting and loving me, even though we don't agree on everything. I am still part of the family and they have chosen not to abandon me.
We, as a church, and I don't just mean Presbyterians, I mean all Christians everywhere, need to come together, overcome our differences and show the world what the love of Christ looks like. That is our job; that is the task that God has entrusted us with. We keep bickering over little inconsequential things like the nature of baptism and communion, who exactly the pope is, the role of women and gays in the church and an impossible array of other divisive topics when we should be focused on ending world hunger, stopping the spread of disease, providing shelter for the poor, and making the world a safer place for the next generation. Are we so enamored with ourselves that we cannot see our neighbors for who they really are, fellow human beings?
If we all worked together, we could show everyone what the kingdom of God is supposed to look like, so why are we so focused on us vs. them? Let's focus on the big things, and the little things will work themselves out in the end.