Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Coming out of the closet...

For some of my friends what I'm going to tell you isn't going to come as a big surprise, because I've already talked about some of my thoughts and doubts and conclusions with you. I'd like to take a moment to thank those treasured and trusted friends for listening, for understanding and for encouraging me along the way. I am truly blessed to have friends with whom I can be totally honest and vulnerable, without fear. I cannot thank you enough for allowing me the liberty of being where I'm at without your judgement. M, B and E...I am so grateful to have you with me on my journey.


What up, blogiverse. Is that even a word? It is now, I just said it. Or typed it. Whatever.

I've been quiet for a long time, I know. I've been thinking. I've had A LOT to think about. I wish I knew what the catalyst was behind all of the stuff I've been working out in my mind. Oh, and before we go any further...I know what you're thinking this post is going to be about given the title, and before I say anything else I want to tell you that I'm sorry to disappoint you. I'm totally not gay. That said, I've been trying to figure out how to publicly "come out" with the many things that I've been thinking and a big part of me is bracing for massive rejection.

*deep breath*

I've come to the conclusion that I need to be okay with being rejected by some in order to be authentic. (This is still sounding like a gay coming out talk, isn't it?) I know I stand to lose some friends if I say this publicly. And I know that some of my friends won't just dismiss me, they'll do worse. They'll judge me, label me and condemn me, then they'll tell me that they'll pray for me because I'm so "lost".

So, I would like to assure you:

I am SO NOT lost.

I have NEVER been MORE found.

I do not seek to belittle what has been revealed to you as truth, so please offer me that same respect. If you want to pray for me, that's fine. Just do it as Jesus taught, and I'll even drop some KJV on you out of deference to your preference: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:5-6)

So, the thing is...I'm a...Universalist.

There, I said it. Now you know. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife. And hide yo husband cuz god's savin errbody out there. You don't have to come and confess, he's looking for you. He gon' find you. So you can run and tell that, homeboy. (Did I just throw down some King James Version of the Bible and Antoine Dodson? Why yes, yes I did. I'm gangsta like that.)

How did I get here? Well, I was created as a logical and spiritual being. (Just like you.) As my faith has evolved since I liberated myself from the indoctrination of my childhood and allowed myself to understand and define my own theology, I landed here.

I landed here because a god of infinite love and grace cannot logically coexist with a god of judgement and punitive discipline.

I landed here because I cannot get on board with a theology that would condemn my non-Christian friends (including the atheists, humanists and agnostics) for not saying a magic prayer when they are some of the most moral, generous, kind and genuine people I know. They are more "Christlike" than most Christians I know. If Jesus came to show us the way, and they are actually living in that way even if they don't label it as following Jesus, aren't they still actually following Christ? And if they are, would that all loving god who craves communion with his creation really choose to send them to an actual lake of fire on a technicality?

I landed here because a god who creates all people, and loves all those people, can't logically just send them out on their way with a silent kitchen timer in the background...tick tock, tick tock...and god knows whether or not each person will accept or reject before their time is up. But god sends these people out into the world already knowing what they'll choose and god allows these people to make the choice that leads to eternal damnation? That is the opposite of grace as I understand it. That is, essentially, predestined damnation. No, no, no.

I landed here because the god that I know and love and serve today is not a bully. God is love, and love just doesn't do that. Like I said, I was created as a spiritual and logical being. So my faith has to speak to my heart, AND make sense at the same time.

I still feel called to minister. I believe that I have been called to encourage others to work out their own faith as I have and will continue to do. I know in my core that I was put here to do that. I'm still learning and I'm still exploring the breadth and depth that faith has for me. I hope to do that for the rest of my life. This journey of inspiration and revelation has been challenging. But I WANT my faith to continually challenge me - what good is a faith that doesn't?

I said to one of my friends via email back in June, "My faith was so much simpler when I believed what I was told without question and I really believed I had all the answers. That chair was so comfortable to sit in for so long. Then my foot fell asleep from sitting in that chair for so long that I had to get up and walk around. Now I've seen too much while I was walking around to ever sit down in that chair again. But sometimes I miss that chair. It was comfortable, familiar, safe. What I am going through now is so much harder than sitting in that chair. The realization that I will probably not have a chair ever again is overwhelming. I feel like the best I can hope for is to cobble together a mismatched sectional that somehow works together and fits me.

But I bet that's gonna be the best damn sofa ever."

So, Friends...that's my deal. And as I raise my glass to you, I offer a toast:

Here's to authenticity, even when it's difficult.

Here's to working out our own faith.

Here's to truth.




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