Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Before the beginning of time was the eternal God. Our beginning was His creation of space and a nascent mass we would someday call home. The earth was an assemblage of primordial solids, liquids, gases and plasmas still with out form; still unlit. His Spirit moved across its face as God said: "Here is light. So be it." The light's embracing and warming of the cold dark world pleased Him. He spun the planet to separate the hours into days and nights. The first day came to a close.
The next day, God separated the waters above and below: "So be it." He called the moisture above "sky", and the sunset and dawn of the second day in this primeval atmosphere created a global rainbow.
On the third day, God next separated the solid particles from water below to create land and sea. "So be it" He said, and it was pleasing. But land needs roots to bind it together and make it alive, so God caused plants of all kinds to spring forth from the once sterile ground. Fertile soil was created. "So be it." He was pleased as another evening and morning brought an end to the third day.
On the fourth, God separated the nebulous glow of light by allowing celestial bodies to shine through the clearing atmosphere. It was as it was willed. The cosmos danced across the heavens, and the sun and the moon raced. God was pleased.
The next day, He made the waters below and above alive with new life: leviathans; bugs; whales; bats; birds; and fish. They all pleased Him, and He blessed them with the fruitfulness of ongoing creation. Evening passed and then the dawn; fifth day done.
God continued populating the planet by introducing land animals into the green paradise; and it pleased Him. He said: "This next creature I will make in My own image with My own essence so that it may be able to rule over my earthly kingdom with wisdom and compassion." So He formed humanity in all its many visages in His image, in His image He made them all; He made them like Himself, male and female. He blessed them too with fruitfulness, and gave them authority on behalf of their fellow creatures. "See," He said, "I've given you everything you need to thrive, and abundance to sustain you and give you joy."
God looked at the intricate relatedness of each of the worlds He created. We too see the intricate intimacies of life on earth - the chains, webs and circles of mutualism and dependence. He was pleased with His work; it was bustling, teeming, complete and whole - perfect. So He finished and took the final day off. He blessed this seventh day and made it a holy day to enjoy creation and to remember the Creator.
These are the generations of God's creation of all.
(Retelling of Genesis 1:1-2:4a)
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
At a party many years ago, a gay man lightly touched my hand and told me that he liked my ring. I told him to get lost! But worse, I mentioned it to someone else. I later learned that a bunch of the guys on one of the teams took him out back and beat him up. That kind of thing gnaws at you. We live in a world that thinks it can beat the "queer" out of people. Where we kill, taunt and harass people to make the world "safe" for straight people. We're beautiful souls shrivel up in the dark and young people kill themselves.
Lesbians used me. If they wanted to go dancing, they took me along so they could pretend to dance with me in a group. It was safer for them to not be themselves. They were trying to pass as "normal". A friend lost a job at a religiously affiliated charity because another friend inadvertently mentioned their same-sex partner to the wrong person. Not only was that job done for, but so was their friendship. Why do people have to hide and pretend? For many years, several Conferences of the United Methodist Church have lived in a Don't Ask, Don't Tell by default fantasy land; as long as gay pastors weren't open they'd be safe. They were expected to preach on the authenticity of the Living God and to bring people to expose their authentic selves before God - yet they were to lie to their own flocks.
I have never attended seminary. I can not win a theological debate on the issue. I certainly don't know what God wants. All I know is what little love I have in my heart. I find myself praying for forgiveness more and more for thinking someone a Pharisee - more interested in denominational law than in the love of Christ. People tell me that the Bible considers homosexuality a sin. Others tell me that the Bible says that slaves should return to their masters. On Ascension Sunday, I preached that Jesus sent the disciples out as witnesses - even to the outcast Samaritans. Do we serve those who society casts out, or do we too cast them out?
Our Annual Conferences gather this time of year in preparation for sending legislation and delegates to General Conference in 2012. Again this year, we will debate the ability of gays to serve us and our desire to serve them. I pray that in spite of all of our differences when we come together, the light will shine through us like a church window for all to see.
And I pray that I make it through another Conference with out calling someone a Pharisee...