When I was in third grade, I found the perfect present for Mrs. Graham, my favorite elementary school teacher. Read more
- Spiritual Reflections
- Family Quest
- What’s Happening
Times that are hard require more spiritual practice for me. This past year, I’ve been hard at work strengthening my spiritual systems to create more resilience. For me, stronger resilience requires building flexibility, love, agility, and willingness. Read more
Dear Closeted Gay Men,
You think that, by lobbing the grenades of judgment and hate at other people, at vulnerable people daring to own the truth of our bodies, you protect your own vulnerable selves. In truth, you are terrified. I don’t know you, but I know your name. Your name is Shame. Your name is Self-Hatred. You think that your homophobia protects you. But we know. We can see right through you. The bigger the front, the bigger the back!
How do I know that at least one closeted gay man helped to draft this new statement? Honey, I’ve been around the block. I’ve seen homophobic preacher after homophobic politician busted by a prostitute or male escort, or by someone who recognized them at a sleazy dark gay bar. I’ve seen luggage lifters and men with a ‘wide stance’ in the mens’ room bleating out lies which no longer cover their duplicity, which no longer bury the lie that is the epicenter of all they say and do. You’ve cried to me on occasion, too, wearied by the energy of fighting off who you are but too scared to stop the fight. You are not invisible. And the misery that you foist onto the lives of others is very very real.
I don’t care if you like to lie about your sexuality. To each their own. But when you project your shame and self-hatred on the children who are trying to live into their authentic selves, when you spew out your terror and shame and judgment and try to pin it on God, when you throw it all over people who already have enough hate to deal with in the world, I call you on it.
You Shall Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbor.
That’s in the Top Ten from God, unlike the obscure passages you love to cite. And it is precisely this which you are doing.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
That’s the one big one from the man you claim as your Lord. You are violating both parts of this injunction, loving neither your neighbor nor yourself.
And I want you to know you’re not fooling anyone. We know that your homophobia is rooted in your own desires for men, which you hate. Science backs me up. When electrodes are wired to men’s genitals and they watch male-centered erotic materials, the virulently homophobic men have strong arousal. The gay and bisexual men are also aroused. The non-homophobic heterosexual men, not so much. This physical truth must terrify you. Perhaps you have spent a life distancing yourself from your body, sternly telling yourself that if you don’t act on your innate desires, you will stay in God’s favor.
What a waste of time, honey. What a waste of your life. Why don’t you stop hating yourself and see how much less hate you have to spew on other people? Why don’t you enjoy the gift of sexuality that God gave you and celebrate the diversity of genders and sexualities God put into the world?
I am one of the hundreds of thousands of people of all faiths who welcome and celebrate diversity of sexuality and gender, as well as every other kind of diversity given as a gift to us on this earth. I wish you could climb out of your prison of hate and join us.
In the meantime, I’ll keep reminding you that I see you. You will be judged by the actions you take, and the effects that they have on the lives of others. You’re not fooling me. And you’re certainly not fooling God.
We are gearing up for the new church year at the Church of the Larger Fellowship. And with that, we are looking at ways to enhance your experience of weekly worship. Starting on August 27, 2017, we will be moving away from Livestream for the weekly worship service and using YouTube Live instead. Watch Rev. Meg share her perspective on this shift here. Read more
This morning the nation must look squarely at images of people marching through Virginia with hateful slogans, confederate flags, and Nazi swastikas, who proudly proclaim that White Lives Matter and scream hateful epithets about Jews and gays and immigrants, who believe that slavery reflected a natural order. Some will say, in coffee hours in Unitarian Universalist congregations, that THOSE people are the white supremacists and people like Unitarian Universalists should not call ourselves that because it is confusing, people might think we are like them. I dearly hope those words will not be spoken from our pulpits. Read more
I was sitting with two beloved twenty year olds at dinner recently, catching up with one another’s lives. Their stressful work lives, bad bosses, another week gone by. Then I asked, “So this threat of nuclear war hanging over our heads—how are you internalizing that?”
Both of them shrugged and kept eating. “In a way, it would be easier,” one of them said. “We’d all just die. I mean, it would suck, but it would be over . . . ”
This person always leans towards cynicism, so I looked to the other one, with her sunny side of the street personality, for a reality check. She was matter-of-factly nodding agreement. “Sure,” she said. “It sounds horrible but in a way much easier than the long slow fight for life that we’re going to have with global climate change anyway.”
We went on with dinner. Life returned to mundane topics. But this conversation keeps replaying in my mind. What hideous alternatives my generation is handing off to the young ones. I spent my own twenties in the Reagan years, furious at the weapons build-up and games playing by the world leaders. So outraged by the death-centered-theology (End times are GOOD!) that I entered seminary to focus on nurturing and sharing life-affirming beliefs instead.
My friends and I demonstrated at nuclear weapons facilities, spent months living at women’s peace camps, in New York and at home in Minnesota, camped out by military bases and weapon-producing factories. We held massive peace marches. Thousands of us committed civil disobedience at the local Honeywell plant that made cluster bombs. I spent seven years with a small group of women in an “empowerment group,” systematically working through the exercises Joanna Macy introduced in her book, “Despair and Empowerment in the Nuclear Age,” and offering them up to the wider community.
I, too, thought we might all perish. The threat permeated our daily lives, our media. Reading statistics about millions of people dying was mind-numbing and unreal then, and it’s unreal now. I read a post that said before someone could push the nuclear codes, they should have to stab one living person to death and watch them die. That makes it real, takes away the video-game quality.
This morning, finally, I had a good cry. What opened my floodgates wasn’t statistics or speculations. It was a story about a particular act of cruelty, leveled against particular and vulnerable people, that someone told me about.
I felt better after I cried. It reminded me of the one lesson I learned from the Reagan years: While my friends and I—people of race and class privilege—were so focused on the scariest possibility of all, mass annihilation, specific communities were being annihilated all around us. There was a war on poor people. Mass incarceration really cranked up. The war on drugs was a strategic way to assault people of color. So, if I had those years to do over, I would focus more on the particular, the assaults already taking place, doing what I could to stop them, however tiny the effect of my actions might be, rather than fearing the ultimate destruction of the earth and her people. I don’t have those years to live over, but that’s what I’ll be continue to do now.
Don’t get me wrong, if there are massive peace marches, I’ll be there again. But meanwhile, you’ll find me affecting the tiny bits of change I can, where I live. The rest is too big to comprehend.
To the young ones, I can only say, I sorry. I am so sorry that this bleakness is yours to inherit. May you find the support and strength to fight in all the brave ways you can. And may you find joy and fun and love in the fight itself, because heaven knows we did. The friends I made then are still my fast friends, and I wouldn’t change that fact for anything. The creativity and courage of young adults have brought every kind of positive change the world has ever seen, and we all need you now.
Quest for Meaning is a program of the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF), a Unitarian Universalist congregation without walls. Join our community to cultivate wonder, imagination, and the courage to act.
Remember the CLF in your year-end giving. Give the gift of hope today.