Not too long ago I gathered with a large group of colleagues for food and fun, period. Of course, being ministerial types, we are always going to end up talking about our work... what's going on in our churches, what's coming up in the season of Advent, etc. I overheard one colleague talking to another colleague, whom I know to be another closeted pastor, about a church that was trying to "ordain homosexuals." I watched my closeted colleague listen politely, offer a word here or there which, if one had ears to hear, should have begun the massive job of opening a tiny chink in the talker's armor and certainty.
What's interesting (and, in a perverse way, almost fun) about this situation, is that the person doing the talking has no idea, none whatever, no earthly clue. (If he does, something else is going on entirely... something potentially evil.) I guess I don't know whether 'Clueless Colleague' is all that clueless... Maybe he's closeted too! Maybe every damned one of us was closeted!
This leads me to bring up something I have wondered about. I know that this forum is going to attract folks who are kindred spirits... LGBTQ folks and our supporters make up the vast majority of visitors to this blog. But there are so many of us LGBTQ pastors. Has anyone noticed that? Is it possible that we are represented in the ordained ministry in greater numbers than would be proportional in the general population? And if so, why is that, do you figure?
I know what I believe about that. I believe that LGBTQ people know what it is to be broken and rejected and outsiders. And we are instinctively and gratefully drawn to a gospel that, when whispered in our ears, promises another kind of world, another kind of community. The most powerful experience of communion I have ever experienced was when I was privileged to preach at an MCC church on World Communion Sunday a few years ago. There is nothing, nothing like sharing communion with people who have had to fight to get to that table.
The ordained ministry seems to attract both lots LGBTQ folks themselves, and those who have a special interest in the surrounding issues... which makes me wonder, of course, Whence all the interest??? Hmmm??? Could it be that all the interest has to do with their secret longings??? I know that's too easy, but doesn't it often feel true?
I want to point folks to this article, the link to which I found at sh-OUT, the wonderful blog of Heidi. It is about the phenomenon of gay men who don't want to leave their marriages to women, who want to negotiate a way to stay. Oh, God. Change the genders, and it's my story. Correction: it WAS my story. My ex had the courage to know that marriage to a woman who kept falling in love with other women was not what he wanted.