Life is busy these early January days. We had two deaths in my church at the end of December, and both beloved pillars of the church (one of whom I blogged about here). In short, I've been going about my duties... a round of home communions the day after Christmas (I'm sorry to be a broken record, but again: I so dearly love home communions. Without fail, I face them at the beginning of the day with the tiniest bit of disgruntlement about my time constraints, the difficulties of getting church members to go with me. And by the end of the first visit, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that this is my job. I get to do this. God is so good!), preparing for funerals thereafter, not to mention the Sunday preaching gig... in other words, I've been going about my business being the Closeted Pastor (TM) I am.
I forgot to wear earrings to one of the funerals (something I ordinarily never do... it was a sign that I was rushed or stressed or otherwise not as centered as one would hope). Could someone read into that, you know, that I'm... like that? Just kidding, mostly, but my brain, engaged in the Primary Speech which Anne Ulanov describes as prayer, the ground of my being, I often find just that sort of silly chatter taking up brainwaves. I wore nice, dark lipstick Christmas Eve, though... so, there you go. Not a lesbian! Just kidding. As you well know.
Yesterday afternoon, taking a break from this and that, I cruised over to "psychology, dogs and politics," a lovely, thoughtful blog I don't get to nearly often enough. Dennis carried this post, in which he outs a bishop in the Church of England who has been a vocal supporter of the conservative movement that vilifies LGBTQ people, and engages in spiritual violence against us. Dennis is able to do this with first hand, intimate knowledge.
Oh, a Closeted Pastor (TM) never much likes hearing about folks being outed. But I do believe that, in this case, I shall get over it in a hurry. In fact, there was nothing to get over. Reading the responses to Dennis' courageous post, which will most likely only serve to rain down abuse upon him from many corners, I came across a quote from Rev. Barbara Harris, the bishop suffragan of Massachusetts. [On the day Barbara Harris was consecrated, in the late 80's, I was a stay-at-home mom with a young child. It was a Saturday, and I remember watching the entire event on television, while I fed my baby lunch, went about my household chores. I watched in wonder... I knew, despite the fact that I was not, myself, Episcopalian, that this was an historic moment of enormous significance. I hoped that my baby might catch some memory of the joy and pageantry of that day. (He didn't).]
Here is Rev. Harris' wisdom on closetedness. In speaking to a meeting of Integrity she said, "Each is entitled to their own closet, but they should not be able to use it as a sniper's nest."
Can I get an Amen here? I am closeted, and I know that, for at least some folks, that is problematic, on a pretty broad spectrum (as in, for some it's a huge problem, for some just a teeny one). But I have been clear on my position on LGBTQ issues since long before I entered into a relationship with a woman. I have been a visible, vocal supporter of our local LGBTQ organizations, participating in their annual pride services, meeting with their youth discussion group. I embrace my out LGBTQ colleagues and my closeted ones alike. This is starting to sound like a laundry list of excuses for why I should be able to remain "safe." That's not my point. My point is that, I hope and pray that in my closetedness I have not hurt my LGBTQ family. I believe I will stand in judgment for any ways in which I have used my closet as a sniper's next. I don't think I have. I pray I haven't.
Also, I know that I am already coming out by increments... tiny steps here and there. Hopefully it won't be long before this concern is a thing of the past. Meanwhile, if you haven't already, I invite you to give Dennis a visit and a word of support (if you can). He is a man of integrity and courage.