Sunday, March 23, 2008

To the Anonymous Gentleman Commenter

You call me "stupid dyke." I know I was not the smartest person to graduate from my seminary, or from my university... but I also know that I had a 4.0 GPA in at least one of those, and close to it in the other.

"Dyke." Well, I guess. The love of my life is a woman.

You call me "pastor" in quotes, as if to convey the irony of the notion ... as if I couldn't possibly be a real pastor, because, as you say, I am "still in my sin." Well, I believe the members of my congregation consider me a pastor. I go to their bedsides when they are in the hospital having surgery for cancer, or to stand vigil when they are dying. I preach the gospel to them every Sunday... and it is a gospel of love , I remind you, despite your attempts to twist it into a gospel of hatred. I bring them communion at home when they are too ill to venture out. I talk to them about their marriages, about their children, about the strain of caring for aging and failing parents. I work with them on mission projects, to bring the good news of God's love to our neighborhood and beyond. I participate in their efforts to raise money for people around the world who need assistance for clean water, sustainable agriculture, overcoming the ravages of natural and human-made disasters. I remember their children's names, and laugh and tease them and share the gospel during the children's message. I baptize their babies. I preside over their weddings. I receive them as new members. I "rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12... I know, not the part of Romans you referred me to).

In short, sir, I am a pastor. I am a good one. I love the people of my congregation, and I believe I do my best to show them the love of God in my words and actions.

I ask you, who post anonymous and hateful messages here: What have you done to show the love of God today? Happy Easter. Christ is risen, for you and for me.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, C, that some rock-dweller ventured into the light of day to spit on this fair site and one you.

Let us remind him that if he is a "Christian", he is exhorted not to judge, not to throw stones, and to beware the log in his own eye before pointing at the speck in someone else's. Judgement is NOT his place, and he needs to be beware the Pharisees.

And let us remember that we must heal his children and those contaminated by his bile. Fortunately, you the pastor, and I the professor, will do what we can to teach the young.

Those in fear strike out the hardest. You, dear C,, are a gift to many, and if your presence afflicts people like this one, well, I think you are doing something right.



more cows than people said...

cecilia, this is a beautiful response to painful/hateful message. you are a smart, gracefilled, pastor, a true servant of Christ.

Christ is risen indeed.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

I really despise anonymous commenters. (Not you, IT---you always use your nom de Net.)

If you are "brave" enough to condemn Cecilia, Mr. Anonymous, why are you not brave enough to sign your name and even your address? After all, if you are speaking the "truth," what do you have to fear?

But the real truth is that the Father of Lies never signs his name to his work---he is always content to let his evil be blamed on others, or to hide in the shadows and do his damage under cover of the dark. Congratulations on being such a good disciple, Mr. Anonymous Coward.

Cecilia--sweetie, you don't have to justify yourself to someone who is so gutless he won't even sign his name. You just keep doing what you are doing for all those people in your life---your love for God shines like a beacon in your interactions with others.

3things said...

Good Lord! I hope you let Mr. Anonymous' comment roll right off of you. There is no defending yourself against such unlove, except to turn the other cheek I suppose!

Anyway, well said - and I hope your Easter was wonderful.

LittleMary said...

wtf? i just don't get why people take the time to do this stuff.

Heather W. Reichgott said...

rock on, cecilia.

Anonymous said...

You are courageous on so many counts. Your compassion, I believe, will slowly change people like this anonymous commenter.

Christ is risen indeed.

don't eat alone said...

I hope he realizes if he's coming after you he's going through all of us. Beautiful response.


Choralgirl said...

Blessed are the peacemakers. Go, girl--keep on raining blessings on the just and the unjust. :-)

klady said...

Cecilia, I do not comment often because, although I read all you write, you generally leave me speechless (remarkable for me of too many words). Just please know how much I honor you, your life and your ministry. You have inspired and humbled me countless times. I cannot account for the not so gentle gentleman. The powers of darkness still lurk in the shadows, I'm afraid. I welcome and rejoice at all the light you bring us here, as well as to those fortunate enough to have you as your pastor.

Jones said...

I'm new to reading your blog and enjoying it very much, especially the new light format! Thanks again for that and for sharing your heart. Like some of your other readers have said, The powers of darkness still lurk in the shadows. Your response is loving and gentle and I admire you for that. It would be an honour to have you as a Pastor. It's easy to see you have a Pastor's heart.

Jan said...

Cecilia, thank you for responding in such a pastoral way. I cannot imagine someone writing (or thinking) such hateful things. I am sorry that you had to get such a message on your blog. You are a good writer, priest, friend, and person. Bless you.

Saintly Ramblings said...

Whilst not in any way condoning the abusive feedback made by the un-named correspondent, there are circumstances and considerations that have sometimes persuaded me to leave anonymous comments (not here, I add, nor on any blog I regularly visit). Perhaps we ought not to judge as to why this particular person did so. But the essence of what was said is indefensible. There are gentlemen out here who stand back and marvel at your ministry and your personal juxtaposition of professional work and personal life, where so much love and compassion is evident in both spheres. Your reply is heartfelt and non-judgmental, and shows a depth of spirituality and confidence in your own faith walk that can only be a blessing to others.
The Lord is risen indeed.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Whilst not in any way condoning the abusive feedback made by the un-named correspondent, there are circumstances and considerations that have sometimes persuaded me to leave anonymous comments (not here, I add, nor on any blog I regularly visit). Perhaps we ought not to judge as to why this particular person did so.

Sorry, Saintly Ramblings---I don't feel the least bit bad about judging this one.

He called Cecilia a "stupid dyke." He ought not to type those words out and hit SEND if he isn't "man" enough to put his name to those hateful words.

I can understand why some people would feel the need to be anonymous (Cecilia's unhappy commenter from the other day comes to mind...), but if you are going to call people ugly names then you ought to have the cojones to sign your name. Otherwise you are a gutless coward in my book.

Of course, that's what makes Cecilia a pastor---me, not so much. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I can't help contrasting the contributions of 'anonymous' who is angry, and 'anonymous' who is seeking. I know who I'd rather spend time with, but you have responded with grace to both. You are doing a good thing here, especially when insults and questions come so close to home.

Presbyfruit said...

Cecilia, this is a wonderful response to Anonymous' hateful comments.

Let your light shine!

Barbara said...

Cecilia, I was advised by my wise and wonderful son to only write about someone on my blog what I would say to their face. I feel that your response was done in this spirit. I wonder if anonymous could be this viscious face to face.

Anonymous said...

somewhere I heard this saying, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone". "angry anonymous", have you heard of this? Can you remember where?

If we had to have pastors without sin, we'd be worshipping Quaker style. (no clergy) Unfortunately for the flock, all too often the pastor's sin is anger, yep, one of the classic Seven Deadlies.

snark aside, what a fine response to a silly man. Better than I would do, one of my sins being snark. ;)


The Swandive said...

Ok, now that I have that out, Jesus says that we are to love our neighbor, including Mr. A. Actually, especially him. Harsh right? Not really. You have shown amazing love, gentleness, clarity and courage, in the face of this hate. Stay in the light of Gods love, truth and Word sister, and do not give the darkness one inch. Not one.

You are loved. So loved. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Joan K said...

What a grace-filled Christian response to hatred and homophobia! May God bless you for your response. I would not have been so tempered in my response.

As a married lesbian former nun I can say the journey to self acceptance and wholeness takes time and grace.

God loves us and heals our wounded places. Society really can take a toll on the GLBT folks and coming out can take a very long time.

God Bless you C. and Happy Easter!

Pastor Peters said...

i'm struck that this is a wonderful easter message. it's a wonderful affirmation of what god has raised in you, cecilia as a pastor and a woman.

this also makes me to wonder about the anonymous folks gathered at the tomb. were they angry? were they fearful? somehow this gives me pause. though my thoughts are not complete.

Anonymous said...

u seem 2 value ur sinful desires above God's word. WHY?! btw I've nothing against female pastors as such (this is too ambiguous in scripture).

but u keep trying 2 justify urself like a narcissistic pharisee. u cannot use ur "good deeds" to atone for ur sins. If u think people are so good, why did Jesus need to die for peoples' sins?

u have a *PASTORAL DUTY* to warn ur congregation about their sins. u r probably a universalist - "hey , sin isn't serious, do whatever u like, ur good to go! The only unforgivable sin is to actually still BELIEVE in sin". Do you tell ur flock SPONGIAN lies?

Please let me remind u again of ur PASTORAL DUTY. Think of Ezekiel & the watchman. Don't let ur self love be so axiomatic that u DISREGARD THE PLAIN READING OF SCRIPTURE & make up ur own reading because u love ur sin so much u dismiss the plain reading out of hand. Sorry - this is the last I will post - u need to take this to heart. U need to repent. Sorry I wsa harsh but u need a wakeup call. I do not hate u, but ur doing a disservice to ur flock.

Jane R said...

PREACH, sista!

FranIAm said...

I am so moved by your response to this, the words you have written and clearly the spirit you embody is a reflection of God's Light.

Clearly he has issues- remaining anonymous in comments might be one way of dealing with them and the name calling is another.

It is hard to pray for someone like that.

That difficulty doesn't make it any less necessary however, does it?

In the meantime, you have written and expressed with great grace what you think and believe and that is a beautiful thing.


Grace and peace to you always.

Suzer said...

Cecilia - I saw this yesterday and was unsure of how to respond at the time. It seemed you had covered the bases pretty well, and in a more gracious and pastoral way than I might have at the time. You present a good example of how to behave when attacked in such a way.

Angry Anon - I hope you will take Cecilia's advice in the more recent post and read some more on this subject. There are different ways of interpreteing Scripture. One must always take the context of the times into account. Frankly, I'm not sure there is any "plain reading" of Scripture we could all agree upon. I think Jesus was very wise to speak mostly in parables, so that we couldn't throw such arrows at one another by saying "but this is the plain meaning!" Jesus often surprised his followers (and others) by shaking up their traditional understanding, by showing them through love and sacrifice that God's Love transcends the literal. I pray that you will someday have room in your heart to understand this. Until then, peace be with you.

sharecropper said...

Holiness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. God created the world and said it was good. That's enough for me. Anger and resentment are like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.

You are holy and beautiful, Pastor C.

Caminante said...

Oh cheez -- this must be one of the T19 crowd -- Mr Anon cited the favourite strawman of all, the dreaded Jack Spong. How lame. How passé. How scripted.

Meanwhile, C., your posting is lovely and compassionate. You didn't buy into the anon's self-loathing transferred over to you.

When people start going on about the sinfulness of a gay/lesbian pastor, I simply answer that my orientation doesn't matter a whit to a family whose loved one I commend to God's care at the time of death, or to the person who wants a shoulder to cry on. They want to know I love them and God loves them. That is sufficient.

So keep on doing...

Christ IS risen.

Diane said...

C, you are a gracious person, and gave a great response to "anonymous", who, I gather is still around.

we are with you and for you.

daisy said...

Thank you, Cecelia, for your grace and courage. Thank you for standing is exactly what is needed. As long as the rock throwers can get people to hide away and pretend to be something that they are not, things will not change.

I'm not theologically brilliant or learned, but I do know that we are all equal in the eyes of our God. Gay, straight, man, woman...all deserving of the same, all saved by grace, all loved by God, all sisters and brothers.

Much love to you, sistah!

spence said...

why is it that the crazy ones can never be bothered to spell correctly?

Grandmère Mimi said...

Cecilia, what a loving and mature response to a venomous comment. Your graceful response fills me with awe.
You are truly a pastor of God's people. May God bless you and keep you.