Monday, April 7, 2008

Busy, and Moving Along

Good busy. Events, functions, visits (home, hospital, nursing home). Activities with individuals of all ages. I love this work!

I have begun my baby steps (see "New Initiatives" below). I have also had a conversation with my children about the issue of my sexuality being raised by members of the church. Even a year ago, the thought of this made my stomach churn. Who am I kidding? Even a few months ago, if I was reporting faithfully on my blog. But now... it's not that I'm looking to be outed. Frankly, I'd like to see certain things in place in my congregation before that were to happen. But... I realized, in the conversation, that it no longer freaks me out. We have a set response we have agreed upon. I have encouraged my children not to be too defensive about it, but they both have stated that, were they to be asked directly, their response would depend on their perception of the motivations of the asker. If the intent were malicious, they tell me, "None of anyone's business" is what they're inclined to say. If otherwise, "Why don't you talk to her about it?" I can live with that.

For me, the response, were I to get a direct inquiry, would be something like, "Would it matter? Would it change the kind of pastor I have been, or am?" I hope and pray that for most folks, the answer to my question would be "No."


FranIAm said...

Cecilia, this is outstanding. God bless you in all of this.

So often we think of integrity in our culture as some kind of honesty. I often ask people to reconsider it as the opposite of disintegration. Then the light bulb goes off.

You are in an arc of integrity right now!

sharecropper said...

You're in my love, hugs and prayers, Cecelia. Last year, I bought you a prayer card for St. Cecelia at the RC Cathedral in Santa Fe, found it this week. Lost it again. Hope I can find and put it with the "bills to be paid" so I won't lose it again. But, you're in my prayers as you begin these baby steps with your congregation. Blessings.

Caminante said...

And this is what I hope for you... that in time parishioners and you will come to realise that it doesn't matter whether you are in a same-gender or opposite-gender relationship -- more important itsthe love you find there that feeds your capacity to love your parishioners and convey to them that God loves them, too. When I visited a 90 year-old in the hospital (she'd fallen and broken her pelvis) she doesn't care about the politics about orientation (though it helps that one of her children is gay); she wants the church's ministrations at this moment of uncertainty and pain.

Hidden in Christ said...

thanks for your post C, as usual! can i call you C? hope so! it's easier to type, or i'm just lazy :)

this post made me think of formulating an answer to prepare for when i get asked those questions someday! wow... that makes me nervous but i just keep praying: God soften the hearts of my family and friends and prepare them to hear the truth about homosexuality and me :)

keep rockin' it for The Rock sister! wish i could hear your sermons, because if they're anything like your blogs, i'll love em!

Barbara said...

Cecilia, your 'baby' steps are amazing. Good work!

"Would it matter? Would it change the kind of pastor I have been, or am?" might be a bit of a challenge. Think about 'How does that change things for you?' or 'How does that change who I have been for you?' Put it back in the lap of the inquisitor and let them think through their own motivation for asking.

One day at a time. Sometimes one hour at a time. God loves you all the time.

LittleMary said...

this is super good thinking ahead/strategizing. exactly what you need to be doing.

Lisa Fox said...

Cecilia, another answer often used by folks in your position is, "Why do you ask?" As Barbara noted, it puts it back in their lap, and might make them ask themselves why they're prying into your personal life.

Jane R said...

Oh, Lisa, excellent suggestion! Because, of course, their attitude (and/or their theology) is the issue, not whom Cecilia loves.

Suzer said...

While I understand the need to be circumspect regarding such questions, and I also understand that the questions often come from prurient interest rather than a "good" reason, I do want to offer a reason why people might start wondering or asking such questions.

Is it possible some people might sense a lack of honesty about relationship? They may not care one way or the other, they may in fact be totally supportive of your relationship with Beloved if they knew about it. But they might be perceiving you are hiding something. And that perception makes them wary of you, and of your relationship to them as pastor, and about your honesty about your life, and your integrity. There are some people who are a bit more empathic than others, who can perceive the elephant in the room without even knowing it's an elephant. This can make church an uncomfortable place to be, when the church's leader is not wholly forthright about such an important aspect of his/her life.

At the same time, given your situation, it's imperative to be closeted. It's a conundrum. But I think we must be careful not to impart a negative or destructive motive upon folks who are simply curious or who might actually be wanting to be supportive of you. It's a difficult situation for everyone to be in.

Doorman-Priest said...

It might actually change their attitude to you in all sorts of positive ways.

Hope said...

I concur with Barbara, Lisa and Jane...there is rarely a better way to handle a situation than to answer with a question. Though it can sometimes make one look evasive, the person who asked the question is usually so uncomfortable trying to come up with an answer to your response of "Why do you ask?", that the notion of being evasive goes right over their head! Anyway, I wish for you the very best as you make preparation for whatever lies ahead. And, by the way, you have some awesome kids!


Hidden in Christ said...

cecilia! i hope you're doing well today! i have a question, and i'm sorry i have to post this, but its my only option since i dont have your email :) i just saw this post on one of my blogs. and i'm sure you've gotten many of these posts, but this was my first and it was so discouraging. i wanted to get your advice on how to handle this person's comment. i can't blame him/her because i used to feel the way they do also. i know only God can change their mind about it not being a sin. here's what the post was :

"Yes, yes! I have accepted who God made me, too --- A SINNER, who needs to recognize my sin, confess it, and repent of it.

Being born a certain way doesn't make it right, honey. You're trying to put the usual gay spin on it: "I was born this way, so it must be good, and it must be from God." I've heard child molesters, adulterers, and incesters use the same argument, not to mention those who say they were born with angry dispositions.

Of course, they've been deceived, as have you. God clearly says that incest, adultery, anger, and molestation are sins which must not be practiced. Just because we're born with those dispositions does not make them right -- we are born SINFUL, which expresses itself in all these different ways.

The same is true of homosexuality. You may be born with an inclination toward it, but IT IS SIN, because God has declared it to be sin, and like the adulterer, you must confess it as sin, repent of it, and ask for God's strength and grace to resist your fleshly impulses toward it until you finally have real victory in Christ.

You're being deceived, kiddo. God doesn't ramp up your ministry when you embrace your sin as a blessing from Him. Satan has fooled you!"

Anonymous said...

Hidden, I am not a pastor, so I can be a little more forthright.

1. I am not your "honey" or "kiddo". I don't know you, and you don't have the right to address me by terms of familiarity. You are being rude and patronizing. The proper terminology is Ms., Rev., just "Hidden in Christ", some abbreviation of same (HIC).

2. Show me the NT passage where God/Jesus (not Paul) has clearly stated that all same-gender affection is wrong.

I am waiting...

Do you have fluency in Koine Greek and a reasonable grasp of 1st C usages (including secular usage) and some concept of social organization in Palestine? How do you know that your favorite of King James, NIV, NAB, NEB, JB, RSV, NRSV, Good News, or other translation has it right when the translations use different words to translate a passage with a rare word not used elsewhere in the Bible or other contemporaneous document?

You have the right to study the Bible with all the tools you can muster, and don't have to rely on any given interpreter, even your pastor or bishop.

3. Speck. Log.


Lisa Fox said...

I doubt anyone else is still reading these comments. But let me engage Suzer's comments. I think what she said is entirely valid. And I still think "Why do you ask?" is the right response. If the question has come from prurient interest, the questioner will shuffle away. But I can imagine other people might come back to you with, "Because I'm gay, and I need to know whether you can understand it," or "Because I sense something's closed-off and I don't understand it." etc., etc. And I bet Cecilia already knows which folks in her congregation fall into which category. ;-)

Anonymous said...


Although one host mocked me for posting my credentials in answer to inquiry from another poster on her blog, I'll tell you what I told them.

I have both a Master's and Bachelor's degree in Theology -- seven years of intensive study at a leading institution. I also have 20 years of pastoral experience in an evangelical denomination. I am well aware of the tools and am quite able to talk Greek and Hebrew with you. And the NASB is WIDELY recognised by most NT scholars as the most accurate and literal translation of the manuscripts to date. Most of the other translations move into Dynamic Equivalence -- the NASB doesn't.

As for your challenge to show you where Jesus/God speaks against homosexuality, feel free to roam through the other blogs you and I frequent. I have posted an answer there.