Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance

Is it weird that I got a text message from Beloved, in the middle of a denominational meeting, saying "I love you so"?

Should I feel strange knowing, as I do, that there were at least three of "us" in that same meeting, none of us even remotely "out," but all of us doing ministry in places where we are thriving as well as the congregations we serve?

Is it weird that I get emails from the Human Rights Campaign and from Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals in the same inbox in which I get emails from members of the congregation I serve?

Should I feel strange knowing that the administrative assistant warns me against doing "controversial" things like advertising local Pride events, without knowing, you know, the truth about me?

Is a framed piece of art in my office depicting Ruth and Naomi a dead giveaway?

Do people even care?

Sometimes I just wonder these things.

20 comments:

anita said...

Quite the tension indeed though I think for one that it's a beautiful thought to think of that text message appearing on your cell phone at such a time. And the art work of Ruth and Naomi...unless they're kissing I think you're safe :)

LittleMary said...

i think it is kinda weird, simply because it does a mind fuck, ya know?

Pastor Peters said...

it's not a dead giveaway. you shouldn't feel strange. these are things that i have and do. and i'm straight. there is nothing wrong with being faithful. that's what you are doing.

Anonymous said...

People don't perceive what they don't wish to perceive.

NancyP

Choralgirl said...

Amen, NancyP! My "in-laws" were perfectly willing to believe that my Beloved and I were ten-year roommates (in our 40s!), so that they could NOT think about the other possibility. ;-)

Cecilia, it's sort of like spending your days walking atop a tall fence, isn't it? One "world" on the left, one on the right, parallel but not intersecting except at the "thin places" in the fence (marginally veiled Celtic theology reference), like art and social justice. And ya feel like you have to be always vigilant so that you don't fall off and get hurt, or hurt someone else.

Recognizing the irony, laughing at it, worrying the thin places where you can...all are helpful skills until such a time as you can hop off the fence and weave the worlds together. Blessings, grace and peace to you on the journey, sister.

Hidden in Christ said...

thanks for making me smile today C. i so get where you're at. i go through the same things all the time. sometimes, i'm praying with Hope in a group Christian setting and as i hold her hand and go to the Lord in prayer, sometimes i think "wow" this is hilarious! i hear ya and feel ya. keep writing!

i love ruth and naomi! do you think they had a same sex relationship? i've always wondered, but wasn't sure because of the whole boaz thing.

Cecilia said...

Thanks all, for your comments (even you, Anonymous, whose comment i didn't publish, because you've already had your airtime here. Thanks for being concerned for my soul. I'll pray for you too!).

Hidden in Christ, I understand why lesbians have been intrigued by Ruth and Naomi. Their relationship was certainly counter-cultural, in that they threw their lot in together in a society where women were not expected to be able to survive without men to care for and protect them. And certainly the vow Ruth makes to Naomi has been used at weddings by straight and LGBTQ people alike, and is powerful. But do I think theirs was a sexual relationship? No. Now David and Jonathan, we could talk about. Much more likely, in my opinion.

But one of the things I love about Ruth and Naomi as lesbian icons is that IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT SEX. Affectional orientation, commitment, working and living for and with the other, being spiritual soul-mates... all these are what same-sex love is about, too. For that reason... I love their story being read in that alternative way. And they are hanging in my office, leaning towards one another, walking their hard road together. I love them.

Pax, C.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Cecilia

I really don't care whether you publish my comments or not. I will be confronting you with God's truth again and again, though I doubt you have the courage to read it again and again. However,

"To learn, you must love discipline;it is stupid to hate correction." (Proverbs 12:1)


Pax

Choralgirl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Swandive said...

just de-lurking with a smile and love for your journey.

Anonymous said...

Hi C,
I suppose it means you are accomplishing something if the trolls feel the need to try to correct you.

Not being a Christian, I have no problem considering anonymous a deeply deranged a**hole who ought to tend his own fields. I also have no problem if you choose not to post this.

IT

Cecilia said...

IT, you always make me smile. Glad to post!

Pax, C.

Suzer said...

Perhaps Anonymous, you also need to pay attention to that Proverb? Just a thought.

Peace to you, and may God open your mind to true Love.

I tend to think that the many "anonymouses" who come to progressive Christian blogs to try and "correct" our thinking (especially in the area of homosexuality), are often struggling to accept the viewpoint that homosexuality is not sin. Having such a rigid belief system, however, they rail against God's Love by challenging others again and again. I suspect that Anonymous, and many like him/her, will eventually open their hearts and minds. Until then, I will practice patience, love and kindness, while recognizing my own human frailties (I, too, am often quick to anger, quick to judge).

Anonymous said...

You're more lenient than I, Suzer. I think they will never open their minds and they wll continue to feel a grim triumph every time a gay widow loses a pension or a gay partner is denied hospital visitation rights, or a gay widower loses the house because of no spousal inheritence, or a gay couple pays vastly more for health insurance and taxes, or when a child ofa gay family is expelled from school.

I thnk they take some mean delight at the thought of miserable and unhappy gay people leading lonely and empty lives, bereft of family and partner.

All justified by their view of a narrow, angry, punitive God.

Yup, that's what the word "Christian" suggests to me.

There MAY Be some hope for their children, however.

IT

Suzer said...

I'm so terribly sorry, IT, that that is what the word "Christian" conjures up for you. It often conjures up the same meaning for me, too.

But, you see, I'm a Christian. So is Cecilia. And many other commenters here. Grandmere, Eileen, MadPriest, Jake+, Elizabeth+, Susan+, and many more. I wonder why (even for myself) it is so difficult to hear those who preach love, forgiveness and acceptance? Why is the message of Hate so loud?

Perhaps it was always thus. And perhaps when Jesus said to follow Him, he was whispering into our souls -- "Listen to the quiet ones, the ones who get no attention. The ones who welcome you in, who love and accept you as you are, as my Father does. Listen to the still small voices proclaiming God's true Love in a wilderness filled with others who preach Hate and Ego and the Almighty Dollar. Listen closely and you will hear the poor crying, the old dying and the new being born. Forgive the others, for they know not what they do. Just follow that still small voice that says 'you are my Daughter/Son, with whom I am well pleased' and then do the same unto others. That is the narrow door -- not following a set of laws, but rather following Love." And that is, for some reason, so hard for us to do -- to shed our human nature and selfishness and allow God's Love to lead us. There are some who are so closed off to it, that they strike out in anger at others, who have obtained the freedom they so jealously wish for, but out of fear dare not believe.

There are "other" Christians out there. Christians who are focused on the Message of love of God and service to others. I'd be glad to welcome you into my church (though I think we live on different coasts). We take all comers. And while most of us have a certain belief system, the way in which we believe it is as varied as our members. For me, if you believe the message of Love, you are further along to being Christian than many who proclaim and guard that moniker so self-righteously.

Anonymous said...

suzer,
Sorry, my point wasn't clear. This is what I meant:

The term "Christian" has been highjacked by the haters. I think most people immediately associate "Christian" with the fundy right wing who espouse hatred and exclusion.

If someone walks up and says "I'm a Christian" this is the likely association.

However, if you first identify as Episcopalian, Catholic, Lutheran or Methodist, etc, rather than "Christian", that's unlikely to be the response.

When you see the media report on "Christian opinion", they aren't reporting on mainstream or liberal Christian opinion. They are using that as a shorthand for "Right wing Christian fundamentalist believers".

So, you non-fundy Christians have a problem, because the haters now own the adjective. It means their brand of religion.

I should also point out to those who don't know me from other sites that my Beloved Partner is a pretty serious Roman Catholic. (Well, as serious as a divorced, now partnered lesbian can be ;-).

I'm very much live and let live on the belief issues--I'll respect anyone else's faith as long as they respect my lack thereof, and as long as they don't use their faith to attack my civil rights.

I'm actually interested in faith as a human construct, how it develops and lasts in intelligent people who otherwise think pretty similarly to me. And I have a long standing academic and scholarly interest in the history of the Anglican church and its tightrope tension between high church and low church.

So I'm far from tarring all believers with one brush. If I were, I'd hardly be hanging around the extended FrJake family, where I've been for years. Even MadPriest made me a bishop. ;-)

HOpe this clears it up.

IT, itinerant atheist and gadfly, scientist, scholar, and liberal lesbian

Suzer said...

S'ok, IT. I kind of know you from Jake's and MadPriest's. My comment was partly written from my own frustration about the now-common perception of "Christian" being a right-wing, conservative, fundamentalist, partly written to you, and partly written to the anonymouses of the world. My musings may have come across as if they were directly entirely to you. I know you are more than intelligent enough to distinguish between different types of Christian belief, and those that are often very unChristian, despite what they claim to be.

Peace. :)

Anonymous said...

No prob, Suzer, I was directing my response as much or more to others who don't know me. Of course I know you from the other places.

How do you reclaim "christian"? Part ofthe problem is all the mainstream denominations (I know Jake doesn't like that word but it fits my meaning) were "above the fray" while the loonies grabbed it. Kinda like the school districts where the crazy creatiionists stacked up the school board because sensible people didn't think it would be an issue and were too busy with "real life"

When you deal with whackjobs it appears everything is an issue.

As we have seen here.

Thanks, C, for your patience in allowing OT conversations.

IT

Cecilia said...

Love it. It's like watching the Williams sisters. Go for it!

Pax, C.

Suzer said...

Don't have much time (and, yes, thank you for allowing the space, Cecilia!), but I think the first thing that comes to mind in reclaiming the word Christian is simply not to shy away from calling ourselves Christians. I have been hesitant at times to use that word. Many of my gay friends have looked at me like I must be crazy. But over time, I trust that my actions, imperfect though they may be, will begin to let them see that not all Christians are right-wing fundies who want to bring back Puritanism.

We must first reclaim the word by using it. By loving, giving of ourselves, and helping others. Let folks see that is what a "Christian" is. And share the inclusive Gospel as I believe it was intended. I try to let people know we are Christians in the best, most inclusive, sense of the word.

Gotta go. This is only a start, but I think it's an important one.

Peace, y'all.