Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."
~ 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
The daily lectionary epistle today, again, feels as if it were written BY Paul TO me for JUST THIS OCCASION. It's kind of astonishing to me to feel the Spirit driving me to the process of coming out in my congregation, as the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert. I said it yesterday. I'm saying it today. It feels that the universe is speaking to me. I believe it may have begun with "Milk," with his incredible last will and testament in which he declared, if a bullet enters my brain, let it blow open every closet door.
I am also becoming preoccupied with the details of precisely how this will look. Will I write the congregation a letter, scheduled to arrive all on the same day? Will I talk to individuals, do it gradually? There are means at my disposal to give the congregation time to think about it, let the dust settle before they come to a hard and fast conclusion, a process by which they can vote to keep me or let me go. What percentage "No" vote is acceptable?
Along with that sermon exercise, I think it might be good to write the draft "Hi I'm a Lesbian" letter, too, to see how that might look on paper. And I need to assemble a small group of friends and colleagues... not people of the congregation... to talk about all this, to help me plan for the most pastoral way to go about this. It is very clear to me that the long term health of the congregation is paramount. If I can stay and that be enabled, wonderful. If my staying is a barrier to that, then... of course, I go.
In a way, though, I am suspicious of any leap to action. I think for now... introspection, prayer, continuing to be open to scripture... these are the best path for me now.
And here's another message to me from God:
Collect for the First Sunday in Lent
Spirit of integrity,
you drive us into the desert
to search out our truth.
Give us clarity to know what is right,
and courage to reject what is strategic;
that we may abandon the false innocence of failing to choose at all,
but may follow the purposes of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Janet Morley, All Desires Known