Monday, March 2, 2009

Lent Day 5: No Longer Surprised

By the lectionary readings, that is. That they are speaking to me? Old news.

7For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, 8a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. 10You shall eat your fill and bless the LORD your God for the good land that he has given you. ~ Deuteronomy 8:7-10

This passage is one I have echoing in my head, not from years as a minister, or as a Christian, or as a devout student of scripture. No, I hear it in the voice of Jane Powell, playing the part of Milly in the film "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." She knows her bible better than I, and quotes from this passage as she leads the unruly Pontipee brothers in grace before a meal. I hear it this moment as a word of encouragement, saying: don't be afraid. This land you're going to is a good one. This place will be a place of bounty, not want.

This, of course, is relevant to the whole "having a job" issue. It is a reality of my plan to come out that the end result may be that I am no longer the pastor of my congregation. This is something I dread, in one sense... this call took a long time to find me, and I feel that we are so well-suited to one another. My gifts seem to find a home here, at least judging by what the members tell me. There is also the issue of money. I have some savings (though less and less each every day, as the market continues to drain). That was supposed to be "retirement money," but the reality is that my family and I wouldn't be out on the street (in fact, I own my home outright: no mortgage to worry about). Would I be unemployable as a minister in my town? Most likely. Not for certain. If my denomination continues to enforce its current policies, it would be tough.

I hear the scriptures inviting me to take my head out of these particular "what if's?" and focus instead on the incredible sense of abundance and freedom that would result from my being able to be who I truly am, in all places and circumstances. I am getting a taste of it, a whiff of that heady, clean air.

It's addictive.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The only place I have reached at present is to leave a letter with my Last Will and Testament declaring to the world that since my sexual awakening at around the age of 10, I have been gay.

Will I ever get to the place where that letter will be superfluous because I have openly declared my orientation whilst still living and breathing? I don't know the answer to that, and I'm not going to spend time worrying about it. If it happens, it will happen, and in God's good timing.

Sorry to post this anonymously.

Choralgirl said...

I hear revving. :-)

August said...

You will, of course, make your future income from the enormous sales of your bestelling memoir "Closeted Pastor," should the actual minister-gig fall through...

Cecilia said...

It's ok Anonymous. You are welcome to be as anonymous here as you need to be.

And, all my friends, thank you. August, don't think that thought hasn't crossed my mind... but, alas, probably out of the question, in terms of pastoral confidence, etc.

Pax, C.

Songbird said...

I don't see why, C. Plenty of pastors have written books, and this would be about YOU. I love that idea. Anyway, it's going to take brave people uncloseting themselves to change things in your denomination, not to prove something, but to be who God calls them to be. You go!

Jan said...

I think a book would be a good idea. You could always use another name.

bugs said...

This is perhaps the most difficult and the most liberating journey one could ever embark on. I too am in ministry and am in the process of coming out. However, i have found that although some avenues of ministry might close, others always opens as it is not my call to begin with , but God's call on my life.

The best advice i could give is to continue to be close to God and then do it when you are ready. When will you know that you are ready?

When the thought of not 'coming out' frightens you more the the thought of 'coming out' - then you are ready.

Praying for you

Cecilia said...

bugs... you can leave your email in a comment, which I will not publish. perhaps we can support one another through this?

Pax, C.

Cecilia said...

And yes. you speak the truth. the idea of not coming out is starting to be scarier than the idea of coming out. that's it precisely.

Pax, C.

Diane said...

I'm praying for you, C.

John Shuck said...

Cecilia,

I think you are wonderful. Among many things, you are showing us how to engage the scripture. It comes alive as we bring our lives to it.

Many friends are with you as you enter the "good land!"

Sunflower said...

Wow your blog really touched me. I myself am slowly letting my feet out the closet, as I start to trust God and the love of some people around me.
A book could encourage those who need it.
May God guide you through this.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ 12:57 -- that's the same place that I'm at (except for the part about having written a letter). I think there are a lot of us there. I have already and will continue to pray for you and the rest of us, that God will grant us wisdom and courage and strength and love.
...in God's good timing...
also anonymous

murat11 said...

I am newly arrived and the grace and honesty are wonderfully refreshing. It is most interesting to me that for folks who have heard a call to ministry, the "calling" does not stop there: God/Life moves us all farther and farther along new paths of discernment. Blessings to you on your journey.

What a beautiful lectionary reading.