Beloved and I huddled together this morning at our favorite coffee joint (well, one of our two) for reasons to do with more than the cold. We were reading the paper together, the local paper, and a story about a man we know very well.
He is a minister.
He is Beloved's friend.
He is my friend and colleague.
He is in a local jail.
The things he has done with his church are amazing. It's a little country church that became the first in our entire area to be "open and affirming" to GLBT people. It's a church that was dying until his particular brand of leadership helped them find the life God had in store for them. It's a church that has grown since his arrival; before that it was questionable as to whether it would even survive.
Now he is accused of felonies that have nothing to do with sex, everything to do with money.
We are in shock. We are grieving. We are angry-- at moments, at our friend, at other moments, at the local media and the glee one tends to encounter when clergy screw up or worse. We sincerely don't know what to think, what to believe. We have no idea if the charges are true or some dreadful miscarriage of justice or worse, an attempt to damage his reputation by people who are unhappy with his leadership. We just don't know.
At the end of every service I say, "Let us go out into God's beautiful and broken world to share the good news of God's love for us."
That's our friend, whether guilty or innocent. Beautiful and broken.