While there is a part of me that remains hopeful for a better future, a growing part of my soul gnaws at me to relinquish that belief. Relinquish it in favor of a more cynical, perhaps more Calvinist, view of the world in which humankind exists more or less in cycles of brokenness that leave us constantly unable to hear or see the movement of the Spirit in our midst.
This ongoing battle between hope and cynicism rages as I consider the place in which the PC(USA), my denomination, finds itself when seeking to be in relationship with our brothers and sisters in the GLBTQ communities. The struggle, and let’s not mistake it for anything else, exists between one side who sees God’s love as all encompassing and God’s creation as a beautiful cloth weaved with the diversity of many threads, and the other side seeking to preserve the hegemonic nature of the Christian faith which demands fealty to the single standard of being that has gained acceptance over the past hundred years or so. Because ultimately, it is not a question of preserving the holy tradition of marriage, even a cursory study of the history of the institution would reveal a complex and patriarchal story that rests at the base of the union between a
man and a woman. Nor is it a question of preserving some sort of sexual purity within the clergy.
At least in recent times, since the passing of G-6.0108b(1997), the church has never tried to out heterosexual clergy who have strayed from the bonds of holy matrimony or chastity in singleness. The only thing that is left for those who oppose inclusion, either in ordination standards or in covenantal relationships, is fear and hatred of the other. This was made clear to me at a recent meeting of my own congregation.
But that is what we have, at least in my neck of the woods. A combination of fear and hatred consumes the very persons who claim to be purveyors of God’s grace and love for the world. In a place where we say all are welcome, it is now crystal clear that that is simply a falsehood we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel superior to the unchurched masses who couldn’t possibly know anything of morality or true love. We should take that message down from our signs and strike it from our bulletins. We should be honest and say that in fact all are not welcome here. Just us. Just our club. God help us.
Modern scribes write in Jesus Christ, “Everyone is free,” and the doors open wide to all straight men & women but they are not open to me.
Rev. Zinn is an ordained and installed minister in the PC(USA).