A series of essays towards General Convention in 2003
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 09:15:00 -0400
From: 2 Joans firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Crew: I want to share this letter with you and thank you again for your substantive grace. I hope and pray there is affirmation. Feel free to use this letter as you see fit. jk
At the age of 68, being a Christian Lesbian has ceased to be an oxymoron. God's grace, though always present, has provided enough revelation, courage and affirmation to the Church to reduce to an nth degree the marginalization of those with same sex orientation and to include at the Lord's table those who felt far too often worthy of only the crumbs.
Serving on gay-related task forces, hearing the sacred stories, holding dialogue with those who were honestly searching for justice and God's Love, experiencing being talked at by heterosexual pedagogues as if we were nonentities regarding God's creation and redemption has all impacted my spiritual journey and affected my attitude toward the present debate regarding same-sex loving and living whether it be clergy, bishops or laity.
Having worked in education 30 plus years as a counselor, I have encountered many high- school students. Literally, thousands have passed through my office door at one time or another. Among some of those students are the ones who were born to travel "the road less taken." Note, I do not believe one's sexual orientation is a matter of choice. Nor do I believe if one is so gifted, should the expression of that giftedness be suppressed or promiscuous. Held within the same bonds of committed relationship, individuals will grow amd become nurturing, self -accepting, and creative constructive members in community.
The sheer terror and panic that often accompanies the "outing of self" in a counselor's office by a student is not only heart-rending, but a stark reminder of a terrible injustice that has far too often been perpetuated in the name of God by religious authority masked under the aegis of scripture, tradition, and reason. The zest for life, the joy of self -discovery, the awe and wonder of the miracle inherent in seeking minds and imaginations is stifled by angst, anxiety, shame, guilt, and toxicity immobilizing growth and often leading to the desperate act of suicide: the only " positive option" for some.
What is the Church's responsibility to these young people and their parents? At what point is this vicious cycle of abuse going to be broken? In what stage of movement within the glacial speed of Church change will the promise become a reality that truly in Christ all things are made new and what will that newness look like? As long as the Church continues to predetermine who is in and who is out of the mainstream of Christ's love and His redemptive transforming power, Christ continues to hang on the cross. Resurrection power becomes a theological myth that dies with a whimper and the triumphant procession has an aroma of death rather than the aroma of joy, liberation, peace, and reconciliation.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was always about "YES." What greater blessing could be passed on to those generations who are now in their formative years, than to hear that resounding "YES." Someone in ecclesiastical authority needs to find and own a voice that speaks with the courage to be and the right to become while held in and sealed by Divine Love.
I pray that at the upcoming General Convention, this voice speaks loudly and clearly affirming the value inherent in having the capacity to love another though they happen to be of the same gender. The Church has far too long used us and our gifts, but has denied us our birthright.
With God's wisdom and your substantive grace, may your find your educated hearts speaking justice and kissing truth with mercy.
Held by Divine Love, as are you, sinners of His own redeeming,
Sincerely because of Christ,
Joan S. Kuiken, Licensed Professional Counselor
2505 Spohrs Road
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
June 16, 2003
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