XXXXXX, I find it hard to believe that you would be facing the defections that you now face if through the years you had passionately taught God's love of gay people and if you had carefully, lovingly challenged the clearly abusive comments and attitudes about them. You can do so without changing your theology about the rightness or wrongness of lesbigay behavior. Indeed, we are all called to go to the uttermost parts of the earth. Have you and your parish gone to the uttermost parts of the [your local] lbgt community? While you might have lost a few who cannot abide that Good News, you might much more fully have attracted other sinners, who while not pro-lbgt, might dare to think you would welcome them too. Look at the outreach budget of St. Andrew's. What portions of it have you ever spent in specific ministries to lesbians and gays? How present have you been in the gay community in ministries of service? Do you take out ads for St. Andrew's in lbgt newspapers? Or ads in the [local paper] specifically welcoming lbgts? What in your behavior makes lbgts know that they are welcome at the God's table? What in your budget shows that straights in your parish love lesbians and gays as much as they love themselves? I am not making up this criterion: it is Jesus' second commandment, and very close indeed to his first. This is the criterion of the great gettin up morning - for as often as we have not served those whom we deem the least among us, we have failed to serve Jesus. In many cases so-called traditionalists have brought the current crisis on themselves. It is a crisis brought on by sustained unlove. For 35+ years while the rest of the Church engaged in conversations with lbgts, the traditionalists remained largely silent knowing well the contempt which that silence protected and encouraged. The unspoken message was, "Don't worry. We won't even talk about them, and they will not show up here." Of course those with unexamined contempt for lbgts now feel betrayed by their leaders, because lbgts are showing up everywhere, not just in the lobby, but in primary leadership as sister and brother disciples. I hear desperation in your appeal to vote for moratoria even if you can hope to get moratoria for only 3-years at a time. I hear in your appeal no co-passion for those whom you would exclude. If I am deaf, point me to that co-passion. Lutibelle/Louie Louie Crew Chair of the Newark Deputation. Member of Executive Council. Neighbor Our neighbor's a fag and bakes good cakes, as parents are careful to warn children. But he's just an undertaker, so there ain't much way he could harm no living thing. He even married wunts, to a widow schoolteacher; but their maid let out how the two lived in separate parts of the house right from the beginning, and the teacher, being sickly, conveniently upped and died real soon. I think those boys were wrong to beat him up when he wrote the paper about Anita. A little sugar in his gas tank or a few discreet breathing calls oughta been enough to keep him scared to make another public move. We ain't got nothin gainst queers, really, long's they don't do nothin or tell nobody. We never have let the Baptists tell us how to run our lives. -- Louie Crew, 1978 Has appeared: Gruene Street March 1997 Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services 7.3 (1997). Rural Gays and Lesbians. An anthology edited by James D. Smith and Ronald Mancoske. NY: Harrington Park Press, 1997. 106-107.
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