Wednesday, June 27, 2012

gay and church

gay and church:
a real intersection in
nashville, tennessee.
church and gay:
a real intersection in
my life.
i've said more than once that my journey in the church...
(in particular as a leader in the church)
is like being in the middle of a tug-of- war.
because i was born in 1960
i literally stand in the middle of two generations:

on one side the "greatest generation"
who lived through world war two
coupled with those from the baby boomer era.
on the other side 
the post-modernist/digital/
social networking generations. 

i am part of both
but am consistently pulled in separate directions.
because i was born gay
and because i lived in the depths of denial for so long
i have also experienced the tug-of -war 
that comes with debate in the church
as to the place of gays....
the practical: ordain or not ordain
the ultimate:  hell
one side focused on righteousness and rules
the other side focused on unconditional grace and hospitality. 
though i found my way out of denial
which was my personal tug-of-war
i remain in the church.
i remain in the church because
every turn i took when i found my way out 
of the proverbial closet
confirmed my call to ministry.
staying in the church
meant leaving a church....
in particular the last church i served 
as co-pastor with my ex-wife.
my ex-wife left first
which left me to wrestle with the 
unraveling of denial and truth
before and in the midst of the congregation. 
i know now
it needed to happen this way.
the church was already wrestling with
all the change they could handle.
i learned that when too much change 
is injected into a system
emotion and angst win the day.
and that's just the nicest and
fairest way i can define this part of my story.
i thought i might be able to
serve long enough in the church
to allow my daughter time to graduate high school
but this was not the case.
my personal journey of claiming truth 
was unfolding quicker than i had anticipated
which meant that i needed to get on with my life.
so i did.
i got on with my life. 
i contacted the church hierarchy
which often moves no faster than a snail on a dry hot day
and began telling my story
my need to leave the church i was serving.
i needed a quieter, safer, gentler place
to heal and ponder and stretch and pray...
to cry and grieve and
to slowly but sometimes quickly
wake up to the new reality 
that had becomeand would become
my life. 
i'll never forget the words from the
one who represented the heirarchy...
"blake i have a church for you to serve temporarily  
i think this is a good match for you.
they are a sweet congregation.
they will remind you why you wanted to be a minister."
and they did
and that's another story for 
another day.
gay and church
church and gay...
this intersection
this tug-of-war continues... 
but for me
it's less painful
because i do not fear as much as i used too...
and i am no longer ashamed 
of who i am.  

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