But now I can cross one thing off the list. And it's not the taxes.
I'm giving up literalists for Lent.
Not forever. Just for Lent.
"Not forever" because I think I really AM called to engage in dialogue with those who disagree about the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ in the Church and with those who think LGBT Americans should be second class citizens. It's part of my vocation that's both a challenge and an opportunity and I am not going to step away from that part of what I do for good.
But I am going to focus this Lent on those who are coming toward the church -- toward Jesus -- toward the Good News of God's inclusive love. I want to free up the time I spend debating & dialoguing with the "The Bible said it; I believe it; That Settles it" crowd and use it to reach out to the "I think I know enough about being a Christian not to want to be one" crowd.
I want to follow up with the literally dozens of folks who approached me Saturday night after the HRC awards dinner with moving stories, tears in their eyes, business cards in their hands and hope in their voice.
- "I used to be a Catholic ... I miss the church, but ..."
- "I'm not religious anymore but if I was I'd come to your church."
- "What times are your services? You're in Pasadena, right?"
- "You probably don't remember me but my kids were at St. Peter's when you were the chaplain there and I'm here as a straight ally. My son came out a few years ago and when he heard that Chaplain Susan was getting an award he said I had to be sure and come find you and thank you."
- "Do you have any idea how different my life would have been growing up if you had been my priest? Thank you!"
- "Do you have a card? Can I email you?"
- I really do hear that you believe the Bible condemns homosexuality. I do. And I read the same Bible and come to a different conclusion. Get over it.
- No. No I'm not worried about the Lake of Fire. And yes, actually, I sleep just fine at night.
- At the end of the day, I'm quite convinced how we treated each other in the process of disagreement is going count more toward the "final grade" than who won the argument.
- And speaking of arguments, repeating the same one over and over ... louder and louder ... is the "Ugly Christian" version of the "Ugly American" strategy of just speaking English louder to folks who speak other languages. Doesn't work in Milan and not going to work here.