Saturday, April 16, 2011

On Monday @ Fuller Seminary

It's a kind of unusual way to spend Monday in Holy Week, but I'm honored to have been invited to be part of a panel this coming Monday night at Fuller Seminary. The program is being framed by the question:

"What can Fuller Seminary do to prepare its students for ministry in congregations who are divided on the issue of homosexuality?"

Yes, that would be an invitation from FULLER Seminary ... the same week that the Diocese of San Joaquin authorizes liturgies for the blessing of same-gender unions.
  • Remember that the next time there's a "one step back" after "two steps forward" on the journey toward justice and you think we're never going to get there.
  • Remember when you fear that the church will never live up to its promise of full and equal claim to the LGBT baptized.
  • Remember when it seems that liberty and justice will never mean "all."
Remember a week when both Fuller Seminary and the Diocese of San Joaquin took two steps forward! Here are the details of Monday's event ... join us if you're in the neighborhood!

Fuller's Peace and Justice Advocates and Just Peacemaking Initiative Present:
DIVIDED BY HOMOSEXUALITY: Pastoral Tools for Mediation and Dialogue
Monday April 18th 7pm in Travis Auditorium

Panelists:
The Reverend Canon Susan Russell
Senior Associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena
Chair of the Program Group on LGBT Ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles


Bishop Yvette Flunder
Senior Pastor, City of Refuge, United Church of Christ
Residing Bishop, Refuge Ministries/Fellowship 2000


Rev. Dr. Ken Fong
Senior Pastor,Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, Rosemead

Paul W. Clement, Ph.D.,
ABPP Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice,
South Pasadena


Chris Moore
PhD Candidate in Christian Ethics, Fuller Seminary
Former Fellow at St. John's the Divine

7 comments:

Douglas Becker said...

Well, a Seminary is sort of college or university, isn't it?

Well then, this whole thing answers itself!

As young people get out from home and go into the collegeate atmosphere, it is time to spread their wings and learn about life in a safe environment through experimentation. Is there anything wrong with a little sexual experimentaion to confirm one's sexual identity? It might even be more fun than guys might think! They may like it.

Straight guys need to engage in mutual sexual exploration freely to determine what it's like. How could they ever expect to deal with gay parishoners without the experience?

So this is just perfect. All young people coming to Fuller should expect to be free to have a Fuller experience in life, including sexual exploration with their same sex, without fear and without guilt. Life time friendships have been built on less.

So there's the answer. Do you like it?

I'd be willing to bet, if I were a betting man, it is not a solution that would be well received, even if it is presented as I have presented it: Facetious and ironic.

And I suspect that Fuller isn't as dedicated to resolving this issue as they may protest they are, or, at least, it is tinged with ever a small touch of hypocrisy.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I'm so proud of you, Susan. Thank you for this gospel work.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

With all due respect, I don't think the organizers (who are members of Fuller's Peace & Justice task force) have a goal of "resolving" anything ... the new ground they're breaking at Fuller is just having the conversation.

It's a big step for them and I'm honored to be part of it.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

And thanks, Elizabeth. Ditto.

Jim said...

Congrats to you and to Fuller. It takes confidence and courage both to start the conversation and to participate. I am sure you will do us proud.

FWIW
jimB

Douglas Becker said...

What you are attempting to do is very difficult and I admire your dedication. I remember my childhood as a baptized Lutheran attending a Catholic Parochial School for 11 years. My parents did their best to provide a superior classic education and it did work, but it was a trial to be surrounded by idols without having the "luxury" of speaking out against things I knew were wrong. I had no credibility. The other kids picked on me, as being good Catholic children, and me being... a nothing.

Since the school was a bording school through 12th grade for girls, but only to age 12 for boys. This left me in a decided male minority for three years, surrounded by women and having my scholastic life run by the Catholic sisters. It was stressful without any strategy to cope at all.

I finally got to the point that I couldn't stand it and went to public school in my senior year. The problems didn't stop there, because I was so different. My GPA was 3.75, whereas, the Valdictorian had a 3.0 GPA and the Salutatorian had a 2.8 GPA. So there we were on stage during graduation with our gold tassels. The two of them spoke. I remained silent, mostly invisible and certainly irrelevant because the rule was that you had to attend the high school for two years to be Valdictorian or Salutatorian.

After high school, I was plunged into a conservative, restrictive, abusive cult by my brother where it was made clear that I had no rights and no voice with no value beyond giving three tithes on my gross below minimum wages as a messenger. I spent two years starving half to death and lost 25 pounds with no real friends and no family support.

Teens in particular have enough difficulty finding their place in the world without being berated and discriminated against for what they are. I hope you have success. I am not optimistic, based on my own experiences.

Jenn said...

Hi Susan, I'm in the current All Saints 101 class and was excited to attend this event to hear you speak. I quite enjoy your unofficial title of "Archlesbian" and think you should get a special hat for that. Hearing your/All Saint's views in this context of multiple denominations and groups made me very proud to be a few days away from becoming a member. Thank you for spending your Holy Monday in such a strange way!