Hearts were heavy here in St. Louis this morning as we entered into the plenary session. Messages of hope and prayers and love were being shared all over social media, words about God’s ability to do miraculous things or the impossible; words about the “third day.”
I didn’t post last night (or this morning) because I had no words. No words for the pit of despair in my stomach. No words for my chosen family, many of whom have left the Church because of how the Church has failed to acknowledge their sacred worth. Wailing comes to mind. But no words.
A friend posed yesterday, what if this is all a big farce and there is no God?
It certainly seems that way sometimes. Where is God in all of this? How could God let this happen? Why would God call us to ministries of compassion and justice, to kingdom building work here on earth, if the Church doesn’t recognize the work as worthy?
newsflash: the Church isn’t God.
all throughout history the Church has done things that are contrary to God’s will. at this very moment the Catholic Church is dealing with its own issues of sexual misconduct and mistreatment of nuns. at this very moment other denominations around the globe are thinking, we just went through all that, it sucks. and we all know of those church council meetings or parking lot conversations where leaders in the church bully and manipulate things to get their way in the tiniest of matters.
The General Conference does not speak for God.
Tonight I shared a meal with our delegation and the devotion leader named two words: tears and trauma.
Many tears were shed today; of heartache, of sadness, of brokenness, of disgust, of fear. And the whole experience left us all feeling dazed, somewhat dizzy and disoriented…. Then, to top it off, we walked out to flashing police lights, as if something horrible just happened.
Yet, as we peered over the railings on our way out, the Queer Clergy Caucus was serving communion to people as they left the building. They were singing songs of lament, of resistance, of perseverance.
For everyone born a place at the table…and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace.
Ain’t gonna let nobody, turn me ‘round.I’m gonna keep on a walkin’, keep on a talkin’, Walkin’ into freedom land.
I’m amazed at their ability to sing, to smile at every single person who came out of that conference center. without prejudice, without hatred. I was in awe of their ability to respond with such love and grace.
I received many messages from friends who are confused, heartbroken, angry. To all of you, I say:
-know that you are loved. the General Conference does not speak for God. God loves you just the way you are.
-take care of your mind, body, and soul as you process what’s going on. go outside, get off technology. play with some animals; do something that restores your soul.
-sing. dance. hug someone. do something nice for something else. do not let this keep you from shining your light for all to see.
-if you can, stay. keep working to create places of inclusion for all people, whether they have the name UMC or not. embody Christ’s love for all people, wherever you are.
take a deep breath. ❤