Jan. 19th, 2009

violachic: (Default)
So my friend Joy wrote a really fantastic open letter to Pastor Rick Warren.

Despite the link, and despite the length, I am posting the entirety of the body of the letter here, because I think it is important. Please also feel free to share it in your own circles.


Dear Pastor Warren,

I owe you an apology. When I heard that it was you who President Elect Obama had asked to give the invocation at his inauguration, I was disappointed. As a member of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community I was also a little angry. Hurt too. But I’ve been thinking and I would like to ask you for something. I’d like to ask you to be my pastor.

It’s hard to believe, but we actually have a lot in common, you and I. I was raised in an Evangelical church. I’ve been saved and born again, just like you. I attend a mainline church now, but I imagine our Sunday morning services are pretty similar to yours and I’m sure I know all the words to the songs you sing. To top it all off, both you and I are attracted to women.

Pardon the joke, Pastor Warren. I just can’t help myself. I suppose that is an important difference between us. I’m bisexual and I’m more likely to wear a nice suit to church than a dress. But I’m a bisexual Christian. I love Jesus. I do my best to live a life that bears witness to the grace and forgiveness God extends to me daily. I read the Bible and try to understand its meaning. When I look at the proof texts used to call homosexuality a sin, I see injunctions against exploitative sexual relationships, like the relationships that characterized the Roman empire, not the loving, co-equal, monogamous relationships of modern same-sex marriage. I don’t intend to marry more than one person; I had to tell my mother that’s not what bisexual means when I came out to her and my father. And I want you to be my pastor.

You’ve said that you want to be America’s pastor and you’re certainly getting your shot at just that. The thing is, to be America’s pastor, you’re going to have to be mine. This country has changed since Billy Graham began his ministry and if you want to take his place, you’re going to need to acknowledge who we have become. We, people who love people of the same gender, are part and parcel of this nation. Many of us are Christians. We are a part of churches all over this nation, worshiping and ministering alongside the rest of our Christian family. We’re struggling to win the right to participate in the sacrament of marriage. Is it really your intention to stand in our way as we come before God?

I don’t believe that you hate people like me. I know that your congregation has been involved in AIDS-related ministries and that you’ve personally spent time with gay people socially. However, you are continuing to throw around the Bible without acknowledging the scholarly debate over the passages you reference. If you’re not careful, you’re going to hit someone! I believe you’re doing your best to show your love for us, but you’ve forgotten what Jesus did besides eating with sinners. He spoke out against religious leaders who used scripture in the same way as you: “How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door to the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You don’t go in yourselves, and you don’t allow those who are trying to enter to go in.” (Mt. 23:13, NIV)

Pastor Warren, my community needs you. I’m begging you to enter the kingdom of heaven with us. The greatest tragedy in my life was when I listened to preachers like you and came to believe that I couldn’t be a Christian any more because of my sexual orientation. It took several years and several different religious leaders who told me that I was not an abomination to draw me back to the church. So many young people in America find themselves in the same position I did. We need America’s pastor to be ours too.

What I’m asking from you is simple. There’s no need to agree with me. You do not need to believe, as I do, that same-sex relationships are not inherently sinful. I do hope you’ll come to be convinced of that, but you can be my pastor without changing anything you believe. To be my pastor, you need develop a relationship with me and the rest of my community. Come and worship with us! Be in dialogue with scholars and religious leaders who understand the words of the Bible differently than you. Acknowledge that we can disagree on this issue while loving the same God. Listen to the stories of people who have been profoundly hurt by ex-gay therapies but found liberation through Jesus, who loves them for who they are. Stop using inflammatory language to oppose same-sex marriage and acknowledge the material and emotional hurt your activism has caused loving, committed same-sex couples. At the least, be kind to my community.

In a few days, after you give the invocation at Obama’s inauguration, Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, will also be in Washington D.C. to give another invocation for the President-elect. If you want to be my pastor, think about inviting Bishop Robinson out for coffee. I’m guessing that the two of you would find a lot to talk about. Let that conversation be the first of many.

In Christ,
Joy Ellison

Queeresque is a new blog launched by Joy, which is (and I quote directly from the "about" section), "an un-apologetically nerdy blog about gender and queer theory". I encourage you to follow it. You can also add it as an RSS feed for your LJ flist, at [livejournal.com profile] queeresquewdprs. Spread the word!
violachic: (Default)
Maybe I'm a writer?



Am I a writer?



I'm a writer?



I'm a writer!



I'm a writer!!!!




I have set up a new blog, that I am referring to as my "Big Kid Blog", at wordpress. It is www.joyfullysubversive.wordpress.com. There isn't anything there yet, except a poorly formatted copy of my latest sermon, but as soon as I figure out how to work posting at Wordpress (which is so entirely different from using LiveJournal!), I hope to be writing in it regularly.

I am definitely keeping my LJ account, and will always hope to make it a paid account- for a vast myriad of reasons. I have had this journal for six and a half years, and it has been very, very important to me. But it is also true that LiveJournal is practically a social networking site than a blog site- it really isn't a blogger's blog site. Also, I'd like to keep my big kid blog as separate from my personal blog as possible; this does mean that I will ask folks who read both to try not to link me back to LJ on that site. There are three main reasons for this: 1) I want my parents to be reading Joyfully Subversive, and I really don't want them reading this blog; everyone needs something that is out of sight of their parents' eyes; 2) I am going to link my full name to JS, and do not want my full name linked with my LJ account; and 3) if I end up with regular readership over there, they really don't need to be party to the angst and craziness that is my violachic journal- especially the last few years.

But I am finally accepting the label of writer. I've always loved to write, and when I was younger, in school, was often told by teachers that I was good. However, my fiction and poetry, even though it was good, was never great, and it was really my papers that were. I am not an academic or a scholar, but I am realizing that I do write a certain style of non-fiction very well. I hope to do a lot of writing about Palestine over on JS, including my personal experiences over there. In reading back through my "tags" section, I realized that my best writing came from being in the fire, and then the frying pan- because I was writing about my experiences and feelings. So I'm going to use that.

I have created an RSS feed, mostly because I can- [livejournal.com profile] joyfllysubvrsve. Yes, I am aware that it looks like it is written in LOLspeak or textspeak, but I had to get rid of some vowels in order to make it fit.

Anyway, that is enough Wee Hours Rambling for now. I got almost no sleep on Saturday night, feel asleep last night at eight, and woke up a little while ago. I am going to dork around online for a bit, get a snack, and go back to bed, as I don't need to be up till ten today.

In the meantime...

I'm a writer!

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