Thursday, May 8, 2008

This Matter Which Weighs Upon My Heart

Friends, I labor. I struggle within myself and within my Yearly Meeting with the issue of FUM. I come from New York Yearly Meeting, and we are duel affiliated with FGC and FUM. Right now there is a lot of anger within New York Yearly Meeting towards FUM because of some homophobic statements that have been made. Much of this anger comes out of misinformation and miscommunication; much of it also comes out of a legitimate sense of anger and pain. Pain that GLBTQ Friends that we love and hold dear are being hurt. I too take these concerns very seriously, I am both a Christian Friend and a queer identified Friend and this is an issue very close to my heart. However I don’t feel like we can walk away from FUM or this pain. As Quakers we are called to love and cherish all people, not matter who they are or what they’ve done in there lives and other Friends, Friends who might not hold the same beliefs as we dos, should be no different. I feel strongly that if we as a Yearly Meeting walk away from FUM we clearly state that we cannot love, cannot connect, and labor with, Friends who do choose to be affiliated with FUM. I know that this not our intention, but I fear that will be the out come. I also feel that anger and pain is not a place from which good healthy decisions are made. Anger is good, it can lead to passion, which can in turn and in time lead to compassion and love, but we cannot act directly from anger. We cannot go with our first reaction to distance ourselves from things we don’t agree with. That would not and does not do justice to us as people, any of us. We are FUM, we can not say they are some ‘other’ doing and saying things we find hurtful because we are a FUM Yearly Meeting. They are us, we are them, and I would grieve deeply if that were to change. I also fear that by leaving FUM we set ourselves up, as a Yearly Meeting, on a moral high ground I don’t believe we actually stand on. Can we, in all honesty and with our heart open to God, say that we are so loving and open we can point fingers elsewhere and accuse others? I am a young queer Friend in New York Yearly Meeting and I do not see any Yearly Meeting Minute affirming our love and commitment to our GLBTQ Friends. I do see any Yearly Meeting Marriage Minute guaranteeing I will be able if I choose, to be married under any New York Yearly Meeting. As my brother, who is an agnostic liberal young Friend said to me, he (and I ) can think of no better message to other FUM meeting about our pain towards homophobic comments made then for New York Yearly Meeting to come out with an affirming Minute on our love for our GLBTQ Friends, made as a FUM meeting. We have work we need to do and we cannot do it from outside of FUM, we must labor with them and with each other on these issues.
I am at a crossroads, Friends. For over a year I have brought my need to continue this dialog with ourselves and with other FUM meetings to every meeting and gathering of Friends I have attended. Still I feel as if New York Yearly Meeting is moving toward a place where we will act out of pain and fear and leave FUM. I also feel as if none of us quite know what to do, on either side. We are stuck, hurt and divided, and I’m not sure were to go or what to do. I am part of a task group on our involvement with FUM but still that task group seems to be at loss about how best to serve New York Yearly Meeting in this. Friends I labor, with my own pain, with my own love, and I do not know what to do. Only that we must listen to God in this matter, and that seems to be the hardest course of all.