Monday, October 19, 2009

Bring On the Wonder:

I can’t see the stars anymore living here/let’s go to the hills where the outlines are clear/. . .bring on the wonder, we got it all wrong/we pushed you down in our souls for far too long -Susan Enan

The question of FUM’s hiring policy is something that has weighed on my heart for years. Yesterday I had a chance to read a Minute regarding one monthly Meetings reaction to that hiring policy. I found it deeply troubling.

For so many years I have watched Friends struggle with this policy. I have watched it tare apart more liberal duel-affiliated Yearly Meetings. I have watched it pit Friends against each other: programmed Friends verse, unprogramed Friends, more liberal Friends against more theologically conservative Friends, Friends in the Spirit of Christ against non-Christian Friends, queer Friends against straight Friends. Every time this happens it breaks my heart. It has also put me in a very painful position because I am a more theologically conservative Friend in the Spirit of Christ. It hurts because although I was raised liberal unprogramed I have happily attended programmed and semi-programmed Meetings and found great spiritual power there, also because I am queer. So often when this topic is brought up it is like I am being forced to choose. I understand and sympathize with the anger of liberal Friends but when they throw accusations or wonder how anyone would want to associate with ‘them’ meaning FUM or more conservative Friends it hurts me deeply.

For these reasons I have never advocated setting ourselves, as more liberal Friends, apart from FUM, however I have always advocated taking the hiring policy very seriously and not just sweeping it under the rug. As I have prayed, written, spoken and read about this topic, I have found that I have become more and more uncomfortable with Minutes that come out against the hiring policy. I have come to believe that no matter how carefully worded or how long they have been prayed about they always come out of a place of anger, a place where ‘we’ set ourselves apart from ‘them.’ However I have been unclear in my own heart about what would be a better option. After reading this latest Minute I prayed again on this subject, and finally received a small amount clarity.

So lets not Minute our rejection of and opposition to the FUM hiring policy. Lets instead Minute our love and acceptance of the GLBTQ community. Let us Minute our willingness to help queer couples form marriage bonds. Let’s start discussing - seriously discussing – sexual morality and ethics, and what makes a healthy, loving, respectful relationship according to the values of Friends.

Lets stop asking what is the social justice way to approach this and start asking what is the Godly way to approach this. Let us build something new, instead of simply pushing away what we don’t like.

Let’s stop saying “I reject what you believe and think that it is wrong” and instead say, “this is what I believe and this is why I believe it.”

It’s going to be hard, but I think we all will be better for it.

6 comments:

Marshall Massey (Iowa YM [C]) said...

I think you’re on the right track here, Anna. A concrete, real-world alternative, visibly grounded in a Christian sensitivity to right and wrong, can be a very effective antidote to intolerance.

Thanks for posting this!

Stephen Higa said...

"Lets stop asking what is the social justice way to approach this and start asking what is the Godly way to approach this." This is a wonderful, clear, vibrant voice of truth. You've reminded me that the "social justice way" of responding to things we don't like is so often based on the battle-tactics of the secular world. Thank you for sharing the clarity you've received; I think this reminder will help us in all our struggles to create the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.

blessings,
stephen

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