I got my first death threat from a complete stranger tonight. I suppose this is one for the scrapbook.
Oddly enough, the death threat was not from a bible-beating Christianist, as I expected when I first read the words of the threat. Rather, it was from a fellow gay man who accused me of associating with the wrong sorts of people–viz., people who hold a side B perspective on the issue of homosexuality, and people who are knowingly in mixed-orientation marriages. According to this individual’s reasoning, because I associate with these people and support their dignity, I am weak; I am betraying the legacy of Stonewall and contributing to the denigration of the LGBT population.
Do what now?
If it’s not already obvious, I’ll go through the rigmarole of once again publicly affirming my side A orientation and my full support of LGBT equality in both civic and ecclesiastical arenas. But at this point I’m tired of laying out my stance. I simply want to love and be loved–and this desire to love and be loved flows out of the core of my identity as one beloved, as one sealed as Christ’s own forever. Interesting that I am in the sole possession of a God-man who spent most of his time with “the wrong kind of people.”
I am baptized. I am under oath and seal to affirm the dignity of all humanity, even those with whom I disagree. And because of my baptismal identity and my participation in the eucharistic feast, I am obligated to embrace those who disagree with me. I am obligated to meet them at table and be fed by our brother Jesus. And I hope that, God willing, when I become a priest, I will offer them the same bread of hospitality and life-giving embrace that Jesus has offered me. I continued going to my conservative seminary even after coming out because this was a reality that we held to as more significant to our community than our varying opinions on human sexuality (and, believe you me, mine were way different than the better part of the student body). But I was embraced there, I was beloved, and not once was I ever treated as less-than because of my sexuality or my opinions regarding inclusion and equality.
One of the benefits of a high Eucharistic theology is the realization that, at each Eucharist, we join at table with all who have ever dined there throughout history, many of whom did not understand the dynamics of sexual orientation and had no basis by which to relate positively to God’s gay kids. Will we agree? No, we probably won’t. But–I come back to Wesley once again–if we cannot think alike, may we not at least love alike? In the economy of the Eucharistic Feast, all are equalized, all distinctions are leveled out–the mighty are put down, the lowly are lifted up, the hateful are given to loving, and the hated are given to belovedness.
And so I will speak for dignity–I will speak for the dignity of those who hold side A and those who hold side B, for the dignity of those who know what they believe and for the dignity of those who believe nothing, for the dignity of those who have been at home in the Church their entire lives and for that of those who have had their homes ripped away from them at the hands of the Church. I will speak for the movement of embrace. I will speak to end memories and to create a new reality for those who can remember nothing but division and exclusion. I will speak until my (presently non-existent) partner and all brothers and sisters and I can dine at our Brother Jesus’ table in peace with Phil Robertson and Gene Robinson, with Sarah Palin and Rachel Maddow. Because our God is the God who destroys the dividing wall of hostility, making out of the oppressors and the oppressed a new people whose name is Beloved. Because our God is a God who would rather die than see us continue to hurt each other.
Because our God is the god who says “no more!” with his last breath, and “I make all things new!” with his breath after that.