if you know me, then you know that there are a few things that i truly love…
- i love my wife. so, so much. she is my everything.
- i love the united methodist church (umc), of which i have been a member my whole life. it’s in my blood. grace, love, hope, the important balance between social & private faith.
- i love my calling to be ordained in the umc. ok. truth be told, it’s been a long journey. so it’s a love/hate relationship.
- i love all things that support equality for all people.
- i love faith & spirituality that is based on relationships & acceptance, rather than rules.
- i love inclusion, rather than exclusion.
- i love daises.
- and i love rainbows.
right now, in the united states, there are a bunch of things happening that affect all these things i love. way over here in sweden, i’m a tiny bit addicted to my twitter feed, following the news coming out of north carolina and tampa, florida. what’s happening, some of you wonder? well, let me explain. one thing at a time.
1. in north carolina, the early voting has begin on Amendment One… a proposed change to the NC law in which the new law would say that “marriage is only between one man & one woman”, thus making it impossible for same-sex marriages to be legal or recognized in the state. plus, a whole crapload of other things. but, let me make this clear… the laws already forbid NC to recognize same-sex marriages, so it’s already impossible to be married to my wife there. in fact, right now, nc already considers me single. how sick is that?! this amendment is taking law that is already against equal rights & writing more discrimination INTO the nc law. seriously. in 2012. we are considering becoming MORE discriminatory in nc. makes me feel sick to my stomach. all this means that lina & i will continue to have no choice of where to live. sweden it is. because here we’re married and not discriminated against.
the only way we move forward (or actually just stay where we are, which is still unrecognized as a couple), is for everyone to VOTE NO, to vote AGAINST the amendment between now & may 8.
needless to say, i’m glued to the nc news right now. it’s so important to me.
2. in florida, the united methodist church (umc) has begun their general conference = the gigantic meeting of united methodists from all over the world that occurs only every 4 years. i have been a member of/worked in the umc my whole life. during the 10 day/2 week long meeting, many things are discussed, debated, and decided. 8 years ago i got to attend the conference in pittsburgh, pennsylvania. it was crazy, amazing – in wonderful & in horrible ways. people coming together & people arguing.
the most influential part of the conference was observing all of those who were fighting for equality within the church. to be honest, it overwhelmed me, in a scary way. it was so intense. these people cried. they just wanted to be seen, to be heard, to be able to live their lives just like everyone else, no matter who they loved. i was so touched. but, i couldn’t quite connect with them, i couldn’t understand their perspective. their feelings of discrimination and abandonment.
ha. funny how life goes, huh? now it’s eight years later, and i know exactly what they were feeling. back then i had no idea i’d fall in love with, much less marry, a woman and at the same time feel so confident in my sense of calling to be ordained. back then, i was married to a man, working in a church, studying to be a minister, but not sure if i wanted to be ordained or not. but, my journey these past 8 years has cleared up everything (though it has been a crazy, long, tough, amazing journey). i am amazingly happily married, to a woman; and i feel so strongly, so assured in my calling to be ordained in the umc. i know who i am.
but, there’s one problem though. according to the umc, i can’t be both happily married to a woman & an ordained pastor. the umc does not recognize who i am.
somehow, even though i was once married to a man, completed all of my seminary studies, was on track to be ordained (only a few months left), and worked in a church for 7 years, the minute that i spoke the words that i was now married to a woman, all of my gifts/talents disappeared, and my calling seemed to become irrelevant to the umc. all of the sudden, though i am exactly the same person, i was rendered unfit to be ordained. because of who i love. this decision is based on who i LOVE. the loving part is wrong, but how is loving someone wrong? and when i met lina, did all of my gifts/talents and qualifications which i had (and which were affirmed by others) just disappear? did they?!
i’m angry. i’m pissed. i’m hurt. i’m confused. and i now understand those masses of people from general conference 8 years ago… their pleas and cries to be heard, to be treated fairly. i have not changed. i am still me. i’m just in love. and in a healthy marriage. and, what, that makes me unfit to complete my ordination process according to some freaking paragraph in the UM Book of Disciple (rule book)?!
ok. breathe. i’m sorry for that. it’s just that this is who i am. and every time i truly think of it, i can’t help but well up with tears. i am called to be ordained, in a church that is flawed (just like all of us), but that i love anyway. i just want to be recognized by the umc for who i am. of course i can work outside of the umc (which i am doing now, sort of.), but i know my calling. i know my soul.
anyway, for the next 10ish days methodists from all over the world are gathering to worship, talk, discuss, plan, and decide things that will then become the way we run the umc for the next 4 years. of course, there will be discussions & arguments regarding equality – marriage for all people and ordination of all people. i am praying so hard that the umc votes to include, rather than exclude. i am hoping that there will be a change, that the umc will no longer refuse to ordain people because they love the “wrong people”.
so, i’m glued to blogs & my twitter feed to find out what’s being said & decided. in florida & in north carolina.
and i’m so emotional. big stuff is gonna be decided over the next 2 weeks. it could affect me greatly. but, more than just me, i am thinking about all people. in all situations, i believe that we should always seek to bring more equality, love, acceptance, respect, and justice into this world. we should not just keep the status quo, and we most definitely should not decide to discriminate even more. no matter what, though, i’ll never give up. change is gonna come.
can you, will you, please think thoughts of reconciliation, justice, and equality with me? thanks for reading & for listening, dear blog friends. it means so much to me.
peace, love, understanding, and rainbows.