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.
As far as I’m concerned- there are no “wrong people”- only ignorant ones. like these. When you’re speaking of the sorts who propose these kinds of amendments, you’re looking at some incredibly repressed individuals with a very tenuous grip on their own sexuality.
I mean, where else could all of the fear & hatred come from if not that their own experience is one where they feel their sexuality is so mutable that a mere exposure to a gay person can “turn them gay”? Not saying everyone is gay & closeted- but definitely not 100% str8- & that’s where it all stems from. The religious mumbo-jumbo is merely a smoke-screen designed to cover their repression issues. Imho, anyway.
Stay positive, Liz. Things are changing every, single day. Eventually, this will be behind us, just as multi-racial marriage is now accepted. Keep the faith! 🙂
Thanks, Tracy, for your comment and for giving me some pep! I agree, and I believe that people are simply afraid of what they do not know, understand. I will most definitely focus on the positive and keep believing that change is gonna come. It just takes some some, as it has throughout history. Thanks, again for commenting. It means a lot! 🙂
Definitely keep the faith. I am inspired by this blog – it helps me remember that there are “liberal” Christians such as myself who are out there in the world.
thanks for reading! i’m so honored that you find inspiration here. oh yeah, we’re out there… we just need to keep letting our voices be heard. 🙂
Such powerful words. All this makes me angry and sad. I’m with you in thought and prayer. I’m fighting your cause whenever it comes up in conversation with friends and family. I believe in equality and I do hope we move forward in the coming 2 weeks and not backwards. Keep strong you will be heard!!! Big hug xx
your support is so appreciated, my friend! big hug back!
Liz, I don’t know how much you’re following the actual GC website, but they are streaming quite a few events from it online. At this very moment, there’s a “holy conversation” going on where the delegates are discussing human sexuality in a way that is intended to be fully respectful. (We haven’t gotten around to the debates on petitions yet.) There’s been a TON of effort by the planners of the conference to make this year’s conference respectful and inclusive, and so far it seems fairly promising. Fingers crossed!
As to everything you’ve written… I agree!! I hope and pray that things will change in these next 10 days and that more United Methodists will learn to be more inclusive. We’ve got so much to be proud of in our UM heritage, if only we could keep moving forward!
thanks for the update, Carissa! if you hear/experience anything earth-shattering, will you be sure to let me know?! i have been trying to watch a few of the live streams, but the times are so weird. hehe. i did see opening worship, though. i’m checking back every now & then. and of course, keeping up with tweets & such! 🙂
Wasn’t opening worship amazing?? I loved it! The worship team this year is so good! And last night’s worship was ALL about inclusion! We sang “For Everyone Born” (I got choked up) and “The Jesus in Me Loves the Jesus in You.” And Bishop James King’s sermon was all about how “all means all” and we need to invite ALL people to come into our churches.
I am with you in your concerns and prayers for the direction of the UMC at GC! I have seen some preconference “promos” and hope that others have as well and been helped to see things from a more open perspective.
You already know I feel very strongly about all the issues above and of course I agree with you. I share your anger at the short-sighted people who prefer to follow “rules” instead of listening to people and their hearts. I find it disgusting how much the gay community is under attack by the same people who preach love, peace and equality. Apparently everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.
The thing is Liz, you are living true to who you are and you are following your dreams (Live), you are loving with everything you have (Love) and you are being open and honest showing enormous respect and support (Be). You are authentic and real, more real than the puppets who are trying to justify their existence in the shallow confines of men-created rules that serve the patriarchal stereotypes and are designed to lower women. In my eyes, that will never change, no matter what the various muppets decide and declare. In the history of mankind many tried to enforce arbitrary rules and force others to abide by them, but real progress and real change always started and finished with the real people like you, who are not afraid to say what they believe loudly and they are brave enough to follow their dreams no matter what the others say. If they don’t like you then it’s their loss.
Sorry for replying so late to this post, I am a week behind.