Saturday, July 12, 2014

Episode 29: Homophobia, Jam, & Faithfulness

There's a part of me that's Mennonite. It's the part of me that fell in love with a Mennonite girl, that lives simply and is moved to tears by four-part harmony. It's the me committed to peace and potlucks, Jesus and homemade jelly.

Like most traditions, Mennonite Church (USA) has been talking a lot about homosexuality. The talk, for the most part, feels rhetorically violent, exclusive and unhelpful. I'll state the (very) painfully obvious: it hurts to be told you're not wanted.  My chest aches as I watch so many I love be alienated by the traditions that formed them--"issues" debated over their very bodies, scripture up for grabs at the cost of their families. Recently conversation has felt more difficult, more divisive, perhaps even hopeless at times.

In the wake of some particularly hard conversations around sexuality at the denominational level that unfolded the week before last, Sarah preached a sermon that brought me to tears as we worshiped with the good people of St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship (a congregation that welcomes all with great joy). You can read her sermon here. To see Sarah, this called and beloved woman of God, offering a sermon, clearly living out her call to congregational ministry in a tangible, prophetic way, it made me cry and it got me thinking...

What does faithfulness really look like? 

What do you do when your tradition labels you as "out of line" and counter scriptural? What happens when your body, your family and your life are deemed unfaithful by one of the traditions you love and claim?

What does faithfulness look like then? 

Faithfulness takes all shapes and forms but for me, it looks like filling up baskets with zucchini from our garden. It's knitting dishcloths and baking bread on Sunday mornings.

Faithfulness is strawberry jam, made with loving hands, waiting on your shelves in the basement to get you through the winter.  It's gathering with dear friends around a dining room table and singing a prayer before supper; it's choosing to love and give even when you're told you are not welcome.

Sarah and I won't be accepted by all the churches which bear the symbols of the denominations we love; our family will be judged unfaithful by some, but thank goodness it's not ultimately up to them.

Thank goodness our human efforts--our living, our loving, our seeking peace, and striving to follow Christ when we can--thank goodness they are enough.

1 comment:

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