Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ---Mother Theresa
It seems that there were too many times when I gave up on life and didn't much care about the consequences of suicide. I rejected my calling as a minister. I disregarded what pain and suffering that my actions may inflict upon my family and students. I no longer cared and resigned myself to whatever lesser "Glory" or Hell where God would decide to place me.
My spiritual journey was once guided by sayings such as "God's gift to me is who I am. My gift to God is who I become." That's a great thought, however, it suggests a quid pro quo arrangement with the Divine that I reject. "My God" has given me a free will to determine the paths I walk upon in life.
Some Christian religions believe in a life that has been predetermined. What kind of life is that? What is the use of living a life that has been already been decided? What would be the point? Let me off at the next stop! I want to explore and learn the consequences of my decisions. Mind you, I don't exactly believe that God just did His creation thing and stepped back to watch the show. I believe in "inspiration" and modern day prophesy and guidance.
Long ago, my maternal grandmother confronted me about my decision to worship with folks of a faith that was not the one which had guided the lives of what then had been 5 generations of Restorationists. In her words, "You will only find salvation and enter into heaven if you join
The Church." Granny latter denied ever having told me that "belief". However, just seven years afterwards I decided to be baptized, confirmed, and become a 6th generation "Saint". (Maybe she had had a manic moment?)
I rejected the notion that only members of our church would go to heaven. Even at a young age, I did not believe in an unfair despotic God. What about all the good people that also follow the teachings of Christ? If God was so particular as to whom He would gift a place in Glory --- I wanted nothing to do with Him and a church that believed in such authoritarianism. We are not the "The One True Church" and no one has a monopoly on the Truth.
My spiritual journey includes a belief that God continues to reveal His Truths. I have and probably will always believe that our understanding of His Plan is limited by prejudices and scriptural beliefs that have lingered too long. I believe that there is more wisdom to be given and discerned. One example is the Divine Calling of women to be members of our priesthood.
There were outrageous responses to that "revelation" brought to us through the Prophet and President of the Church. New schisms of fundamentalist churches were created. Even in our little town of Port Huron a disaffected group of folks created a "Restored" Church. What a heck of a misnomer. They should have called themselves "The Stuck in the Mud Dinosauresque Disciples of Christ in the Latter Days".
I prayed for guidance and for my own confirmation in that newest Revelation. They prayed to God for His aid in deciding what to do about this heresy brought to the church by a "fallen prophet". I could not believe that those whom I trusted and from whom I had sought guidance would take such a stand.
Later, when I "officially" came out of the closet, many of those same folk spread the news quickly, condemned me, and condemned the men responsible for forwarding "my call" to another office in the priesthood to the "higher" church leader. The wanted me and the others defrocked. Go figure!
I must admit that today I am a "lapsed" member of the church. I have retained my membership and the authority of my priesthood office. My absence from the "Community" is mostly due to the unchanged official view that I should be defrocked if I "practice" my homosexuality. Practice? Folks, I don't need any more practice. I know what to do and there isn't much more for me to discover and perfect.
BTW -- God has blessed me with an abiding faith, a loving family, and a loving companion. Who in heaven's name should be granted the audacity and the authority to judge and condemn me? My God created me and loves me. I wouldn't ever pray again for this "burden" to be taken from my life.
God trusts me to live and be the man whom He created. And, I wouldn't have it any other way.