Monday, November 13, 2006

The UCC is the place to be.

(I'm a few days behind due to a major recital today. Friday and Saturday were filled with ensemble rehearsals and I just didn't have the energy to document things. Rather than writing one huge blog entry, I'll break things up a bit. Here we go!)

I'll admit that reading that first negative letter had me down. I knew I was going to require some tough skin, but still... that first shot stung. It was so hard to read false accusations and not defend myself. That pain, combined with the tension of the elections earlier in the week, made it extremely difficult to focus on practicing for my concert today. I had hoped for a week of 6-hour practice sessions, but I was lucky to get in 45 minutes of solid work at a time.

Hope came by way of a friend from Paris, now living in London. He forwarded the link to a mutual friend in Chicago, who is an associate minister at a UCC church there. His e-mail to me was insightful and uplifting. It gave me the boost of confidence I needed to play my best. Here it is:

*****

I wanted to let you know that you've got my prayer support behind you. I wish I had some words of wisdom to give you that would make this turn out - but you already know to be gracious, love your enemies and bless those who persecute you. Unfortunately, doing the right thing can make you end up hung on a cross. But, God will, in some way, work this for good, and already has in the hearts of several of your parishioners, it seems. As for the others, you have exposed the hatred and lack of love they carry in their hearts. That truthfulness is also a good thing. I pray for their transformation as well.

Thoughts: None of those reasons for an inquisition they've given are Christian reasons. Since when was Jesus concerned about protecting his public image more than doing the right thing by people? Never. It shows how screwed up the church is in relation to priorities. Their laundry list is Corporate America, not the church. Also, I'm saddened by what sounds like a real lack of support from the pastor of the church for you. He or she sounds pretty wishy-washy when it comes to sticking by your side. I'm sorry for that. This could be a real teaching and growing moment for this congregation around homosexuality and the meaning of the Methodist church's slogan, "Open Hearts, Open Doors". (?!)

Anyway, if I can be of any support to you, let me know. In the meantime,

"Be of good courage. Hold fast to that which is good. Return to no one evil for evil."

*****

Minor - yet relevant - correction: the slogan is actually, "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors." I correct that just to show how open the Methodist church claims to be.

In conversation with my friend, he emphasized the word "truth." I sent out a letter that had nothing but the truth, in which I described my experiences and gave some examples of others who have struggled. The truthfulness of it all probably is why some of the reactions are so extremely angry and negative - there is nothing to argue in it. You can't dismiss the content of the letter because you disagree with it. If you live with a narrow mindset in which homosexuality plays no role, this would be really offensive because it would shatter that reality. Perhaps there is a way of explaining this that would be clearer and more profound, but after a full day, it's the best I can do.

His comments about the lack of Christian concern in the attacks are right on. They really put much of this in perspective, and it makes reading some of the other letters all the more interesting.

-Brett

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