Sunday, May 15, 2005

the hidden church: working for justice without petitions

Went to a GBLT+Q and Pals Community lunch today at my church and ate sushi and talked over what the groups should be within the church. They talked about supporting the pastoral care team, doing a service on Gay issues, sponsoring an adult RE class and figuring out ways to identify themselves as to better be there for people with questions.

They were even extremely receptive to my concern that I'd watched several churches recruit gay people only to have those gay people find out that, though they felt plenty accepted, they didn't jibe theologically with the church.

Right now Maryland (where my church is located) has a gay marriage bill in front of the Governor, so I kept expecting the inevitable long-winded political discussion.

It never came.

Finally somebody said "Should we be doing something about activism?"

Answers ranged from "I'm already in four activist groups," to "Maryland has a great group called Equality Maryland. I think we should be members, but I don't know what we could do as a group to supplement what they're doing already" to "If people want activism they can find it, Let's look at what we can do within the church."

Hey, if Equality Maryland does a march and needs people to hand out cups of water, our folks will know and can ask the group listserv. But that these people were cognizant that one more petition wasn't going to do a damn bit of good, but reaching out to individuals might, made me so proud too be a UU.

These people wanted to help on a small scale and didn't flatter themselves with the notion that they were saving the world. But they knew there were confused old ladies with gay sons who had just come out, gay people looking for support and likely questioning teens within the congregation.

I thought of a church reading we'd had recently, the last paragraph of George Eliot's Middlemarch:

Her finely touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were
not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus
broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great
name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around
her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world
is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so
ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the
number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

I heart my church.

They get it.


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