I was at the Tallahassee Equality Action Ministry or TEAM meeting at Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church. The member congregations, 29 in all, were gathering to caucus and vote on the social justice agenda we want to pursue with our elected leaders. We were called to overcome our fears, trust in our faith that we can make a difference, and triumph over obstacles to get things done.
When we reached the end of the night, I heard the extraordinary statement. A straight, married, white male priest told us, "I am sick of living in the desert!"
What this meant, for him, was living in a world where there is so much injustice, brokenness, and lack of political will to do anything. For me, it is those things... and so much, much more. I mean, if a straight, married, white guy can say he's "sick and tired of being sick and tired", how much more so can I, an Episcopal white lesbian in Florida?
Living in a desert is one image for how I have been feeling this past week. I realized that the vote taken in Maine was a sign that there is no region of this country that is totally safe for LGBT people.
And the more I thought about that, the more my mind moved from the to-be-expected depression to a quiet place of considering Christ. It's at times such as this that I wish my queer brothers and sisters would take a moment to consider the meaning of Jesus Christ's life, death and resurrection rather than accepting what somebody else has told them... which is usually the lie that Jesus doesn't love them, or the insidious "Love the sinner, hate the sin" which is just a soft-peddling of the usual anti-gay message.
The reason I identify as Christian goes beyond my baptism and confirmation. I am a Christian because what I see in Jesus Christ is a divine man who knows exactly what it means to be a lesbian.
Consider this: when Jesus says, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head," he says to me, "I know that loneliness of being an "other" in your own country." He is saying "I know your journey is tough because I have endured that journey, too." Jesus is relentless in his message of love, and, if you study Luke's gospel, you find a Jesus who extends his reach to all kinds of "others" from Good Samaritans to prodigal sons. Turning to the gospel, and punctuating the reading with the psalms, my desert place can become a little less arid. How long must I wander before I reach the land of milk and honey?