Trish Matthews

Got my book and read it this morning.  I have to say first that I was surprised that this was from a Baptist church and preacher.  I was initially ordained Southern Baptist as a woman and felt ostracized and judged quickly as not the right sex and so not able to be a pastor.  I settled on chaplaincy and have done that now for 33 years.  I have two friends who are lesbian, one who calls herself queer.  I had to look that up on google today to understand what it means.

Reflections from parts 1 and 2 – we recently had a Pride march here in Denton.  I am unable to go right now to most anything as a cancer patient with low counts, but I wondered if I would feel comfortable going if I could.  I have friends who are LGBTQ and I agree with basically everything printed in the book, but would still (embarrassingly) pause before doing a march.  I hate that about myself and wonder how to change my own fear.  I loved the reflections people had about participating in the parade, especially about seeing a church leading the way.  I am not Methodist, but the recent decisions made have hurt some of my friends.  One said she would never be able to attend a church again in a denomination that did not embrace her, but she has found grace and hope in that “open worship” service that has brought some healing.

I like the idea in part two that when we disenfranchise any group or person, we make God too small.  We become legalistic and short sighted and not living from a place of love.  I also appreciate that the author takes on the “high and mighty religious folk” who Jesus so often spoke against in favor of those who felt more like aliens and outcasts.  I have felt that as a woman minister, and I cannot begin to imagine what that feels like for our African American sisters and brothers and those who identify as LGBTQ.  And it is pointed out several times that Jesus never said one word about sexual orientation!  I agree that Christians feel like their faith is being attacked – the faith they were taught and grew up with.  What concerns me is that many more fundamentalist Christians never grow or take time to love and listen to others!  I love on page 39 that he says, “Jesus certainly has a way of challenging our sincerely held religious convictions with simple compassion, mercy, love and basic everyday kindness, doesn’t he?”

I also appreciated the authors confession of how he responded to a picture taken of him kissing another man on the cheek, worried he would “look gay.”  He realized how that felt to those he was standing with and took another step towards all people rather than away.  I also am intrigued by the conversation about Chick Fil A.  Never knew this or had heard about it, but did know it is a “Christian” organization.  Not sure right now how I feel about not giving a place my business, but I do understand the argument.

Guess that is enough for today.  This is making me think and rethink how I behave.  I tend to be more cautious as to not offend anyone, but perhaps that is not what is needed in this whole area of concern.  Thanks for your comments, Joy.  I agree with you about the importance of showing up.  I experienced that many times – most notably when my mom died and those who “showed up.”  Also during my current cancer treatment it is those who have “shown up” with food, cards, flowers, calls, visits, taking me to treatments – it really does matter!