Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Come out, come out, whatever you are

Today is National Coming Out Day.

It's a day to celebrate the gift of the fullness of our humanity which includes the gift of human sexuality and sexual orientation.

It's a bold move. A courageous move in our culture which is still struggling with the remnants of our Puritan roots and the conflicted propriety of the Victorian era.

And then, there's scripture, which is sometimes used as the "ultimate weapon" of cultural control.

Of course, no one follows any of the other "cultural norms" found in scripture. Polygamy is no longer allowed. Neither is stoning your wife or daughter for disobedience. I don't know too many people who abstain from heterosexual intercourse during menstruation, nor do heterosexual women have a ritual bath after menstruation and before resuming sexual relations with their husbands.

I could go on and on about dietary laws and materials used for clothing but, thanks to Dr. Laura, we're all pretty educated about those parts of Levitical Law - which even most but the ultra-orthodox of Jews do not observe.

the Rev'd Ed Bacon
In January of 2009, Ed Bacon, a dear friend and the rector of All Saints', Pasadena, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. A young, gay man called in and told Ed that all his life he had been told that being gay was bad.... that it was a sin.

And, Ed responded with seven words that absolutely rocked Oprah off her chair, lit up Oprah's switchboard, and almost crashed All Saint's email server.

He said, and, I'm delighted to repeat:
"Being gay is a gift from God."
Now, I've known Ed Bacon for more years than either of us would care to admit. We have been in difficult situations together when neither of us knew what to say. We have been in joyful situations when words simply could not hold the emotion of the moment. And, we have been called to testify difficult words of truth to powerful people in the church and in the world.

My favorite moment with Ed Bacon was when we were in Seattle, WA, attending the first gathering of something that was to be known as "The New Commandment Task Force". It was a movement to bring reconciliation to the various, divisive forces at work in The Episcopal Church, trying to avoid the apparently unavoidable schism that now is our present, sad reality.

We were in the car - five of us - at the end of a long and difficult day. We were dropping Ed off at the hotel where he was staying. Tensions were running high about what was to happen the next day, but we were confident of our position. Ed opened the door, started to get out of the car, and then stopped.

He turned around and looked at us all and said, "I love everybody in this car!" And then, he left.

Now, I haven't talked about this with Ed, but I am pretty sure that he did not plan to say those seven words on the Oprah Winfrey Show. I'm pretty sure he was so moved by the sound of that man's voice and the sadness and pain he heard in it, that he just simply said what was in his heart from a place of truth at the core of his being.
"Being gay is a gift from God."
Ed can say that because all love is from God. Everything we are, everything we are not, everything we have - our hearts and minds and souls and bodies, our intellect and emotions, our gender and our gender orientation, our sexuality and our sexual orientation: gay, bi, lesbian, straight, queer, curious - is a gift from God.

Coming Out Day is about being who you are, no matter who you are or who you think you are. It's about truth and honesty - not lies and secrets.

It's not about 'flaunting' anything - especially a so-called "lifestyle". It's about accepting who you are and living faithfully and honestly, with authenticity and integrity.

Coming Out Day is about accepting all the gifts God has to give - including your sexuality and sexual orientation - and celebrating them.

If nothing else, celebrate today the timeless Truth that God is love and nothing - no thing, no person, no church, no temple, no institution, no government, no power, no how, no where - can separate you from the love of God.

So, celebrate all of who you are - no matter who or what you are.

Come out, come out, whatever you are.


SCG said...

Happy Being Who You Are Day! You mention the "L Word": Lifestyle. When people talk to me about my "lifestyle choice," I remind them that a decision to wear jeans or khakis is a "lifestyle choice." Being gay is simply my life lived authentically. And Rev. Ed Bacon's statement rocks!!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The 'lifestyle' thing is about as annoying as the question I get when I wear my clergy collar, "Are you a nun?" Second only to, "What shall we call you?" Grrrr.

Ed Bacon totally rocks.