Saturday, June 18, 2011

First things first...

This feels like starting over.

In truth, it's more like a new chapter in an old story....

I started blogging in 2004, after my quest to become an ordained Lutheran minister imploded (for financial reasons, not for any question of orientation). At the time, I had plenty of reasons for being anonymous - and so I actually ended up with two anonymous blogs.

One dealt largely with the recovery of faith and the maintenance of sobriety in a post-seminary, post-church life; the other dealt with the increasing awareness that since the Church Universal didn't want much to do with me, there was no longer any reason to hide my sexual orientation in church closets. (I'm hardly objective in my judgment here, but I truly think there were a number of good pieces scattered among the flotsam and jetsam; some of it may get cross-posted here.)

It is now seven years later. I am a vastly different person than I was, in many ways. I care about some things much, much more than I ever did; and some things I used to think were absolutely central to life and faith now are, well, not so much so.

Back in the wild and crazy 1960's, there were advertisements for a brand of cigarette in the US called Tareytons. The ads featured characters with a blackened eye, supposedly from being hit in the eye by a fist, and their slogan was "Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch."  The images smacked of loyalty and die-hard resistance to change. The "Unswitchables" and "I'd rather fight than switch" became advertising icons of the period.

It seems that, late in life, I've become the Anti-Tareyton Man - because in many things, I'd much rather switch than fight, these days. For instance: if your church believes that "homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching," as much of the United Methodist Church does, good for you. I'm not going to fight you, or join your church with the intention to change it from the inside, or any of that variety of nonsense. The phrase "leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them" comes to mind. I read that piece of Good News somewhere and it sounded like sensible thinking at the time. (It still does.)

The same goes for those who believe the words "journalism at Fox News" is a valid concept (and not simply an oxymoron). Ditto those who still believe in "trickle-down economics," or those who believe that Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh really are telling the truth. If you're there, I am almost certain that there is nothing I'm gonna say that's gonna change your mind. (You can tune me out and go someplace that won't annoy you now.)

I am also a product of the 60's, where speaking-up and speaking-out was enshrined as a virtue and a commandment by people like Pete Seeger, Peter Paul & Mary, and a whole lot of protest literature and music. And my experience is that if I try to internalize all of the evil I see and just ignore it, I find myself tied in knots with lots of unpleasant thoughts whirling in my head. That's never a good thing.

So this will be an experiment - writings about life, faith, and sometimes even politics (eeek!). I cannot predict what will come out of this, but I find it particularly appropriate to end this first post with the same prayer that each of my previous blogs began with:

Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.   
(Lutheran Book of Worship, page 137)

Amen, indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment