7 April, Wonderfully Made

Last evening I watched the film “Wonderfully Made” about the way organized religion, especially the Roman Catholic Church, has treated our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers. This is a brief synopsis of the film taken from their web page —  https://www.lgbtqreligion.com/. “Wonderfully Made — LGBTQ+R(eligion)” is a combined fine art project and feature-length documentary that together strike at the root of anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes by exploring the challenges and aspirations of LGBTQ+ Catholics. The message, however, applies to any religious tradition that does not fully embrace our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.” There is a fuller description at the web page link above.

In all honesty I felt angry and sad, with a lot of tears. While I knew there were rough spots in how the Roman Catholic Church has treated my LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers, I was not at all ready for what the film showed. To watch people who claimed to be Christian showing such venomous hate towards God’s creation came as a shock. To me this is what happens when the Gospel of Jesus Christ is turned into an ideology that must be defended at all costs by whatever means, and cannot be changed or deviated from in any way ever. This is the sort of thing Pope Francis is dealing with now, and is still raising its ugly head in a number of dioceses throughout our country and the world. While on active duty I recall senior member of church management publicly referring soldiers I had served with and was at the time serving with as intrinsically disordered. All I knew about them, and really the only thing that mattered, was were they fulfilling their part of the mission, and could they be depended upon to do what had to be done. And, they were and are created in God’s image.

Fortunately there have been, and still are, outstanding pastors and lay people who have stood up publicly in service to our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, regardless, or even in spite of, what the church said. A very good example is Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, who died this past week. He publicly supported the LGBTQ+ community when the church did not, and he paid the price. A good bit of the supporting ministry has to be done below the radar. This is what is going on today, in many cases pretty much in secret. Maybe these days this is how we have to live the Gospel. It is still sort of dangerous to be involved in this ministry, both from a political and a church perspective. No wonder people are just walking away. Fortunately there is a good bit gospel ministry happening today without any reference to organized religion, and often in spite of the wishes of organized religion. The film shows the lengths to which the system goes to protect itself and its privileges. Jesus faced the same sort of opposition in his day, and he, too, paid the price

Again, the usual question: Abba, are you saying something to me in this? I’m very glad I have my Army experience. As I write this I’m looking at a Cold War Berlin sign over the door in my apartment that says in Russian, French, German, and English, “You are leaving the American Sector”. I remember going beyond that sign to do ministry. I also remember leaving a (relatively) safe Vietnam encampment and going out on missions. So, I wander and wonder. I know what I don’t want to be a part of. I just don’t know what you want me to do.

Along the lines of Mychal’s Prayer, — Lord, take me where you want me to go, let me meet who you want me to meet, say what you want me to say, do what you want me to do,  keep me out of your way, and if I move in a direction that is not of you, please stop me.