I'm a human being trying to live with other human beings. I'm also a United Church of Canada Minister,a husband, a father, a musician; I'm a wine,food,soccer guy... and my mind wanders. It wanders a lot. This blog is a record of some of the places that my mind takes me.. sometimes by force, other times I can't wait for the trip.
Saturday, 28 June 2014
Filled with Pride - but keeping my mouth shut (almost)
I do this with great trepidation.
What have I to say about World Pride?
I have a great many friends who are included, engage and active in the LGBTTTQQ2SA * community - I belong there as well, but I belong from a place of comfortable privilege. Sometimes the best thing that one can do from a position of privilege is to "shut up". Not that one doesn't have insight or opinion; not that privilege has blinded one to reality, but speaking from a place of privilege can simply clutter the air and suppress the voices that need to be heard.
So, perhaps I should say nothing.
I have never had my life; my very self, questioned, oppressed or excluded. When hurtful words have been hurled at me, I have had the option and privilege of yelling back, "Am Not!" without feeling a stab of betrayal; a death of self. I have no idea what it is like to be marginalized in the ways that my brothers and sisters have, as we grew up together yet apart.
So, maybe I should just shut up and let others speak.
If you're listening to me, you might be missing the man or woman who wants to dance and celebrate who he/she is, maybe for the first time publicly... or hold the hand of another without fear... or quietly know that there is nothing "wrong" with being who you are...
You might miss the expressions of love that are so profound that they leave you speechless... and not just romantic love, but love of life and being part of the glory of Creation... expressions that may not have occurred to you as you live your life authentically. Look around and see the love - don't waste time listening to m, instead hear the stories of struggle, hope, triumph now and triumph yet to come... be engaged with all of humanity, especially those who have come to bring life and light to our city with the gift of World Pride.
Don't listen to me.
Instead, hounor the journey that our whole community has shared since the Gay Day Picnic at Hanlon's Point in 1971 - a journey of Human Rights that step by step has affirmed ALL People's rights to emigration and immigration (homosexual immigration was illegal in Canada until 1978); equal protection and equal benefit of the law (sexual orientation was not included in the Charter of Rights until 1986); freedom "within" religion (the United Church of Canada first allowed the Ordination of openly gay and lesbian ministers in 1986... many other Denominations and Faiths are still challenged); the right to serve in the military (1992); the right to marry the person that you love (Ontario, 2003; Canada, 2005), the simple right to be respected and protected as you are (Charter of Rights amended 1996). Realize that each of these steps has come as a result of great effort, love and sacrifice by many people - some know, most anonymous... honour the journey and mabye become part of the next step... 'cause we ain't done.
If you're readying my blog or listening to me, you might miss out on the stories of celebration that come from this wide and diverse community. The insights, wisdom, public policy, art, philosophy, music, humour, writing, intellect and love... that have been anything but self-serving but rather a gift to the whole world.
For too long, people of privilege have recognized and then co-opted the voices of the marginalized - patting ourselves on the back for raising awareness, and completely unaware that we are pushing the marginalized away from the microphones, out of the spot lights and into the shadows. Seriously, why would you want to hear me talk about Susan Gapka, Brent Hawkes, Kamal Al-Solaylee, Gary Paterson or a million others, when you can hear them for yourself? They don't need need me to speak for them, they need me to shut up so that they can tell the stories; share the wisdom, insight and love authentically without notes.
So... why am I writing this blog?
Because i was asked to... challenged, actually.
(I am such a sucker for peer pressure... it's a wonder that I didn't smoke two packs of cigarettes a day and jump of bridges constantly when I was 10 - I guess that no one double-dared me)
I am pretty sure that my challenger will find this blog lacking... but I will count on his grace and forgiveness.
Why am I blogging?
Because of the Kingdom of God.
Because of the interconnectedness of all Creation.
I know that Creation sounds very anti-science. It's not. However we have come to be, referring to "Creation" is a recognition that we are all connected; that we are continuing to evolve together into a more beautiful complex reality. We are often evolving in spite of ourselves, kicking and screaming the whole way, but we are also often evolving joyously moving with and to the rhythm of all that surrounds us.... kind of like a great parade.
The Kingdom of God sounds very patriarchal; after all it is run by a King. It sounds very Imperial and has been used as an excuse to topple one empire so that another could take its place, all in the name of God. I believe that Jesus had something better in mind when he told us that the the Kingdom was a hand. The Kingdom of God is present when we recognize each other lovingly, graciously and compassionately as brothers and sisters: One family. The image was provided as a rebuke or alternative to the Kingdoms that fed only the rich and protected only the powerful, edifying class and privilege as the status quo. Jesus was inviting us to dream bigger and live beyond what the government of the day was offering: A time when we are lovingly one.
So, with respect and a sense of responsibility to Creation and the Kingdom of God, I speak out on the occasion of World Pride 2014, not to hog the mic... but to add my voice in harmony to the songs being sung. I speak up so that I am NOT withdrawing from the beauty and love that is being revealed all around me at World Pride, but participating. I speak up in thanksgiving for our ever-evolving diversity (Creation continues, yeah!!), believing that it is always best to start with love and let the understanding grow from there.
I speak up simply to say "I love you, too" to whomsoever may be listening.
Deep down, I think that all human beings simply want to "belong" - to community, to family, to God, to Creation... by speaking, I am saying that "you" belong and "we" belong together: One amazing family.
But enough from me... listen to my brothers and sisters. I am proud of them all.
*LGBTTQQ2SA is an abbreviation used to represent a broad array of identities such as, but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited, and allies. It should also be noted that this year's Pride Parade will include Asexuals as well.