Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Shall I tell my pastor I'm gay?

My church has asked me to be on a search committee for another pastor. They have also asked me to be on the leadership team. I said I'd think about it.

The person who asked me to think about it knows I'm gay and is supportive. I asked her to find out what the churches position was on homosexuality. It was what I thought, they don't officially have one. In practice, if they know you are gay you can serve in the church, but you can't be in leadership. Yes, that does anger me. So basically I have to tell them I'm gay so they can limit my service. That's dumb. Odd that it all comes down to me telling them. I suppose it's an integrity issue. It would be easier to just say no to serving at all. It would be even easier to switch churches.

Just to log them here are some of the questions floating around in my brain... (some thanks to s.) Feel free to add your own questions to my list in the comments.
  • Do I want to serve in this church?
  • Do I want them to know I'm gay?
  • Is it an issue of integrity to tell them if I suspect their policy wouldn't allow me to serve/lead if they knew?
  • Do I want to change things in my church?
  • What is the best way to address this that could impact change?
  • Do I want to be "out" in my church? (I'm only out with about 10 people)
  • What are the ramifications of telling my pastor? eg. Will he go to the regional office to talk it out, get advice (I know the people who work for the regional office), will they in turn go to the people in the national office where I work?
  • What does it look like to live this part of my journey with integrity?
  • Where is God in this?
  • I don't want to argue about the bible on this. And that's probably what will happen. How am I going to handle that?


Strych said...

if they want you in the leadership group, they'll change their rules.

Maybe these rules were brought in before they really understood that us queer folk are just like them, the only difference is who we share our bed with.

Sometimes these straight folk take a little while to catch on

just me said...

strych - thanks for the comment. yep. One of the reasons I ponder being in leadership is because of how it would challenge them... :)

Zuzu said...

I think it would be very interesting to sit down with the people in leadership who want you to be on the search committee and who want you to be in leadership. I would ask them, "why do you want my involvement in these leadership roles?" I would allow them to tell me and I would ask questions, forcing them, to some degree, to elaborate on your strengths. And then, after they have articulated, verbally and in front of their peers, why they value you and your input so much, I would say this.

"I've heard and appreciate and value why you want my participation and leadership. I've asked questions and I feel in my heart that you are asking me to be part of this for all the right reasons - and that has to do with my service, to faith (mirror whatever they say.) You've convinced me and those are reasons that I can respect and embrace. So I will accept your request for my participation on the basis of your reason. And I'm glad that the fact that I am a lesbian has not clouded your ability to see my strengths, value or contributions to our community. I'm really proud of you." And leave it at that.

just me said...

zu - it would be interesting to see this happen. I could imagine it by your words I also can imagine how this would really go and it would involve me saying I'm leaving the church, at least that's what I imagine. It's so much easier to just not tell anyone.

Zuzu said...

Maybe the first step is imagining a dialog that doesn't end with you saying that you're leaving the church. Things can be difficult without being so "final." We can have really difficult conversations in the relationships we have without ending them. It's a healthy way for everyone to grow.

just me said...

I really like this line: "the first step is imagining a dialog that doesn't end with you saying that you're leaving the church." :) It's like a mini-reality check.