A reader and buddy of Hacking Christianity sent in his reflections as an LGBTQ pastor in The United Methodist Church. Study on for a snapshot of his journey and a shared expertise that resonates a diverse way for him.
That Feeling in the Pit of your Stomach
Rev. Joey Heath-Mason
Have you ever met someone and when you identified out they have been a Christian you immediately hesitated, especially when that someone is a church leader or pastor? You get that lump in your throat or butterflies in your stomach. That feeling comes simply because you are questioning, do they know me? Do they know that portion of me? Will they truly see and think the depth of my faith?
As a pastor you may possibly be shocked to know this takes place to me, but it just does not happen sometimes, it takes place pretty much normally. You see, as a gay man I normally have this fear at these introductions. I recoil a tiny bit, and ask myself “can I be sincere right here?” “can I say husband?” “do I want to just attempt and pass in this moment?” “is this protected?” It is a really unsettling feeling when it takes place and even far more so when it continuously repeats itself more than and more than once more.
To be clear, I am not afraid of being judged, disagreed with, or even not liked. Rather:
- It is a worry of the hurt I really feel just about every time I am produced to really feel not welcome or much less than, the worry of alienation.
- It is a worry of the discomfort I have felt time and time once more. It is the appear on someone’s face, even without having words, that says “oh” and you can see the inner monologue that happens.
- It is the conversation that abruptly becomes awkward or uncomfortable or just reduce brief.
- It is painful simply because it is a reminder that I am not actually in the club. I am not actually a portion of the club and I have only gotten this far because folks have willingly or unknowingly let me by way of.
It is a reminder that no matter what takes place in my ministry, no matter how attractive my household is, no matter how considerably I strive toward perfection, I am noticed as “not living up to scriptural holiness.” I am noticed as 1 who does not actually think in Scripture. I am noticed as one who prefers to cater to the culture rather than the Savior. I am noticed as 1 who lacks the integrity to uphold my vows. It hurts simply because no matter what, I will under no circumstances be fantastic sufficient, even as none of us are fantastic sufficient, and but it feels like my not fantastic sufficient is somehow worse.
I recognize I am not the only 1 to really feel this way. I know that I am coming from a spot of privilege as a white man who has the choice to pass for straight. I know for girls, people of colour, these with disabilities, and even other folks from the LGBTQ neighborhood, racism, sexism, ableism, and all sorts of discrimination are not so easily avoided and are a portion of their real lived reality.
I also realize I have voluntarily committed my life to the church in complete know-how of the guidelines and regulations. I have recognized my whole adult life specifically exactly where the UMC is on the questions of LGBTQ people and our spot in the ministry and the celebration of our loves. I knew when I stood at the altar and stated “I do” that I was getting into into a holy covenant that may possibly 1 day be utilised against me. I know that there would be several much less concerns if I have been prepared to commit to being celibate and to leave my marriage behind. I know I could opt for to leave the church I have been a portion of my whole life and opt for a new church dwelling that is far more accepting of me. I know these items like I know that feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when I meet new persons.
And I also know that I really feel named to ministry in the UMC. Even with my theological difference on sexuality, the Wesleyan theology of our church just fits me suitable. The mixture of grace and call to holiness. The contact to transform my personal life and to transform the globe. The striving to finish injustice and oppression everywhere and to enjoy and care for these the globe sees as the least, the lost, and the lonely. It is the vision of hope that I have been learning to believe my whole lifetaught to me by this church. It is in this theological space that I feel most at dwelling, at least for now.
To be honest though, I am not confident how considerably longer I will really feel that way.
Rev. Joey Heath-Mason is cradle United Methodist, increasing up in southern Georgia. Soon after he hearing a calling to ministry he enrolled at Wesley Theological Seminary. Considering the fact that graduating Joey has served in a little rural church, a bigger suburban church, and now serves in campus ministry at American University. Joey is passionate about getting church that welcomes all and delivering space for all God’s kids to make partnership with God and 1 yet another. Joey lives in the DC metro region with his two dogs and husband of two and a half years.
Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing on social media.