This song, a Beatles classic, comes to mind tonight for two reasons. Firstly, I was listening to the Across the Universe soundtrack, and I quite enjoy this scene from the film. Secondly, because of a discussion I have with a friend tonight. Maybe I should get it tattooed to my body or something.
I was discussing frustration in my church with my friend. If anybody is reading this blog at all, then they would have have read my recent post on why I attend my church. Well, I should perhaps inform you that this reasoning is not particularly sustainable - though ideal, it doesn't last long. I was on the verge of collapsing today and asking my pastor for an exit interview. I may still do it.
I was having a conversation with somebody that I have been "out" to for about a year. I kind of forced myself out to him on the eve of Heath Ledger's death, in a kind of shock response to his death, and a ode to his incredible acting ability in Brokeback Mountain and pretty much everything else. He was locked in my car. For about 2 hours. Playing word games with me while I imagined methods of coming out to him.
If you've been reading, you'll know that I have moved onto e-mailing distant cousins and close friends. Perhaps a poor policy. I'm still in a state of no-response limbo. I hate this.
Anyways, on to the point.
I shared my frustrations with my friend, Joel, who listened. Recently my church's senior pastor has decided that young adults are not prepared to ask questions regarding the complete validity of the entirety of Christian scripture. My best friend from high school (the first to hear of my sexuality) is in the role of leading this group of young adults, and had his heart destroyed when this took place.
I was thoroughly unhappy with the result, or the process. This pastor is horrible at resolving conflict, and making people uncomfortable, and providing people with opportunities to be challenged. And this is the church in which I must find solace once I go through the process of "coming out" publicly.
Which I think I am nearing. Joel could turn me into a revolutionary.
I attend a Mennonite Brethren church - which is Christian talk for conservative central. We aren't particularly well known for changing our ways, or our thoughts and approaches to social concerns. We are known for helping those in need around the world, but keeping to ourselves locally.
And just to avoid the questions - I drink alcohol. Regularly. I dance. Regularly.
I don't take a horse-drawn cart to church. Ever.
I think I am normal.
My friend Joel is telling me that my church needs to change - that there is no way that the old-school way of viewing Christianity will survive another 50 years because there are very few youth that are interested in carrying the torch anymore. We have been inspired and infected by social liberation theology.
Me being gay could make this obvious. It is a decisive matter. The church would be separated on it - they would confront the disunity and have to respond. The young and the old would disagree.
But I hate that part of revolution - where people don't agree or get along.
But people shouldn't get along while others are oppressed. Ignorance is bliss, but unacceptable.
So do I start a revolution? It is damn tempting.
But it isn't quite so simple, just as it never is. And if a book is ever written about the gay Mennonite that changed the world, I don't want it to present it as simple.
I help out with youth ministry. Children.
And I am gay.
Special questions arise. None of them are valid questions, but they arise. Have I touched little boys? Have I convinced other boys that they are gay? Have I turned others gay? Maybe these are questions that need to be confronted so that we can become aware of how barbaric our image of gay culture is.
But do I have to be the person who is hurt throughout the process?
“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Mk 14:36)