Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stop The Pain

A Call to the SGL Community to Stop the Pain
by Bishop Yvette Flunder

I read with sadness the dialogue with an alleged former lover of Rev. Donnie McClurklin who claims he and Rev. McClurklin were actively intimately involved while Donnie was very verbal regarding his negative views about homosexuality. I remembered the pangs of the double church life. I also once thought it was necessary. I hurt so for him because I have been there. I have been angry with him for some of the places he has allowed himself to be manipulated into and for some of the things he has said and written. I have read with disgust Donnie’s remarks about waging war against the gay community, but I really know that this duplicitous rhetoric is because of the war that is raging inside of him. Sometimes we just try to fake it till we make it. And then there are the harder questions that plague him and many of my beloved colleagues in ministry… How do you succeed as a gospel music artist, a Pastor and a gay man? How can the choice be made to have the integrity to stand in your orientation reality when it will mean losing everything, especially when your principle income is not just based on your gifts but on the believability of your testimony of deliverance from being gay? What a huge dilemma.

My challenge today is not to the churches and religious institutions that have rejected SGL folks or that have forced us to positions of invisibility or don’t ask don’t tell. Why can’t SGL folks and our allies build mega churches, mega organizations, and mega faith based enterprises? We are building them for our abusers! Why is so much of our talent, money and skill under girding and supporting institutions that are blatantly undermining our freedoms and attacking our personhood? Imagine what we could accomplish if we would bring those skills together to build something that is devoid of shame and supports the inalienable rights of all people. Why contribute to our own debasement and marginalization? Why won’t we support those who support us? It seems many of us would rather leave church than support affirming church. Is it fear? Is it greed? Is it internalized hatred, self-loathing, or internalized homophobia? Sure, aligning with an affirming ministry or faith-based community may bear a cost. There may be some loss of prestige and even funds for a period, but isn’t it time we pay the price for our own freedom the same way so many of our forefathers and foremothers did? Sister and Brothers, think of the continued price we pay in the loss of our self-esteem, integrity and the inevitable exposure.

Donnie could have just as big a church in New York with a membership made up of SGL folks, allies, and people whose theology has evolved to the point that they do not need to hold to a narrow exclusionary Godview that limits the table of God to only a few. What stands in the way of our supporting our own? Is it the need for big church pageantry? Anonymity?

This is a call to stop the pain. I challenge SGL people of faith to support the churches and organizations that affirm us, and wait for the growth that our talents and abilities are certain to bring. We know the game and we are killing ourselves with it. Enough is enough. I pray that we will take seriously the prophetic call and challenge to not only seek to be liberated but to seek to liberate.

Pax Christi! (Peace in Christ)
Bishop Yvette Flunder

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