Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Lesbian & the Virgin Mary

Today I have a guest post over at Candice Czubernat's blog...

"Two years ago, I was co-pastoring a little church in inner-city Vancouver. That Advent season, my co-pastor was leading us in imaginative storytelling: we’d take turns choosing a person from the Christmas narrative and telling the story from that character’s viewpoint. I enjoyed listening to other people’s reflections, but whenever I tried to decide which character from the story I could best identify with, I lost focus.

My brain kept getting snagged on the fact that this would be my last closeted Christmas.

Let me back up a bit. Seven years earlier, I had moved to Vancouver to study theology at an evangelical grad school. Although I had hoped seminary would provide a pool of potential Christian husbands, I ended up slowly falling in love with my female roommate and classmate, Danice, who had introduced me to the ocean, good music, and good beer, and who had also fallen in love with me. This unexpected turn of events shed unavoidable light on our lifelong attraction to women, which, like good Evangelicals, we’d both semi-successfully repressed.

Eventually we completed our MDiv degrees and found jobs in two Baptist churches, all the while living together as mostly-closeted, celibate roommates. I spent my free time devouring every book I could get my hands on about homosexuality and faith. Discovering good hermeneutical points in both the affirming and non-affirming camps, I doubted whether I’d ever land conclusively on either side of the fence.

After seven years of this uncomfortable fence-sitting, a couple of things were becoming clear. Our ministry was suffering because we didn’t feel free to be authentically ourselves. Our relationship was suffering because we were in constant flux over how to ethically express our love. Despite our lack of theological certainty, it was time to make a decision.

As we waited and prayed about whether to pursue marriage, our sense of peace and confidence in God’s blessing was strengthened. We agreed to spend the following year coming out, culminating in an announcement to our congregations, with full knowledge that our intent to marry would mean the loss of these pastoral roles.

There I sat in our circle of plastic church chairs, quite distracted by this imminent and ominous “year of coming out,” surrounded by beautiful people who would sadly no longer be my congregants come next Christmas.

In that moment, I did not expect to be drawn to Mary.

Honestly, up until that point in my life, Mary had been very domesticated. Sure, she got some airtime around Christmas for the Magnificat and the whole “birth of Christ” thing, but most often Protestants kept Mary safely tucked away, lest our interest in her reach unhealthy (read: Catholic) levels. Plus, I was coming out as a lesbian, one without a noticeably ticking maternal clock, so it seemed even less likely that I’d be drawn to this consummate heterosexual wife and mother.

But the more I thought about Mary and her ro
le in the plot, the more I found links between our lives..."

Click here to go read the rest at Candice's page!

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