Doing worthwhile things in our lives often require taking some kind of risk. When emotions run high, when anxiety is swirling around, it can be definitely difficult to assess what IS risky versus what feels risky.
This week, I sat in the second meeting of a Modesto area clergy meeting, a group convened after the election to build relationships in the face of a country and county that seem so polarized. A group of between 15-20, we broke out into small groups because it was clear after our first meeting that we just needed to spend time getting to know one another. So I sat in a small group, with a liberal Catholic leader with whom I know reasonably well and with a Pentecostal minister who I did not know at all. He was a tall, big, bald White guy–someone who I easily make all kinds of assumptions about. And of course the first thing we start talking about is our families. I quickly mentioned that I was married and briefly referred to a “spouse” and then moved on. But the emotional energy was awkward because I was holding something back. We continued talking, I learned that the Pentecostal minister had been journeying with his congregation as they transitioned from predominantly White to a much more diverse and multicultural congregation. And as we talked, I decided that though I felt nervous, that perhaps my coming out would threaten or politicize this gathering, I decided to do it. I said “Can I be really honest with you? I have something to share that I don’t know how you will respond to and I’m nervous that it could threaten this chance we have to build relationship. But it’s something really important and basic to me and who I am: I have a wife.”
And you know what? He was great. We then proceeded to have a much juicier conversation dialogue and even exchanged cell phone numbers.
Sometimes, when you take a risk, you are rewarded. And, of course, sometimes you are not. But I’m gonna give thanks for the hope and possibility this exchange gave to me during this anxious days.
I look forward to worshiping with you all this Sunday: Hope of A Prophet–Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is probably the religious “prophet” most trusted by liberals. We will practice deep listening to some of King’s words and how they call to us in this particular historical moment. Worship Leaders this week are Rev. Darcy, Todd Whiteley, and Sabine Klein.
This Sunday, I also hope that you will join in our first Mission Statement Feedback Session. The mission guides and offers direction to congregational leaders as we face decisions about how to best use our precious resources.
Also, please spread the word about the Compassion and Solidarity Vigil Sunday January 22nd at 2pm at 10th Street Plaza. I am co-organizing this gathering with a few other clergy.
And just one more thing: please consider joining and spread the word about the opening meeting for Exploring Whiteness, Showing Up for Racial Justice on Tuesday evening January 31st. More details here: http://www.stanuu.org/exploring-whiteness-showing-racial-justice