Saturday, July 7, 2012

Edge of Our Seats

We’re now on the edge of our seats waiting for resolutionsD002 and D019 – the transgender nondiscrimination resolutions – to come to thefloor of the House of Bishops (HoB). Since the Ministry Committee passed these two days ago we have beenwaiting for them to turn up in the HoB—they are on the supplemental calendarfor day 2, and since the Bishops are a bit behind in their calendar, theyhaven’t come up quite yet. TransEpiscopalians sat in the HoB gallery last night and this morning,and will be back when the bishops go into open session at about 3:15pm.

Our work here has been buoyed by some wonderfulpreaching.  Yesterday BonnieAnderson, President of the House of Deputies, preached an inspiring sermonbased on the readings for the feast day of the martyred Czeck Reformer JohnHuss (c. 1369 – 6 July 1415).  Youcan watch the video and see the text here (  Her theme was courage:

“Courage animates all our virtues-honesty, confidence, humility, compassion, integrity, valor. Without courage,all these virtues lie dormant.
There is no prescription for teachingcourage. You may have noticed that courage 101 is not taught in school, or evenin college, or even in seminary.”

She continued,

“I can vividly remember the first time I stood up forsomething. I bet you can too. That memory becomes the story of a definingmoment that is incorporated into our spiritual selves and becomes a cornerstoneof our morality or our moral courage. If we are to reflect on our life, each ofus can probably name today, events and people who helped to shape our moralcourage. Moral courage defines us at our core and prompts us to act in spite offear.”

I left the service strengthened for the day ahead.  As we did yesterday, several of usreadied ourselves to testify at a committee hearing.  This time it was D022, a “Churchwide Response toBullying.”  I spoke in support ofit in my capacity as an Episcopal Campus Minister.  Before the day was out, the committee had reported it out tothe House of Bishops.

Then this morning Bishop Michael Curry of the Diocese ofNorth Carolina, assigned the lection in celebration of the life of the novelistand abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, preached a soul-stirring sermon on howbeing a prophetic Christian requires a certain kind of insanity. Watch and/orread it here (  Citing the gospel passage from June 10th(Mark 3:20-35) in which Jesus’ family comes to find him and declares him “outof his mind,” Bishop Curry proclaimed,

“forgive me for saying it this way,but Jesus was, and is, crazy! And those who would follow him, those who wouldbe his disciples, those who would live as and be the people of the Way, arecalled and summoned and challenged to be just as crazy as Jesus. So I want tospeak on the subject, ‘We Need Some Crazy Christians.’”

I couldn’t help myself—I just had to tweet, to share, what Iwas hearing.  Over the next severalminutes my twitter account posted:

·     #GC77 nervous re: voting on #Trans people inordained & lay ministry? remember this morning's sermon: 'we need some*crazy* Christians.'

·     #GC77 Rt Rev Curry preaches it in a.m.Eucharist: 'we are called to be *different*'. #TransEpiscopal

·     Bp Michael Curry: 'We need some *crazy*Christians to change this world in the name of Jesus.'... 'Think different.'#GC77

·     'the ones crazy enough to think they can changethe world do.' May this Convention be transfigured by the Bps witness #GC77

And all of this crazy talk made me free associate:

·     As Seal put it, 'cuz we're never gonna surviveunless we get a little crazy' #GC77 #TransEpiscopal

I haven’t been able to get the Seal song out of my headsince (and now it’s in yours… sorry).

After the service I flipped over my name tag and wrote

*Crazy* Christian

As I left the worship space I found myself wondering, willthe bishops make the connection between Bishop Curry’s inspiring message andthe trans nondiscrimination resolutions? Are they willing to be “crazy” enough – as some may well deem themwithin this church and beyond– to embrace the ministries of its transgendermembers, lay and ordained? Are they willing to take that leap?

This morning TransEpiscopal members and supporters sat inthe HoB gallery. The bishops did not quite get to our resolutions, but wereturn to the gallery now with hope in our hearts.


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