It’s been ten days since I went to my very first United Methodist ordination. The Rocky Mountain Annual Conference ordination, to be exact.

I had to leave because I caught myself about to yell as
tears streamed down my face.

I don’t know where to place my anger.

The non-inclusiveness of The United Methodist church rained
down on me and my girlfriend as we held hands in the pew, watching as our dear
friend became an elder. Our dear friend who supports and loves us for who we
are. Our dear friend who has always supported those who have lived their lives
differently than she. Our dear friend who truly lives like Jesus.

I was already turned off by the amount of “Christ-talk” that
took place, but I bit my tongue. That is, in fact, some people’s cup of tea. I struggle
with its inclusiveness to those who may be in attendance that do not believe
that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, and I am also a firm believer in a
little something called “free will”, but that may just be me and my liberal
graduate institution’s education. Blame the hippies. But, other than rolling my
eyes at the constant “Christ” namedropping, I found myself struggling with the
feeling in the room.

The feeling that I and the woman that I loved, both members
of the United Methodist church with ministry backgrounds and a heart for
service, were not welcome.

I don’t know where to place my anger.

Ordinations call for us as a congregation in attendance to
support those who are moving forward in their ministries. And in doing so, are
we not becoming complacent in the act of anti-LGBTQ rights for those in the
church? Because, and correct me if I’m wrong, but do those being ordained and
those on the path to ordination promise to the congregation, the bishop, and God
that they will uphold the doctrine of the United Methodist Church? And if so,
are we not doing the same by loving and supporting them in said process? And if
they are standing in front of a room of their supervisors, peers, family, and
friends, who are they truly pledging their allegiance to?

I don’t know where to place my anger.

It was sweet that we all prayed for those who were “unable
to attend.” That prayer wasn’t meant for those who had caught a cold or missed
their flight. That prayer was meant as a small hand; a breadcrumb, really,
given from the church to all of us queers in and not in attendance who felt
they could not support those that they loved. It was meant for those, like my
beautiful girlfriend, who have felt a call to pastoral ministry but have had to
repeatedly hang up the phone because they sleep in a bed with someone who
doesn’t fit the “lock-and-key” body part mechanism of the heteronormative
discourse. And, instead of praying along, instead of saying amen, I found
myself taking that small hand that was offered to me and slapping it. How dare
you? How dare you, Rocky Mountain Conference of The United Methodist Church? I
could barely believe that this was the offering they gave. “We are soooooo very
sorry, but please keep tithing! Your money is very important and helps us keep
our doors open while spreading the word of God, the good message of Jesus, and
the sometimes odd thoughts of John Wesley. Sorry you can’t join us in doing so,
but who you love absolutely affects these messages.”

I looked over at my girlfriend as she watched the ceremony,
and I saw tears forming in her eyes. I asked her if she felt sad that she was
not able to be on that stage. She turned to me and said, “I’m not sad anymore.
I’m just so angry.” This was the first time in a very long time that I felt my
own heart break through the empathy of another. I do not recommend this
feeling. It will end in a public outburst, as I can share with you now.

As families of many types gave their loved ones their
stoles, the room took notice at the uniqueness of our conference. Someone with
a Mohawk, for goodness sakes! And as the last and dearest to me was given her
stole, Bishop Elaine joked somewhere along the lines of “we let all sorts of
families in, even those with Mohawks!” I said, much louder than originally
planned on, “Oh, that’s so fun. But I know who you don’t let in!” I then stood up and walked out.

I spent the car ride home sobbing quite uncontrollably,
unable to say much other than I was so mad and so heartbroken for what I had
seen. “Open hearts, open minds, open doors” my ass, UMC. What am I supposed to
do with this displaced anger that I feel? I am a proud member of a UMC that
welcomes me and my girlfriend for who we are, no matter what. That feels great.
But when we’re looking at the grand scheme of things, when we’re looking at the
number of churches that identify as reconciling, I allow myself to be swallowed
up in the madness; the feeling that I’m working toward a goal that will never
be attainable.

I don’t know where to place my anger.

So for now, I am going to hold on to it. I am going to keep
it in my imaginary pocket, and I am going to take it out often. We are taught
that anger is not an emotion that we should feel in public; yet historically
and Biblically, did those that we admire and strive to follow not feel anger?
Hello, Jesus at the changing tables? A little someone named Martin Luther King,
Jr., delivering a speech about race relations? That anger does not need to lash
out as violence; rather, it can be used as the constant reminder and the cement
to my feet when I am asked to leave a room because I am not welcomed for who I
am in a church that “says” the opposite. I am going to remember that anger
fuels peaceful revolutions. I will attempt to calm my outbursts. I will keep in
mind that no matter how many times I or others that identify as lesbians or any
of the other letters try, our stories are being thrown like a grain of sand
into the ocean. I have had enough of opening up the wounds of myself and those
who have come before me, trying to connect heart-to-heart with those on the
matter. We connect, and people leave saying that they’ll “agree to disagree.”
Not anymore. I’m prepared and ready to fight with the weapons of the social
change warriors that came before me, and I hope that this message does the same
for you. Share your story, yes, share who you are, because nobody can take that
away from you. But look at the past and realize that our stories are not
enough. It’s time to take further action.

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