Words that Matter
A post on homosexuality, LGBT, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.
Words matter and my own words mock me.
I havent posted in a while. Truth be told, I have avoided even looking at the blog. It all seemed …just… too… disheartening.
Whats the point.
I am a member of an institution whose official words reflect ignorance, prejudice and fear. I am a member of an institution whose leader has chosen to use his office to speak words calculated to bring offence to some of his most vulnerable, isolated and hurting parishioners, teachers and pastors. I am a member of an institution where even the dissenting leadership add to the darkness as they choose the course of the coward and speak no words at all. The net result is that I am a part of an institution that day by day and week by week, causes real harm to real people.
That is the simple truth.
I can’t see that anything I say will make any difference what-so-ever.
My ongoing struggle with depression is an issue. When the black dog has its teeth firmly embedded in the cheeks of my arse it really doesn’t help to do the daily research that fuels my posts. That research subjects me to the ignorant and hurtful words that come from religious leaders throughout the world. It serves as a constant, disheartening reminder that these people have the same heart and speak the same words as my own church.
As I do my research, as I attempt to stay in touch with what is happening in this horrible anti gay Christian world, their words form a sewer that I foolishly dive into again and again and again. Eventually one begins to question the wisdom of such action. Sewers are not healthy places. Perhaps it is time to consider the infection it causes and the damage to my mental health.
Perhaps it is time to just walk away.
I think…Dear God! What must it be like for my gay friend who can’t walk away. No wonder he chooses to no longer have anything to do with the hate filled words that spew from my church.
Over the last few weeks, when I open my laptop seeking random distraction, occasionally my fingers (of their own accord) have taken me to my blog’s home page.
And there it is. Sitting there. Staring at me.
The heading of my last post. A Martin Luther King quote.
In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.
If I walk away I do not retire into neutrality. If I choose to no longer use my words then I side with the evil I deplore.
I can’t do that! Can I?
Dr King’s words have a real power that time has not weakened. They reach through the decades to shame and shock and shake me. Here was a man of God whose words matched the influence of his office and his words still bring light and change and good.
I remember preparing the words that I would speak each week when I was still preaching. (It seems a lifetime ago now) I would still be awake, outside, pacing the back lawn at 1am Sunday morning, fighting with myself and the darkness and the silence for the right words to speak.
I was 9 years old when I first remember tasting words of real power. I had just heard Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address presented as a feast to my grade 5 class by our teacher Mr Allen. Two score and three years later I can still recite them by heart. (You better believe, Dear Reader, that I will be first in line at the box office next week!)
Today I am struck by the irony (?) of one sentence in that short speech.
(Curse you Alanis for making me doubt myself every time I use that word!)
Speaking of the terrible loss of life on that battlefield, Lincoln said…
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
But it seems that the world HAS remembered and noted well the WORDS he spoke much more than it has remembered the deeds of those who fought the battle.
Words have power, especially when spoken by a person in a position of influence. Then the power of the office and the words can combine to great effect.
I don’t have a position of influence but I still have words and words that matter have a power of their own. I choose to continue to use them.
I use the power of my words to name and challenge those in positions of power in my church. I call on my district and general presidents, Rev Greg Pfeiffer and Rev Mike Semmler, to look beyond prejudice and fear and to overcome cowardice. I call on them to speak words of power to match the power of their office. I call on Mike to apologise for the damage his words have done and I call on Greg to speak what he knows to be true.
I call on them to speak words that history will well remember.
Words of light and change and good.
Words that matter.