November 30, 2008

A Place For Everyone

I'm preparing materials this week for a very important meeting next week. I asked my senior pastor for a chance to sit down and report on the conferences I've attended this year. He responded that he has asked four associate pastors to be there as well. This has turned from a debriefing into a presentation, and it's critical that I have everything ready.

I'm sorting out the books, web links, and sources into those for GLBT persons (especially youth), inquirers, advocates, and pastoral/program staff. I have depended on you, my online friends, for some of those resources. Because it was a gay man who introduced me to the online gay community, virtually all of my GLBT contacts are men. I've perused some lesbian blogs, but I know of only one here with whom I might discuss growing up gay in a Christian church. She has been a member of our church since birth. I met with her and her mom yesterday.

"Dale" is the daughter of very good friends. She came out to them several years ago, but only recently did they reveal this to anyone. They are struggling to reconcile this new information with the assumptions they had lived with for over twenty years. It is clear that they love their daughter very much, and for that I am grateful.

Dale is an assistant professor of women's studies, and we talked at length about the general topic of growing up gay. I asked what she wanted from our church when she was attending here. Dale said what was missing was a "safe" person that she knew she could come out to. She wants it in print, on our website, and on the door of a staff member that here is someone who is trained to address the myriad difficulties of growing up GLBT.

Dale is the final link in my chain of stories for this presentation. Hers is the face I need to present to our pastors, of one who needed our welcome and didn't get it. She is not bitter (bless her) and wants to know, when the time comes someday for her to commit to a life partner, that our church will preside over and bless her commitment ceremony. That has become another goal for me, to see that she gets her wish.

I feel like I'm a servant in a fine home and that plans for a very important banquet are being prepared for the not-so-distant future. It is up to me to see that there is a place of honor for everyone at this banquet. The meeting is next Monday. If you are so inclined, your prayers would be appreciated.


Java said...

By "next Monday" do you mean December 1st or the 8th?

Dale sounds like a fascinating woman, and a good resource for you and your quest.

As my grandmother used to say, "Stand up straight and smile!"

Birdie said...

Java, the meeting is Dec. 8.

Bear Me Out said...

I'll keep you in prayers. It is such a busy time of the year, but with "no room at the inn" looming, perhaps a very good one.

I would love to know some of your online resources for youth. One of my daughter's best friends came out only last week to his parents. Blessedly, they were supportive.

Birdie said...

Bear, if the boy has reached the point of coming out to his parents, I'm willing to bet he's already bookmarked some sites. I confess I don't yet have specific websites for youth, but Googling "gay youth" and "gay youth christian" yields a wealth of links. Bilerico has a contributor who has put together some excellent lists:

Ten Books Every Gay Boy Should Read

Ten Films Every Gay Boy Should See

I suspect the parents are as every bit in need of supportive materials as the boy. I am sitting amid a stack of books that I've sorted and flagged for my upcoming presentation. Also, I'll be sitting down with our youth pastor to discuss links and materials specific to youth. I'll post my results this week and you can pass on my recommendations.

tornwordo said...

You have mine.

David said...

I have the utmost confidence in your ability to deliver a clear and powerful presentation. My prayer will be that those you present to will have open hearts and minds that day.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

I wish there were millions more like you Birdie.

LiftThineEyes said...

Prayers from my part of the world, too.

Bandana Jack said...

give em .... uh heck!

and PFLAG is the resource of record for parents and to some extent the kids. and don't forget carol and heidi from another place for lesbian resources. i have their number.


Ur-spo said...

good luck on all of this
I like your approach!

Christopher said...

Good thoughts from Ohio for ya ;-)