If you know, please tell me. With love to my CPM

“Right matters here.” When I heard Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman say that during the House hearings, I exhaled a breath I didn’t know I was holding. 

“Right matters here.” I repeat it as a mantra. “Right matters here.”

Any voice that says such a thing is always a voice from the wilderness, echoed in return with “What’s right?” “Who’s right?” “What makes you think you’re right?”

I don’t know what makes “you right” or even “me right.” I just know that right matters and I want it to matter here. Where I am; where you are. I want the fuzziness of self-serving rhetoric and unbridled untruths to be arrested. The endless studies and debates to mean something. Not to self-serve in opposition but to serve as we have been called to, bringing the gospel truths and teachings and the way of life that Jesus taught, the Light that he reflected – that Light—into the world through our actions and practices and the way we live – now. Today. Every day. I know, that’s probably a lot to want.

I am sure that there were those on my Committee on Preparation for Ministry who wondered how a queer person, me – a gay person, could be sitting before them. I know there were those on the committee, perhaps all of them, who were concerned about the dangers ahead. (That still gives me pause today as I write this, to think there would be dangers in pursuing a call in the church, whew…) – but they put these aside. In their own way, they said: “Right matters here” and what was right was to help me to discern a call; not judge me but help me, regardless of their wonder about whether I belonged there as a gay man or the dangers I might face. It was all greater, much greater than that.

I had an amazing Committee on Preparation. When I would meet with them, I would feel as though they had created a space in their midst for the Spirit, with an invitation to join them on my journey. I say that, because I realized they were on my journey only toward the end of the time together. They had joined with me, to challenge and support me and in the end, as we finished our time together, to be with me going forward. I was not being cleared for ministry; we were. I still serve with them today, over fifteen years later.

 What is it that changes what is “right” from one group to the next? Is there really an argument about what the Great Commandment calls us to do? Can we proof-text our way to rationalization, covering up our own need for a sense of decency and order that becomes anything but where it really matters?

I don’t know. I really don’t. I just pray for more Committees on Preparation who leave room for the Spirit and join in on the journey with others who are called, not as judges but as Light bearers that trust in God.

It pains me when we debate who’s in and who’s out. What ever made us think we have the right to do such a thing; to mislead, incite fear and damnation to get our way? How could that ever be right?

I don’t know. If you do, please tell me.

With love to my CPM and all like them.