While I was sojourning this summer, I had the chance to get reacquainted with God. God came to find me in a most unusual form … a politically conservative Christian evangelical. We became friends and he listened patiently to my questions. We were able to agree to disagree and then talk about the things that interested us both, rather than get caught up in the obvious areas for snags.
And I gained a new freedom … a person that cared about this piece of my identity and didn't launch into tirades about Christianity and homosexuality (either direction).
When I did social service ministry in Kentucky, I spent a fair amount of time with friends who were evangelical, pentecostals and some who believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Most were wonderful, kind, loving people who rarely uttered a bad word against anyone. Some weren't. But they embraced me even when they knew I wasn't interested in conversion and we had loving conversations that stay with me to this day. I feel a little ache when I think back to those times.
The thing my friend has said to me this year has been very simple … just listen. He doesn't try to change me or convince me I'm wrong or belittle me because I don't believe exactly what he believes. He just urges me to listen and I guess he has faith in the message. And me.
I kept moping about wanting a liberal evangelical church. Which led me to Jim Wallis and his God's Politics Blog. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I've been peppering my status updates with Scripture and inspirational quotes. That is all courtesy of Reverend Wallis' daily email. It has been amazing (and not) that almost every day, the scripture speaks to what is happening for me.
Wallis is part of the Sojourners Ministry ….
Sojourners ministries grew out of the Sojourners Community, located in Southern Columbia Heights, an inner-city neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The community began at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, in the early 1970s when a handful of students began meeting to discuss the relationship between their faith and political issues, particularly the Vietnam War. In 1971, the group decided to create a publication that would express their convictions and test whether other people of faith had similar beliefs.
There is no Sojourners' community in Pittsburgh. The closest are Akron and Altoona (go figure). That makes me sad. I've attended services at some of the local liberal churches and it doesn't resonate. I appreciate the solidarity, but nothing has stuck yet.
So I stick with my daily email.
I don't get the chance to talk with my friend very often right now, but maybe that's necessary so I can *stop* talking and start listening. Maybe the time for me to talk/text/email about what I think has come to an end and I am going to have to listen.
My friend isn't a fan of Jim Wallis (“Marxist”), but I guess that's whose gonna see me into this listening phase.
In typical me fashion, I have to get the last word and post the blog here on my site in the middle of a lesbian and feminist blogroll and tell the world that I want to be an evangelical.
So … bring it on, God.