Friday, June 03, 2011

It Gets Better: Yale Divinity School

Yale Divinity School shield.

One of the odder aspects of institutional Christianity is the fact so many LGBTQ people continue, against the odds, to experience a calling to practice, even proclaim, their faith within its rickety framework.

So I was interested in this recent submission to the It Gets Better Project by lesbian and gay students at Yale Divinity School, most preparing themselves for public ministry.

The Divinity School, founded in 1701 to train Congregational clergymen, is a part of Yale University. Still a training ground for clergy, its approach now is ecumenical and all are welcome. The Episcopal Berkeley Divinity School, also a part of Yale, is affiliated.

The faithful voices of LGBT people often are muted, primarily I think because so many have been driven out and haven’t found a way home, so it’s good to hear them here.

And it’s also good for LGBTQ young people, toward whom It Gets Better messages are directed, to be able to listen.

The church traditionally has been, and remains among conservatives and self-styled “fundamentalists,” a place of spiritual death, even physical death. But it has gotten better.

I was struck by the young United Church of Christ pastoral candidate who said, “The day that I got kicked out of church was the best thing that ever happened to me.” Many would say “amen” to that.

Those driven out, or who have merely fled, need to know that places at the table are set elsewhere, that lights have been turned on and that doors are open.

Our old friends include the Metropolitan Community Church, the Unitarian Universalsts and the United Church of Christ; newer friends, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbyterian Church USA.

The mystery of faith is not the nature of the Trinity, nor is it expressed in absurd and pointless speculation about who is going to heaven and who isn’t or who should be loved in what manner. The mystery is in the compelling and continuing nature of the call.

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