Friday, June 30, 2006

We assume our gifts are others' gifts.

I don't understand people.

Why is it that when you tell someone that you are unable to do something or that you do not do something well, they don't believe you?

Case in point: I have never claimed to be well organized. I have made a cross-country trip by packing up the car and my tent and going. The finer points of organization are totally lost on me. I mean it doesn't even register on my radar screen. So suddenly people get upset at me because things were not planned properly.

I have tried my best, but I guess my best was not good enough. Of course I do not find people volunteering to help me. Mostly there is just the feeling that if they can shame me enough, maybe I would not be so lazy and do something.

Can one be "lazy" when one does not do something one doesn't even realize they are supposed to do? Just because something is higher on your priority list than it is on mine, does that make me wrong?

I get the feeling that in churches that people feel that their offering is their payment for services rendered by the church. I am a theologian, not a cruise director. You would not go to a cruise director and ask him or her for the meaning of salvation, why then should I be expected to know how to plan a large trip or a large banquet?

People seem so much more willing to bemoan a situation than to change it. (is that what I am doing here?) Maybe, if the parents are upset enough, they will be willing to DO SOMETHING!

What is also frustrating is that most of the congregation does not know about my leaving. The personal upheavals that have been a part of my life for the past year are totally hidden to them. So some of these things that are important to them are not very important to me. Not that their cares are not important, but that I have other things pressing on me.

The Wounded Healer

A few posts back, I was talking about my frustration at this whole process and how I was questioning whether to continue as a pastor or not. An anonymous comment stated,
Until you have your life figured out, you have no right to guide others
I had to think about that.

I can see how some may think that, but I would have to disagree.

Do any of us really have our lives figured out? We may think that we have our lives figured out, but isn't that just an illusion? I may have every detail planned, but we can never take into account how others will react.

I would so love to have people react well to my leaving. I would love for people to take a look at the situation and use it as a means of deepening their understanding of homosexuality, prejudice, and hate. Unfortunately, I know that some people will just jump to easy conclusions and not do the work of trying to understand. That is what makes me sad. I am sad that what I feel to be a good thing, me coming to a deeper understanding of who I am as a person, should be the catalyst for some pretty uncomfortable situations.

But what is also sad is that my homosexuality should even be a problem. If anything, my finally coming to an understanding of my sexuality has made me a better pastor. I now have an understanding of how we search to find wholeness and have an understanding of how to help others search for wholeness. Why this should be a problem is beyond me.

But back to the comment that I should have my life in order before I try to guide others, well, that is just silly. Look at self-help groups. Here are a group of people who are struggling with various problems helping each other. Alcoholics never refer to themselves as cured, they are always recovering. And yet, these people who do not have their lives in order are able to help others get their lives in order.

I am not trying to attack the person who made the comment, but I feel that the comment exemplifies part of the problems I see in our world: we are so caught up in results that unless we can guarantee total success, we do not want to participate. Unless my life is totally organized, I should not try to help others. I find that frame of reference to be very sad.

I say, all that we have is God and each other. And as far as I can tell, God is working through our world through each other. Since we are imperfect people, we either do nothing until we become prefect (read never) or we try our best, realizing that it will never be perfect.

As for me, I may be wounded, but I am not dead. I will still try to help people knowing that God can take my flawed efforts and turn them into something wonderful.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Stupid Quote Alert

"Of all the unique parts of the airplane, this is arguably the most unique." Engineer of the Concord.

"Unique" means "one of a kind." Something cannot be the "most unique."

"I've fallen and I can't get up!"

I was checking out the cluster map of hits on my blog and there was an ad for this. Kind of funny how, when they pull words out of a blog, the ads make commentary on the events of the blog.

I guess I never thought of myself as a "fallen" leader. Maybe some do. Oh well, that is their problem. We are fallen people, period. So if I am a fallen person and I am a leader, then I am a fallen leader

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Well, I must admit that I underestimated my Bishop. He was quite gracious and supportive. He was genuinely concerned about my mental health and how I was doing. He said that I would be a blessing to the Episcopal Church.

What a major hurdle to have gone over. I now know that I can transfer and that is a real relief.

This whole process has been an interesting series of peaks and valleys. It often seems that a peak brings a following valley, but the valleys seem to be getting shallower and shallower. I know that there will always be valleys, but I am happy that I can see that they won't always be as deep as they have been in the past.

Nick has been such a support to me and that has been great. I am so lucky (blessed?) to have him in my life.


Saw this over at
The Panopticon. Those Lutheran boys better not be Lutheran pastors though!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm Spidy!

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
Iron Man
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Useless Worrying

I think I have more of my father in me than I would like. My father is a worrier and I appear to be one too.

I know that worrying about my meeting with the bishop tomorrow can't do anything, but still I worry.

I am flying next week and I worry.

I hate worrying.

I should be able to give it all to God and I try hard to follow that. I try to give it all to God but there is still a part of me that just gets mired.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Upcoming Week

I just got back from a great couple of days with Nick. He is so great. He puts up with my mood swings which seem to get more frequent and more extreme lately.

I am talking with the Bishop on Wednesday. I am a bit (ha!) tense about this but either way, it will be done. Sometimes it is the unknown that makes us upset. At least after talking with the Bishop, I will know where I stand.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Why am I resigning?

The question was asked: Why am I resigning?

Well, I am resigning because I do not want to stay in a church the really does not want me. I could stay in the Lutheran church as long as I was willing to live a lie. But if I want to actually have a life, I cannot be a Lutheran pastor.

I hate having to be paranoid when Nick and I go out, even to something as benign as pizza. I hate having to worry that too many people will see me out with Nick and begin to wonder why "Pastor Ben is never out with girls."

I have hidden so long from myself that I want to quit hiding. I want to be able to be out with Nick in public and not have to worry that someone might see me and begin to talk.

Maybe I should be more forthright, especially during Pride month, but I am not yet ready to become a posterchild for the cause. If things begin to go bad, then I would be willing to put up a fight, but for right now, a quiet transfer would be fine with me.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Resignation Letter

Who would think that writing a resignation letter would be so tough. I have gone through three different ones already and still am not too sure what to say.

It would be easy if I was just in a "regular" job. I would say I was leaving and that would be that. But leaving a position in a church can be much more difficult. How much do the people need to know? How to state things without inciting more questions? Will my leaving cause problems in the congregation?

Actually, if there are problems in the congregation, that is not my problem. People will react as they will react. Granted, I do have some responsibility to be mature about the process, but I cannot make people think or feel anything.

So, do I tell people that I am having problems with the direction the ELCA seems to be moving and the speed (or lack of speed) that it is moving? Or do I tell them exactly what my problems are with the polity of the ELCA and why I am leaving?

I am not ashamed of what I am and I do not have a problem in telling people, I just don't know if telling is the right thing. Unfortunately, I have to come up with something.

I will be meeting with the ELCA bishop on Wed. I hope it goes well.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I was really having a bad morning. I was talking with
the senior pastor about how to go about announcing my resignation. I was of the assumption that he didn't want too much said about being gay so the letter I wrote was somewhat (well, more than somewhat) vague on why I was leaving.

I was hoping to be able to move into a call in the Episcopal church when I leave but that doesn't look like it is going to happen. So when I leave, I will be leaving without any employment. And people will wonder why I am leaving if I do not have a position.

So we talked about being totally honest or not or what. I was getting totally distressed and started thinking that a good car crash could fix things nicely. I was quite upset and left church and called .Nick and went driving around town.

Just as I was about to toss the whole idea of being a pastor and just finding a job; when I was just about to say that the whole religion thing is a bunch of trash and maybe the whole God thing is trash too; just when I wanted to run off and hide, I turn a corner and see this:
I will tell you, I almost drove off the road. It may be coincidence but I think God may be telling me something.

I got the physical for the Episcopal Church yesterday and I will be filling out the other paperwork. I guess I will be heading to the Episcopal ChurchPosted by Picasa

UPDATE:  I was later speaking with the Episcopal Bishop about this incident.  And he told me that the billboard was almost NOT put up.  People thought it was a waste of money.  It was only up for about a week.


This was one thing I never anticipated about coming out: It is tiring! There never seems to be a time to just relax.

I went on vacation but it was no vacation. I had the stress of trying to find the right time to talk to my parents about being gay and changing denominations. I had stress in dealing with the changing situation with my parents as they grow older. It was not a very relaxing vacation and then to come back to stressful situation at the church

Then comes the stresses of taking care of the house. I am not a good housekeeper. And trying to find time to get things done.

Sorry about being whinny again!!

I never thought this process would require so much energy!

Tolerance of Diversity

Can we really be tolerant of diversity?

I like to post on the forum In All Things Love. But even on this forum that strives to be open and inclusive there is difficulty. The liberals claim that the fundamentalist are closed minded and the fundamentalist claim that the liberals are closed minded to the fundamentalists.

Often what I find is that I have been down the road that the fundamentalist are going and have found it to be a dead end. So if I state that I find the fundamentalist's stance a dead end, am I being intolerant? If we don't agree, are we being intolerant?

When it comes to things like homosexuality, where is the problem? If someone does not want to participate in homosexual acts, then that person does not need to. But what right does that person have to prevent others from participating in those activities.

How do we discuss such hot-button topics without getting into mudslinging and hatred? Can we really discuss such things? Is it possible to actually change someone's view?

I don't know.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I am so tired of the process...

This will probably be a whiney post so I apologize.

I gave my letter of resignation to the senior pastor. Each step of this process just wrenches at my stomach and makes me just want to run and hide.

Part of the problem is I don't know what is going to happen to me. Will I have to sell my home? Will I have a job? Will I have a call? I don't know what is going to happen but I can't just stay where I am.

I just wish once the senior pastor would say, "This is just wrong. We need to change things so this will not have to happen in the future." Unfortunately, I don't think this will ever happen. Can he not see how wrong this whole thing is?

I guess there are people who think that homosexuality is wrong and those who participate in it are also wrong. But, according to the Bible, gossip is wrong, gluttony is wrong, bearing false witness is wrong. And still, we are not chasing pastors out of their calls because they may be fat, gossiping, liars.

There are just so many things that feel wrong about the way I am leaving. It feels as if I am trying to sneek out in the dark (which I guess I am). I hate having to concoct a story to cover the questions that will inevitably be asked. I would rather say, "I am gay and the silly rules of the denomination mean that I have to leave. These rules that are causing me to leave are the same rules you voted for at the last national convention. When you vote, you make changes in the lives of real people, not just some hypothetical person 'out there.'"

I am angry, sad, scared, and confused.

Why would anyone CHOOSE to go through something like this?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Something I forgot!

When asked what four movies I could watch over and over, I forgot to mentionField of Dreams. Not only does Kevin Kostner do nice things for a pair of jeans, but Ray Liotta is not too bad either!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Four Meme

Something I stole from chai and sympathy, an interesting blog I found.


1. Paperboy. I hated Sunday morning deliveries, especially when it was cold!
2. Worked at the camera counter at Walgreens or as we like to call it, "Wags".
3. Psychologist for the state of Illinois
4. Pastor


1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. The Great Gatsby. The 1974 one with Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby.
3. Blade Runner
4. The Rose


1. Columbus, OH
2. Dixon, IL
3. Dubuque, IA
4. Decorah, IA


1. Moral Orel
2. Robot Chicken
3. House I think Hugh Laurie is cute.
4. American Idol (Ok, I will admit it)


1. Glacier National Park
2. Grand Tetons
3. Cedar Point
4. Houston, TX


1. In All Things Love
2. North Woods Guys
3. Someone in a Tree
4. Show Me Yours


1. Tiramisu
2. Hot and Sour Soup
3. Beef Stroganoff
4. Culvers


1. With Nick
2. Paris
3. Washington (No, not DC)
4. Grand Tetons


1. Nick
2. Sneakerprophet
3. Steve and Warren
4. David

Monday, June 12, 2006


  Posted by Picasa

The "Big Talk"

I talked with my parents this weekend. I told then that first off, I would be leaving the ELCA and then I told them that I would be leaving because I was gay. My mom's response was choice. Instead of crying, yelling, getting upset, she said, "Will you have to move?"

I wasn't sure she understood me so I kind of went a little deeper into the "being gay" part of the announcement.

Mom again surprised me by saying, "I am not going to condemn you. If you are happy, that is all that matters. No matter what, I am still proud of you."

I was totally disoriented. I was expecting just about anything except this. But what I got was total acceptance.

I also talked to my father. His response? "Will you have a job when you to the Episcopals?"

I love my parents.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Gone for a while

I am going to visit the parents this next week. We will probably have "THE BIG TALK" while I am there. I really hope it goes well.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Playing with Google's Photo thing


Yes, I took all of these pictures Posted by Picasa