Once again, God had to hit me over the head with truth.
I had posted an entry about a group I am working with, and all the frustrations I am feeling over working with them (or not working, as the case may be), feeling distrusted and snubbed.
Well, I still feel a bit of the snub, but having had a conversation with one of the individuals involved (ah, communication!), I understand more of where they are coming from.
We're trying to organize an AIDS vigil, and from the beginning we had talked about it being interfaith. I have no issue with that, I'm very into ecumenical and interfaith projects. But I kept running into a brick wall every time we talked about the spiritual leaders we should be inviting--I got resistance, and foot-dragging and speculations that whoever we invited would suddenly start spewing homophobic garbage, etc. I could not understand it--to me, common sense said that those whose faith deemed homosexuality incompatible with Godliness would simply not be interested in participating. To others in the group, there was a concern that people would agree to participate and then use the opportunity to fulminate against homosexuality or People living With AIDS--I found this farfetched. I was feeling that my understandings and my own previous participation in interfaith gatherings was being pooh-poohed and dismissed.
Conversation can resolve a lot of things.
After conversation with one of the individuals, I understand their concerns--which are different from what I had thought. The fact is, there are very few spiritual leaders in River City who are supportive of PWAs, because (presumably) of the issue of homosexuality. We don't want to invite someone simply because he or she represents a certain faith tradition, and then have them say hateful things or act inappropriately. And the other issue is closetedness--someone may not want their religious leader to know about their sexuality, and yet here they are at an AIDS event. There simply aren't supportive spiritual leaders outside of the Christian (MCC and United Church) aboriginal (First Nations/Native American), and Unitarian traditions. We don't know enough about the (2) rabbis in town, and we certainly don't know a supportive imam. The Buddhist community isn't organized, and the Sikhs and Hindus are not sympathetic either. So our problem with the event being interfaith is not a lack of desire or will; it's a lack of participants from other than a very few traditions.
I am really resonating with a certain bumper sticker today--"Mean people suck," mean people being those who would condemn all homosexuals and all PWAs, who would shove those of us who love others of our own gender out into the cold beyond all possibility of God's love.
And I am glad to have had that conversation. Like the thunderstorm we're having right now, it cleared the air and left me feeling cleaner and lighter.
But mean people still suck.