"Waiting on God is a bore; but what fun to argue, to score off opponents, to lose one's temper and call it 'righteous indignation,' and at last to pass from controversy to blows, from words to what St. Augustine so deliciously described as the 'beningnant asperity' of persecution and punishment."
- Aldous Huxley, "The Perennial Philosophy"
Yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon marching in a circle - oh, and getting yelled at. Such is the life of an activist lesbian pastor in South Carolina.
I joined about two dozen other people from the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement in a silent vigil at the "Embrace the Change" concert in Columbia where anti-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin was making his appearance despite protests from the GLBT community. Senator Barack Obama (who only appeared at the fundraising concert via Memorex)had refused to remove McClurkin from the bill and instead added "balance" by inviting the senior pastor of my church, Rev. Andy Sidden, to give the opening prayer.
As we marched across the street from the concert hall, a self-appointed spokeswoman for God decided we needed some preachin'. She insisted that God did not love gays and lesbians because "God created them male and female."
We had agreed to a silent vigil so we let her spew her hatred and condemnation unchallenged. She, of course, caught the attention of the camera crews on hand and was promptly miked up by a couple of them and interviewed. She refused to give her name. I love bigots who still want to maintain their anonymity. If she's so proud of her hateful speech, she ought to at least be willing to give her name just as proudly. We all gave our names to the reporters and photographers hovering around us. We have no problem telling the world about love and giving our names while we do it.
Neither she, nor us, can wait on God. It's way more fun to argue, to score points and express our righteous indignation. She felt righteous, but so did we. Instead of trusting God to reconcile us all, we contend with one another - shouting, marching, protesting, holding vigils. Instead of finding common ground where we can work with each other and God to achieve God's realm of peace, we fight and score points against one another, taunting each other over trivial differences of opinion.
Waiting on God is boring - but it's necessary if we are to recognize when God moves. We can certainly work while we wait - but let our work be searching for common ground, not just shouting at one another across the divide.
God, forgive us all for our arrogance. Give us the patience, and the joy, to instead, wait on you.