Brotherhood and Diversity

December 6, 2010

This past weekend I participated in an Advent retreat at Easton Mountain. We wrestled with the questions of what does it mean to be a gay Christian and how can we heal the wounds inflicted upon us by homophobic leaders in various branches of Christianity. I found myself thinking of the words of John Woolman, an eighteenth century Quaker:

There is a principle which is pure, placed in the human mind, which in different places and ages hath had different names. It is, however, pure and proceeds from God. It is deep and inward, confined to no forms of religion nor excluded from any, where the heart stands in perfect sincerity. In whomsoever this takes root and grows, of what nation soever, they become brethren.

The universality of spiritual truth is also at the heart of Easton Mountain – where we have had teachers with Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and other religious backgrounds.

After the retreat, there was a ceremony in which Michael Kelly, a member of Easton Mountain’s extended community, was consecrated as a bishop of the Old Roman Catholic Church. Four bishops participated in this episcopal ordination – all from small churches not recognized by the Vatican. These men were each moved by Spirit to come together for an ordination in which Michael was given a special charge to minister to the spiritual welfare of gay and lesbian people.

Toward the end of the service there was a chant that was very much in the Roman tradition – asking saints to pray for us – but with a difference. Included were all our gay and lesbian ancestors. This to me is an affirmation of Universalism – a sign that even in ceremonies closely tied to one tradition, we recognize our brotherhood with all humanity.

One Response to “Brotherhood and Diversity”

  1. I don’t know of a place that does a better job than the Easton community of modelling a truly inclusive spirituality. Instead of subtracting out the richness of individual traditions to avoid offense, that richness is fully celebrated in order to invite a wider community in, so that all speak together in the tongues of their respective heritage. It’s profoundly queer; and it’s the work of Spirit making all things new.

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