Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Holla At Ya Boy (Isaiah 6:1-8)

 Like Hellen Keller making her way through the world of darkness, yet "seeing," as the curtains falls I shuffle across the stage with the Mute, yet listening. 

    In the year of the death of Uzziah, ruler of Judah, I saw Adonai seated on a high and lofty judgement seat, in a robe whose train filled the temple. Seraphs were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet (or genitals), with two they flew.
     They would cry out to one another, "Holy! Holy! Holy is Adonai Omnipotent! All the earth is filled with God's glory!" The doorposts and thresholds quaked at the sound of their shouting, and the Temple kept filling with smoke.
     Then I said, "Woe is m, I am doomed! I have unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips! And my eye have seen the Ruler, Adonai Omnipotent!"
     Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding an ember which it had taken with tongs from the altar. The seraph touched my mouth with the ember. "See," it said, "now that this has touched your lips, your corruption is removed, and your sin is pardoned."
     Then I heard the voice of the Holy One saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?"
     "Here I am," I said, "send me!"
Isaiah 6:1-8

Guatemalan Rainbow Stole


Recently I was asked to share my story about how I hear the voice of God. At first I was a bit concerned. I have never really heard God speak to me. At least not an audible voice that I can point to and say, "On this day thus said the Holy One to me." How I wish I was an Isaiah, but I am not. Half the time, I'm not even sure if I'm a gay man who happens to be a minister, or if I'm a minister who happens to be gay. I tend to leave that for others to figure out. It is their choice in how they wish to relate to me. 

But all is not lost. For I do have a story for how God talks to me. It is a tale in three acts and like Isaiah, I am happy to share it with you.

Act One stars the voice of authenticity. This voice came with the accruements of my faith - bible, worship, and discipleship. I call this the Orthodox voice, not because of theological purity, but because it is a deep resonating voice arising from some large chamber of credibility and trustworthiness. At times I hid from this voice, like Darth Vader it came to indicate my failures. At times this voice thrilled me, as One with such gravitas would call me by name and be concerned with the trivialities of my life. This voice retreated over the years, yet once in a while, when a moment of grace breaks open, there is an echo of the booming bass. At these times I rest in the fullness of my faith tradition.

Act One anticipates the role of faith in shaping a young life. As the curtain closes, a youthful me stands like Charlton Heston's Moses before a thunderous voice.

Act Two opens upon a restless soul as I seek to navigate my faith journey as a gay person within the Christian tradition. In this restlessness comes the voiceless voice. Like an old friend standing behind us and we sense their presence, so the Mute gets my attention, silently relying on me to take notice. There is a curious "hmm," or "umm" which lingers and is not easily shaken off. These little nudges plant themselves like seeds and send their sprouts into my awareness. Because I am not always conscious of the Mute, the Mute can be easily dismissed. I use friends, colleagues, and mentors to confirm I've heard correctly. When I do listen, oh, the great and wonderful paths that open up. Ironic that it is the Mute who proves most directive in my life. 

Act Two wrestles with the tension of silence and listening. Like Hellen Keller making her way through the world of darkness, yet "seeing," as the curtains falls I shuffle across the stage with the Mute, yet listening. 

At one point, that was it. A two act play easily divided between childhood and adulthood.

But the voice of God came anew. This time it is feminine and appears in a white lab coat. She speaks from the wonders of cosmology, evolution, and the natural sciences. She tripped out over the writings of Karl Rahner and John Haught, much to my surprise. This prim, bun on the back of head, task oriented scientist quickly let me know that evolution is the language of God. God's syntax is there in the whole sweep of deep time, of chance and risk, of struggle and dead ends, of diversity and thickening of consciousness. When I set with the scientist she probes the nature of Divine Being, as one probes the personality of artists based on their art. She shakes my thinking. 

Act Three indicates my search for knowledge of God outside of faith traditions. The end of the third act finds me like an awe-struck student sitting at the wise professor's feet, in wonder of her wisdom and intuition. The scientists not only speaks of God, she speaks from God for she is Sophia, the wisdom of God. 

This concludes my three act play of Orthodox, Mute, and Sophia. Now it's your time. Come up on stage. What acts do you add to the voice of God?