Episcopal Diocese of Washington

To draw people to Jesus and embody his love
for the world by equipping faith communities,
promoting spiritual growth, and striving for justice

Bishop's Writings Author: The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde

Way of the Cross as the Way of Life

February 25, 2021

Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
Mark 8:34-35

You can’t be a follower of Jesus for long without making your peace with paradox, for Jesus often says things that don’t seem to make sense, but are in fact true.  

In church this Sunday you’ll hear Jesus speak perhaps the greatest paradox of faith. He and his disciples are on their way to Jerusalem, which is where his disciples imagine Jesus will claim his power as the Messiah. Instead, Jesus tries to prepare them for the fact that he will undergo great suffering and be killed. When they try to convince him otherwise, he tells them that if they want to follow him, they, too, must pick up their cross of suffering. Understandably Jesus’ words don’t make sense to them. How can greatness be revealed in suffering? How does death lead to life?

What’s striking is Jesus’ matter-of-fact acceptance that suffering is not only a part of life, but an essential part of the spiritual path. He assumes that everyone has a cross to bear. The only question is whether we will rail against it or choose to carry our cross with some modicum of grace, accepting it as our own and finding the life it brings.

To be sure, there is nothing to be gained by needless, senseless suffering, or what psychiatrists call false suffering, which is the pain we experience as a by-product of avoiding something else. How, then, can we distinguish between our sufferings, in order to lay down the crosses that do not belong to us and pick up the ones that do? 

One distinction might be in the fruits of suffering. Is our suffering helping us to grow, or only confirming our fears and keeping us small? The kind of suffering Jesus endured and that he encourages us to embrace always has redemption of some kind on the other side. In contrast, false suffering causes pain that leads nowhere. “Choose your pain,” a wise person said to me. “Whichever path you choose will involve pain. Which pain carries the promise of life?”

The truest test of whether a cross is ours to bear is when we don’t have the option to lay it down. The only choice we have is how we will carry it. Benedictine nun Joan Chittister once described the will of God as what remains of a situation after we try without stint and pray without ceasing to change it. Then Jesus’ prayer at Gethsemane becomes our own: “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. But thy will, not mine, be done.” 

Our crosses require us to let go of something we love or had hoped for, because life demands it, even though we had wished for something else. And it hurts as much as cutting off a limb or tearing out our heart. 

The paradox--the mystery of faith--is this: when we bear the cross that has come to us, God gives us more of ourselves in return. Our selves become grounded in the love of Christ, for us and through us. I don’t know how this works. I only know that it does. 

The key is to accept the cross for what it is--the hardest possible thing asked of us--and to embrace it as our destiny, even if we would run far from it if we could. In that acceptance, we join our will to God’s, moving from being victims of fate or circumstance to active agents of our own transformation. We make room for Christ within ourselves that he occupies with love, helping us to become even more of the self we were created to be, even as we’re being stripped away of parts of ourselves that we hate to lose. Through what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “unmerited, redemptive suffering” we play a small part in Jesus’ transformation of the world.

In the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, of all places, we find this prayer: 

Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your tender love
in sending Jesus Christ to come among us, to be born of a human mother,
and to make the way of the cross to be the way of life.

The way of the cross as the way of life is the great paradox at the heart of Christian faith. It doesn't seem to make sense, but it’s true. 

Lent is a particularly fruitful time to consider the particular cross that is yours to accept. You needn’t pretend that it doesn’t hurt. It’s enough to name it and do your best to carry it. Remember that Jesus is there to help you shoulder it. Dare to trust that God’s grace will not only sustain you, but honor your suffering and help transform the loss you experience into a way of life. Rest assured that others will know something of grace and love because of the cross you accept and carry.  


El Camino de la Cruz como el Camino de la Vida

February 25, 2021

Jesús llamó a sus discípulos y a la gente, y dijo: Si alguno quiere ser discípulo mío, olvídese de sí mismo, cargue con su cruz y sígame. Porque el que quiera salvar su vida, la perderá; pero el que pierda la vida por causa mía y por aceptar el evangelio, la salvará. 
Marcos 8:34-35

No puedes ser seguidor de Jesús por mucho tiempo sin hacer las paces con la paradoja, porque Jesús a menudo dice cosas que no parecen tener sentido, pero que son, de hecho, verdaderas.

En la iglesia este domingo escucharás a Jesús hablar tal vez de la mayor paradoja de la fe. Él y sus discípulos están en camino a Jerusalén, que es donde sus discípulos imaginan que Jesús reclamará su poder como Mesías. En cambio, Jesús trata de prepararlos para el hecho de que sufrirá un gran sufrimiento y será asesinado. Cuando tratan de convencerlo de otra manera, les dice que si quieren seguirlo, ellos también deben cargar su cruz de sufrimiento. Es comprensible que las palabras de Jesús no tengan sentido para ellos. ¿Cómo puede revelarse la grandeza en el sufrimiento? ¿Cómo lleva la muerte a la vida?

Lo sorprendente es la aceptación de Jesús del hecho de que el sufrimiento no es sólo una parte de la vida, sino una parte esencial del camino espiritual. Asume que todo el mundo tiene una cruz que cargar. La única pregunta es si vamos a luchar contra ella o elegir llevar nuestra cruz con algún mínimo de gracia, aceptarla como la nuestra y encontrar la vida que trae.

Sin duda, no hay nada de ganancia en el sufrimiento innecesario, sin sentido, o lo que los psiquiatras llaman sufrimiento falso, que es el dolor que experimentamos como un subproducto de evitar otra cosa. Entonces, ¿cómo podemos distinguir entre nuestros sufrimientos, para dejar a un lado las cruces que no nos pertenecen y cargar las que sí son nuestras?

Una distinción podría estar en los frutos del sufrimiento. ¿Nuestro sufrimiento nos está ayudando a crecer, o sólo confirmando nuestros miedos y manteniéndonos pequeños? El tipo de sufrimiento que Jesús soportó y que él nos anima a abrazar siempre tiene algún tipo de redención. Sin embargo, el sufrimiento falso causa dolor que no conduce a ninguna parte. "Elige tu dolor", me dijo una persona sabia. "Cualquiera que sea el camino que elijas implicará dolor. ¿Qué dolor lleva la promesa de la vida?"

La prueba más verdadera de si debemos cargar una cruz como nuestra es cuando no tenemos la opción de decidir. La única opción que tenemos es cómo la cargaremos. Joan Chittister, monja benedictina, describió una vez sobre la voluntad de Dios como lo que queda de una situación después de que tratamos de orar por ella sin dejar de cambiarla. Entonces la oración de Jesús en Getsemaní se vuelve nuestra: "Si es posible, deja que esta copa pase de mí. Pero que se haga tu voluntad, no la mía”.

Nuestras cruces requieren que dejemos de lado algo que amamos o esperábamos, porque la vida lo exige, a pesar de que habíamos deseado algo más. Y duele tanto como cuando nos cortamos una extremidad o si nos arrancaran el corazón.  

La paradoja -el misterio de la fe- es la siguiente: cuando cargamos la cruz que nos ha llegado, Dios nos da más de nosotros mismos a cambio. Nuestro ser se basa en el amor de Cristo, para nosotros y a través de nosotros. No sé cómo funciona esto. Sólo sé que sí funciona.

La clave es aceptar la cruz por lo que es -lo más difícil posible que se nos pide- y abrazarla como nuestro destino, incluso si pudiéramos quedáramos lejos de ella. En esa aceptación, unimos nuestra voluntad a la de Dios, pasando de ser víctimas del destino o de las circunstancias a agentes activos de nuestra propia transformación. Hacemos espacio para Cristo dentro de nosotros mismos, para que él llene con amor, ayudándonos a llegar a ser aún más el ser que fuimos creados a ser, incluso cuando estamos siendo despojados de partes de nosotros mismos que odiamos perder. A través de lo que el Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. llamó “sufrimiento inmerecido y redentor” jugamos un pequeño papel en la transformación del mundo de Jesús.

En la celebración y bendición de un matrimonio, encontramos esta oración: 

Dios de toda bondad, te damos gracias por tu benigno amor 
al enviar a Jesucristo a venir entre nosotros, por nacer de una madre humana, 
y por transformar el camino de la cruz en el sendero de la vida. 

El camino de la cruz como el camino de la vida es la gran paradoja en el corazón de la fe cristiana. Parece que no tiene sentido, pero es cierto.

La Cuaresma es un momento particularmente fructífero para considerar la cruz particular que debes aceptar como tuya. No necesitas fingir que no duele. Es suficiente nombrarlo y hacer todo lo posible por llevarla. Recuerda que Jesús está ahí para ayudarte a arrimar el hombro. Atrévete a confiar en que la gracia de Dios no sólo te sostendrá, sino que honrará tu sufrimiento y ayudará a transformar en vida la pérdida que experimentas. Ten la seguridad de que los demás sabrán algo de gracia y amor debido a la cruz que aceptas y cargas.


Wilderness Living

February 21, 2021

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
Mark 1:9-15

Good morning, friends of Christ Church. It is good to be with you at long last. While I would much prefer to be with you in person, we are blessed to be able to worship together via technology. Special thanks to your good priest-in-charge, Rev. Fanny, and your vestry, for their leadership.

Taking inspiration from the story we just heard and that we read in church every year on the first Sunday of the spiritual season patterned after Jesus’ 40 days’ in the wilderness,  I’d like to reflect with you on the nature of wilderness experiences in our own lives and what they can teach us.  

According to the Gospel of Mark, the same Spirit that descended upon Jesus as a dove when he rose from the waters of baptism drove him into the wilderness where he was tempted by Satan. Other versions of this same story suggest that Jesus went out into the wilderness of his own accord. Either way, to the wilderness he went. 

Sometimes we choose to enter a wilderness of one form or another; sometimes we are driven there by God or by circumstance, and sometimes the wilderness comes to us, catching us off guard. We go to the wilderness by choice when we know that it’s time to make a change, a change that carries with it some degree of risk, a change that takes us to the edge of who we are now and beyond. God calls us into the wilderness, or drives us there, when we’re being prepared or tested for a future call or invited into a deeper relationship with Him. The wilderness comes to us when we’re confronted with circumstances or a change that we weren’t expecting, 

What defines a wilderness, be it an actual location or an internal state, is that it takes us beyond the edge of what’s familiar and predictable. In that new place, physical or internal, our senses are awakened, and our awareness is heightened. We might go into the wilderness for the best of reasons--the birth of a child, acceptance of a new job, beginning retirement. Or it could be thrust upon us by circumstances we would never choose or wish upon anyone else. 

I did something two weeks ago that thrust a lot of people I care about into a wilderness of pain and sense of betrayal from the church they had hoped was a safe place for them and those they loved. I would do anything to reverse that decision now, but I can’t, and so the best I can do is enter that wilderness with them to the extent they will allow me in. While in no way equal to their pain, my wilderness is living with the dissonance, the disconnect between the person I want to be and what I have done. It’s not the first time, nor the last, surely, that I will be confronted with my sin. One of the dangers of public leadership is the increasing cost of one’s mistakes for other people. I can only pray that the walk toward reckoning will allow for God’s grace to enter in, and multi-generational pain, in time, to be healed. I’m also reminded, painfully so, that for some, the wilderness--living on the edge--is all that they know. 

Let me state here what many have said and what you may be thinking: we have all been living in the wilderness of COVID-19 for over a year. Because of the pandemic and its effects, we’ve all been living beyond the edge of life as we knew it, some far more than others. While there is hope on the horizon, we still don’t know when we’ll be able to speak of this wilderness in the past tense. “I hadn't planned on giving this much up for Lent,” someone wryly posted on social media this time last year. Throughout the year the losses continued to mount. 

So I daresay, as Lent rolls around again, that we are all experts at wilderness living. 

For all its hardships, we've learned a lot from this wilderness and are continuing to learn. For most of us, COVID-19 wasn’t the first wilderness we’ve lived through, or even  the only one we’re in now. And we know that how we choose to live in it makes all the difference in the world. 

At a diocesan leadership retreat Bishop Chilton shared with a small group of us that for Lent this year, she felt that God was inviting her to let go of the word ‘when,’ as in when could she see her son again, or when would she feel safe to go to the grocery store. “‘When’ puts my focus on the future, which I can’t control,” she said, “and it takes my focus away from my life here and now. God is inviting me to live in the present moment, not in some distant ‘when.’” Focusing on the gifts and tasks of each day helps us all experience God’s grace through small things that we might otherwise miss. 

Let me suggest to you that the purpose of Lent is to help prepare us for our real-life wilderness experiences by reminding us of what we already know and need to hold onto when we’re living beyond the edge of what’s familiar.  

Here are some of the things I’ve learned and continue to learn about wilderness living. 

The first wilderness task is to accept where we are. No matter how we got here, when we’re in a wilderness, there is little to be gained by complaint or blame. Allowing ourselves to feel the wide range of emotion that being in the wilderness evokes is part of  what acceptance requires, while at the same time recognizing that not every emotion needs to be acted upon or taken as the sole interpreter of reality. The sooner we accept our new reality and make our home here, the better off we’ll be. 

A second wilderness task is to focus on daily sustenance, distinguishing between wants and needs. Simplicity is what sustains us in the wilderness. All of the classic Lenten disciplines, such as fasting or other forms of self-denial were never meant to be harsh; at their best, they are a course correction, a way of placing in check some of our less healthy habits and examining our daily practices of self-care.

A third wilderness task is learning to share the responsibilities of caring for the wider community. We tend to think of our wilderness experiences as solitary ones, with significance only for us, but when we’ve been in the wilderness for a while, we realize that we are not alone. The way we get through it is by caring for each other. Dr. Anthony Fauci, known for his expertise in stemming the tide of the virus, once said in response to those unwilling to wear masks in public, “I don’t know how to convince you to care for other people.” Our suffering can open our eyes to the suffering of others; it can soften our hearts. 

The last and most important wilderness task that I’ll mention here is learning to trust that God is present. While stripped of so much, we can experience a depth of spiritual connection to God utterly unique to the wilderness. As we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and completely honest in our prayers, our relationship with God in Christ becomes more real, a source of daily guidance and abiding love. 

Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness harkens back, biblically, to another wilderness time, when the people of Israel wandered in their wilderness from slavery to freeedom for 40 years. Those wilderness stories are a treasure trove when we find ourselves in wildernesses of our own. I’ll end with one of them--the story of manna falling from the sky. You may recall that the Israelites fled Egypt in haste, with Pharaoh's soldiers in pursuit behind them. After God rescued them, the people of Israel rejoiced but also wondered what they were to do next. How would they live? Where were they to go? What would they eat? 

In that wilderness time, God provided for them what they needed for food in the form of a substance that fell from the sky that they could gather up each morning, sufficient for the day, but only for the day. If they tried to hoard the manna, it would rot. It was only enough for each day. I think back on what Bishop Chilton said about letting go of the word ‘when,’ as a way to focus on each day.  

I leave you with the image of manna--God giving what you need, what I need, for each day, as we make our way through whatever wilderness we find ourselves in. Pray with me now as we enter Lent--the spiritual season that teaches us how to live with grace and gratitude no matter where we are.

Let us pray: Lord, I give you thanks for all those gathered here today, the faithful of Christ Church, Clinton. I lift each one before you, and all whom they love and carry in their hearts. May your grace, your sustenance, your manna sustain them in the wildernesses of their lives. Lead them, Lord; lead us all through the wilderness to the promise of life that awaits us on the other side. In Jesus’ name and in the Spirit’s power, we pray. Amen.


Hearing From Those We've Hurt

February 10, 2021

I would like to apologize for the hurt caused in inviting Max Lucado to preach at Washington National Cathedral, and for not heeding the appeals that came to Dean Hollerith and me prior to Sunday, February 7 asking us to reconsider. I didn’t take the time to truly listen to your concerns. In a desire to welcome a wide variety of Christian voices to the Cathedral pulpit and on the assumption that Max Lucado no longer believed the painful things he said in 2004, I made you feel at risk and unwelcome in your spiritual home. I am sorry.  

In the days since, I have heard from those who were not only wounded by things Max Lucado has said and taught, but equally wounded by the decision to welcome him into the Cathedral’s pulpit. I didn't realize how deep those wounds were and how unsafe the world can feel. I should have known better.

More than apology, we seek to make amends. As a beginning, we invite all who wish to speak of their experiences in the church as LGBTQ+ persons and their allies to join Dean Hollerith and me for a listening session on Sunday, February 21 at 7:00 p.m. EST. Register for the discussion   

I share, with permission, excerpts from some of the people who wrote to me this week. Their voices are the ones we did not listen to, and theirs the pain endured by our actions. I am listening now, and so is Dean Hollerith.  

** As a gay man of faith who grew up in the south, my parents were heavily influenced by Mr. Lucado's words of hate. It took years for me to work with them to overcome rehetoric such as from Mr. Lucado and for them to find the Grace to accept that I am not only a gay man, but a gay Christian. This was a painful process for us both, and while certainly Mr. Lucado is not solely responsible for the unfortunate homophobia that exists within many denominations of Christianity, he has certainly had a harmful impact on the LGBTQ+ rights movement within Christian circles and has actively contributed to a culture of hatred and exclusion within Christianity. **

** As the mother of a transgender child, I am sad and confused about the choice to invite him. . . Sadly my child does not feel that we have "won." As a transfeminine person, gay marriage is no real victory as they worry if they will even make it past 30 living in the identity that they do. Every day is a battle to be in the world - a world that fears people like my child and very often extinguishes them. **  


** In truth, I still had to force myself to listen to Lucado’s message. Though he had some insightful things to say, having lived in the South for 59 years, I could feel the underlying condemnation that Lucado and his followers have cast upon the LGBT people, but also anyone who does not buy into their dogma. Because of this type of message, I am estranged from my family because after 50 years I finally tired of my mother and sister’s condemnation of me for my lifestyle. The irony of it all is that I have spent my entire life in service to G-d and the church. **


** This morning in my quiet time, I was pondering why the events of this past weekend were so upsetting and why I am still so shaken. I know analogies don’t always land but my stunning and brilliant wife suggested this one: You’re at a family dinner and the man who abused you is there. He has never confessed or tried to heal things. Your mother knows of the abuse, invites him anyway, and suggests (again) that it’s important for you not to bring up the abuse and to be polite because he is family. This is not the first time she has invited those who hurt members of the family in this way. And each time those who have borne the brunt of the abuse are expected to be silent -- and even expected to eagerly learn from them. And this time it’s not just a regular dinner, it’s a special Sunday dinner. He’s given the place of honor at the head of the table and expected to ask God’s blessing. **


** My husband  and I were saddened by the invitation extended to Max Lucado to preach from the Canterbury pulpit. It leaves us feeling shaken and unsure. The decision to invite Bishop Gene Robinson to preside on Sunday felt like a strange appeasement. . . Marriage equality is not the only issue for the LGBTQ community and our families. Trans people are murdered every day on our streets and young people who identify as LGBTQ end their own lives in terrifying numbers. We are left feeling hurt and disregarded. The Cathedral ploughed right ahead to provide a platform to Rev. Lucado, even though it must have been apparent the hurt this was causing. As a gay couple in our 50’s, we have always been aware that our society often feels it can debate our right to happiness, or even whether we can be full participants in the church. **


** Certainly you must know the deep harm caused by the conversion therapies Max Lucado supports, and that conversion therapies have been rejected as "dangerous and discredited" by the American Psychiatric Association. You must know the alarming suicide rates among LGBTQ teens who have been subjected to the unholy torture of conversion therapy. If you have never had the experience of pastoring a family through the suicide of their teen, I do not wish that on you. If you have, you understand what it means that 40% of LGBTQ teens say they have seriously considered suicide. To hear you say we must "find common ground" and step out of our "echo chambers" made me weep. **


** Living in San Antonio for 15 years, we got the full experience of evangelical Christianity and the types of people who fund Rev. Lucado's church, which wasn't far from our first home there. I've been denied hospital chaplain positions, had to hide my spouse's identity when I worked as a private school chaplain, been yelled at by parents as I protected our LGBTQIA students' right to have a special interest group as part of our overall club structure, etc. Had my elderly parents not needed me, I would still be living in the UK where I had more civil rights than I do in my home state in a country whose uniform I wore proudly for 22 years, albeit in the closet. No, we don't know how this ends. **


** Part of my ministry in the world is as a church finder for wounded seekers who want to return to a safe Christian community. Some are gay people recovering from being kicked out of their churches or from years of hearing that they are less than from pastors like Max Lucado. Some are women recovering from harsh fundamentalist traditions. Max Lucado is a person who has no doubt inflicted this kind of harm on LGBTQ+ Christians and likely, women, as well. I am also writing as the mother of a transgender queer child who has grown up in the Episcopal Church, worshiped in person and online at the National Cathedral, and who has found loving acceptance in her home church. To see the Cathedral celebrating this preacher is hurtful. **


** If you are not hearing and seeing the LGBTQIA+ Episcopalians and allies who are saying, “I’m not sure I’m safe, I’m not sure I belong, I’m not sure I can trust the leadership of this denomination, I’m not sure I should keep sharing my gifts in this institution…”, then perhaps you need to do some prayerful looking and listening. I have been seeing words like that everywhere I look, over the past few days. . . And it doesn’t help at all to tell people, “This is just the National Cathedral, it doesn’t say anything about our parish/diocese.” What people see and hear is that Episcopal church leaders claim to have their backs, but do things that hurt them, and then don’t listen when they speak up. That tarnishes all of us. It damages our witness and ministry churchwide. **


** If the invited preacher were a known white supremacist would the Cathedral make the same accommodations for him? Isn’t racial equality an undebatable subject? Wouldn’t the harm to people of color be immediately spotted given history and the church’s history? I would say it is comparable for LGBT people, the cost. **


** Inviting Mr Lucado to preach at your pulpit was irresponsible. He does not share our view of Christ’s Love. He puts people in the category of “other.” He represents a tradition of white men in power who diminish women, gays, black and brown people, and anyone who resists their power. . . He represents a throughline to those who have used God’s name to demean me -- because I am adopted from an unwed mother, because I am a survivor of sexual assault, because I am gay. With one action, you turned what I have valued as a safe space every Sunday since the start of the pandemic to one which -- at least for one Sunday -- was unsafe. **


** I would be remiss not to call this out -- “THIS IS US!”. . . These actions are not one-offs, and involve all marginalized groups. These actions are a manifestation of the ugliness that’s in “us” within the Episcopal Church -- TEC and across dioceses, including EDOW. I implore you to openly acknowledge this reality in the Episcopal Church -- the work of striving for justice and peace is as important inside the Episcopal Church as it is in the world outside of our corporate body. **

Reading your words has broken my heart, and I will carry them going forward. Thanks to all who have written or posted about your thoughts, feelings, and lived experiences. Your courage in speaking out should not have been necessary. Again, I am sorry for the pain we inflicted.  

Once more, I invite all who wish to speak of their experiences in the church as LGBTQ+ persons and their allies to join Dean Hollerith and me on Sunday, February 21 at 7:00 p.m. EST. Register for the discussion

In addition, I invite you to read a message from Dean Hollerith

May God order our steps going forward.

Bishop Mariann

Escuchar de Aquellos que Hemos Herido

February 10, 2021

Me gustaría disculparme por el daño causado al invitar a Max Lucado a predicar en la Catedral Nacional de Washington, y por no prestar atención a los llamamientos que llegaron al Deán Hollerith y a mí antes del domingo 7 de febrero, pidiéndonos que reconsideráramos la decisión. No me tomé el tiempo para escuchar sus preocupaciones. Con el deseo de acoger a una amplia variedad de voces cristianas al púlpito de la Catedral y en el supuesto de que Max Lucado ya no creyera en las cosas dolorosas que dijo en 2004, les hice sentir en riesgo y no bienvenidos en su hogar espiritual. Lo siento.

En los días posteriores, he escuchado a aquellos que fueron heridos por las cosas que Max Lucado ha dicho y enseñado, así como por  la decisión de darle la bienvenida en el púlpito de la Catedral. No me di cuenta de lo profundo que eran esas heridas y de lo inseguro que puede sentirse el mundo. Debí haberlo sabido mejor.

Más que disculpas, tratamos de enmendar. Como comienzo, invitamos a todos los que deseen hablar de sus experiencias en la iglesia como personas LGBTQ+ y sus aliados a unirse al Deán Hollerith y a mí persona el domingo 21 de febrero a las 7:00 p.m. EST. Regístrese para la discusión.

Comparto, con su consentimiento, extractos de algunas de las personas que me escribieron esta semana. Sus voces son las que no escuchamos mientras sufrían por nuestras acciones. Estoy escuchando ahora, y el Deán Hollerith también.

**Como hombre gay de fe que creció en el sur, mis padres estaban fuertemente influenciados por las palabras de odio del Sr. Lucado. Me tomó años trabajar con ellos para superar la retórica del Sr. Lucado y para que ellos encontraran la Gracia de aceptar que no sólo soy un hombre gay, sino un cristiano gay. Este fue un proceso doloroso para ambos, y aunque ciertamente el Sr. Lucado no es el único responsable de la desafortunada homofobia que existe dentro de muchas denominaciones del cristianismo, ciertamente ha tenido un impacto perjudicial en el movimiento de derechos LGBTQ dentro de los círculos cristianos y ha contribuido activamente a una cultura de odio y exclusión dentro del cristianismo.**


**Como madre de un niño transgénero, estoy triste y confundida acerca de la opción de invitarlo... Lamentablemente, mi hijo no siente que hemos "ganado". Como persona transfemenina, el matrimonio gay no es una victoria real, ya que se preocupan si incluso lo harán más allá de los 30 años viviendo en su identidad. Cada día es una batalla para estar en el mundo - un mundo que teme a personas como mi hijo y muy a menudo los mata.**


**En verdad, todavía tenía que forzarme a escuchar el mensaje de Lucado. Aunque él tenía algunas cosas perspicaces que decir, habiendo vivido en el sur por 59 años, podía sentir la condena subyacente que Lucado y sus seguidores han lanzado sobre el pueblo LGBT, pero también cualquier persona que no acepta su dogma. Debido a este tipo de mensaje, estoy distanciada de mi familia porque después de 50 años finalmente me cansé de la condena de mi madre y mi hermana por mi estilo de vida. La ironía de todo esto es que he pasado toda mi vida en servicio a Di-s y a la iglesia.**

**Esta mañana en mi tiempo de tranquilidad, estaba reflexionando por qué los acontecimientos de este fin de semana pasado fueron tan perturbadores y por qué todavía estoy tan conmocionado. Sé que las analogías no siempre aterrizan, pero mi impresionante y brillante esposa sugirió esto: Estás en una cena familiar y el hombre que te abusó está allí. Nunca ha confesado o tratado de sanar las cosas. Tu madre conoce el abuso, lo invita de todos modos, y sugiere (una vez más), que es importante que no hables sobre el abuso y que seas educado porque es familia. No es la primera vez que invita a los que lastiman a los miembros de la familia de esta manera. Y cada vez que se espera que los que han soportado la peor parte del abuso guarden silencio -- e incluso se espera que aprendan con entusiasmo de ellos.**

**A mi esposo y a mí nos entristeció la invitación que se extendió a Max Lucado para predicar desde el púlpito de Canterbury. Nos deja sintiéndonos inconmovibles e inseguros. La decisión de invitar al Obispo Gene Robinson a presidir el domingo se sintió como un extraño apaciguamiento... La igualdad matrimonial no es el único problema para la comunidad LGBTQ y nuestras familias. Las personas trans son asesinadas todos los días en nuestras calles y los jóvenes que se identifican como LGBTQ terminan sus propias vidas en cantidades aterradoras. La Catedral puso el dedo en la llaga al proporcionar una plataforma al Reverendo Lucado, aunque debió haber sido evidente el daño que esto estaba causando. Como pareja gay en nuestros 50 años, siempre hemos sido conscientes de que nuestra sociedad a menudo siente que puede debatir nuestro derecho a la felicidad, o incluso si podemos ser participantes plenos en la iglesia.**

**Ciertamente, usted debe conocer el profundo daño causado por las terapias de conversión que apoya Max Lucado, y que las terapias de conversión han sido rechazadas como "peligrosas y desacreditadas" por la Asociación Psiquiátrica Americana. Usted debe saber las alarmantes tasas de suicidio entre los adolescentes LGBTQ que han sido sometidos a la tortura profana de la terapia de conversión. Si usted nunca ha tenido la experiencia de pastorear a una familia a través del suicidio de su adolescente, no deseo eso para usted. Si la tiene, entenderá lo que significa que el 40% de los adolescentes LGBTQ dicen que han considerado seriamente el suicidio. Oírle decir que debemos "encontrar un terreno común" y salir de nuestras "cámaras de eco" me hizo llorar.**

**Viviendo en San Antonio durante 15 años, tuvimos la experiencia completa del cristianismo evangélico y los tipos de personas que financian la iglesia del Reverendo Lucado, que no estaba lejos de nuestro primer hogar allí. Me han negado las posiciones de capellán en el hospital, tuve que ocultar la identidad de mi cónyuge cuando trabajé como capellán de una escuela privada, me han gritado los padres mientras protegía el derecho de nuestros estudiantes de LGBTQIA a tener un grupo de interés especial como parte de nuestra estructura general del club, etc. Si mis padres ancianos no me hubieran necesitado, seguiría viviendo en el Reino Unido, donde tenía más derechos civiles que en mi estado natal en un país cuyo uniforme llevaba orgullosamente durante 22 años, aunque en el armario. No, no sabemos cómo termina esto.**


**Parte de mi ministerio en el mundo es como un buscador de iglesias para los buscadores de heridos que quieren regresar a una comunidad cristiana segura. Algunos son homosexuales que se están recuperando de ser expulsados de sus iglesias o de años de oír que son menos que pastores como Max Lucado. Algunas son mujeres que se están recuperando de duras tradiciones fundamentalistas. Max Lucado es una persona que sin duda ha infligido este tipo de daño a los cristianos LGBTQ y probablemente a las mujeres, también. También estoy escribiendo como la madre de un niño queer transgénero que ha crecido en la Iglesia Episcopal, adorado en persona y en línea en la Catedral Nacional, y que ha encontrado la aceptación amorosa en su iglesia de origen. Ver la Catedral celebrando a este predicador es doloroso.**


**Si no está escuchando y viendo a los Episcopales y aliados de LGBTQIA que dicen: “no estoy seguro de que esté a salvo, no estoy seguro de que pertenezca, no estoy seguro de que pueda confiar en el liderazgo de esta denominación, no estoy seguro de que deba seguir compartiendo mis dones en esta institución...”, entonces tal vez necesites hacer un poco de oración mirando y escuchando. He estado viendo palabras como esas en todas partes que miro, en los últimos días… Y no ayuda en absoluto decir a la gente, "esto es solo la Catedral Nacional, no dice nada sobre nuestra parroquia/diócesis". Lo que la gente ve y oye es que los líderes de la iglesia Episcopal dicen que nos protegen, pero hacen cosas que los dañan, y luego no escuchan cuando hablan. Eso nos hiere a todos. Daña nuestro testimonio y ministerio en toda la iglesia.**

**Si el predicador invitado fuera un conocido supremacista blanco, ¿haría la Catedral la misma invitación a él? ¿No es la igualdad racial un tema discutible? ¿No se vería inmediatamente el daño a las personas de color dada la historia de la iglesia? Yo diría que el costo es comparable para las personas LGBT.**

**Invitar al señor Lucado a predicar en su púlpito fue irresponsable. Él no comparte nuestra visión del Amor de Cristo. Pone a la gente en la categoría de "otros". Representa una tradición de hombres blancos en el poder que disminuyen a las mujeres, los gays, los negros, las personas de color y a cualquier persona que se resiste a su poder… Él representa un movimiento a través del cual se ha usado el nombre de Dios para degradarme -- porque soy adoptado por una madre soltera, porque soy un sobreviviente de asalto sexual, porque soy gay. Con una sola acción, usted cambió lo que he valorado como un espacio seguro todos los domingos desde el comienzo de la pandemia, y lo ha convertido -- al menos durante un domingo -- en un lugar inseguro.**

**Sería negligente no decir esto --¡ESTO SOMOS NOSOTROS!"... Estas acciones no son una sola cosa, e involucran a todos los grupos marginados. Estas acciones son una manifestación de lo feo que hay en “nosotros” dentro de la Iglesia Episcopal -- TEC y a través de las diócesis, incluyendo EDOW. Les imploro que reconozcan abiertamente esta realidad en la Iglesia Episcopal -- el trabajo de luchar por la justicia y la paz es tan importante dentro de la Iglesia Episcopal como lo es en el mundo fuera de nuestro cuerpo corporativo.**

Leer sus palabras me ha roto el corazón, y las llevaré adelante. Gracias a todos los que han escrito o publicado sobre sus pensamientos, sentimientos y experiencias vividas. Su valentía al hablar no debería haber sido necesario. Una vez más, lamento el dolor que hemos infligido.

Una vez más, invito a todos los que deseen hablar de sus experiencias en la iglesia como personas LGBTQ y sus aliados a unirse a Dean Hollerith y a mí el domingo 21 de febrero a las 7:00 p.m. EST. Regístrese para la discusión

Además, los invito a leer un mensaje de Deán Hollerith.

Que Dios ordene nuestros pasos en el futuro.

Obispa Mariann


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