Sunday, January 12, 2014

When Ministry Has a Public Face

A few months ago, I applied to be on the Board of Contributors to our local five-day-a-week newspaper which was looking for writers who would contribute op-ed columns of 750 words plus photos on a topic of local interest, once or twice during the next year.  I thought that sounded like a good way for me to offer a liberal religious perspective to this very diverse community.  They liked what they read of my work and invited me to be on the B of C.

Last week I got word from the managing editor of the Daily Astorian that, if possible, he'd like me to write the column for February on a topic of my choice and I eagerly accepted, suggesting the tentative title "From Anxiety to Advocacy" about my own journey from ignorance and angst about human homosexuality to my current firm stance as an advocate and ally of sexual minorities.

I got his email in the morning and in the afternoon I opened the DA to scan the local news and found a couple of blistering letters to the editor, with two very different views on my suggested topic, each letter-writer excoriating the other for his or her vile take on the topic of marriage equality and homosexuality in general.  One quoted scripture and the other quoted science in support of his/her views.

Maybe that was why the managing editor wrote back that my topic was "brilliant" and he was looking forward to seeing it.  I can just imagine him rubbing his hands together and chuckling wickedly as he anticipated the dustup to come when my piece is published. 

I'm not a chicken-heart, but I dislike confrontation and public disagreement, so this will be a challenge for me, but I think this topic is particularly germane as Oregon ramps up its campaign to get Marriage Equality on the ballot for next fall. 


UUXMNR said...

I, too, dislike confrontation. Mainly because when I feel threatened in argument I tend to get angry and arational very quickly!

However, I think that sharing one's journey is one of the most powerful ways to show people that change is possible, and desirable.

Best of luck with your column. I hope that it is well-received.

Lilylou said...

Thanks for your comment, UUXMNR. I agree with your perspective of sharing personal story as a way to change hearts. I'll post a link to the column when it appears in our newspaper.

David Cauffman said...

Well, since you got yourself into the spotlight... I think it's perfectly valid as well as important to 'speak your own truth', but you also might affect the quality of the dialogue if you invite those with differing views to do the same, deal with the ideas, and not cheapen the level of discourse by attacking the messengers. However unsatisfying, you'd have to model that too...

Lilylou said...

Thanks, Dave! Nice to hear from you!

Tom Schade said...

Dear Lily,
Good luck out there. Remember the people who support what you are saying are probably not saying anything out loud. If nobody responds, that's not a particularly good sign either.
You will do great, and be another voice for our shared values in the world

Lilylou said...

Thanks, Tom, I always appreciate your encouragement and also your own insights as you make them public for all of us in the UU ministry.
Kit Ketcham