Today is one of those big important days in my life.
25 years ago, 11/14/93, was a Sunday and, as usual, I went across the yard from the parsonage to the church that morning to get the heat on. Then, over a bowl of oatmeal and a strong cup of coffee, I went over my sermon notes and the order of worship for the day. I don’t remember the topic or the verse or anything other than that we had one of those good old fashioned congregationally-governed Baptist Business Meetings afterward.
Somewhere in the midst of it all, I started crying and couldn’t stop. I was still crying in February when I finally went to a doctor and started my first round of SSRIs. In June, I stepped down from my pastorate and later that summer, took a job with Target and moved from Bellingham to Bellevue.
The day it started, I was up to the brim with a faith full of misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, anti-science and climate change while part of a denomination that only existed due to Southern churches supporting slavery and starting their own thing back in the day. I voted to the right based on primarily social conservative ideals.
11/14/93 is the day I look to that started my path in a different direction. It was a slow, usually painful evolution. But I changed. Not because of public shamings or pressure but because of love and understanding and patient persistence. And because of the arts showing me a window into ideas and beliefs that were far bigger than the small box I’d crushed myself to fit into. And friends who showed up to teach me by example as I returned to writing, my childhood dream.
These folks that are all balled up in rage on the far right as the disenfranchised come into power — yes, there’s hate in there but it’s born of fear and ignorance. More hate and fear won’t help. But love and understanding and patience will.
Twenty five years later, I’m a very different fellow than that young narrow-minded boy preacher I used to be. We humans CAN change.
I mark the day as the beginning of the true newness of life I’ve plodded my way into over the years.
And of course, this path is marked and elaborated upon throughout my body of work but especially in my opus, The Psalms of Isaak, and in my music.
Every day, I’m glad I was willing to change my mind and to talk about that change along the way.