Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Coincidences from God

Sometimes I'm struck by coincidences so perfectly orchestrated as to almost have originated on God's drawing board. No, I'm not saying that they definitely did. But I'd sure like to think so. This previous week delivered another one of these moments so filled with coincidence as to have been a punch-line to one of God's comedies.

As some of you know, I first came to grad school and joined an evanglical campus ministry. After deciding to date my husband, the pastors decided to show us the door, wishing us the best of luck in another place where the people might agree with and love us more.

Having found the Quakers, a year later I was asked to be the Quaker representative to the Religious Workers Association, or RWA (for an earlier post explaining the RWA, see September 11th, 2008). The RWA changes venue from month-to-month and this past week was held at the former campus ministry I attended, which we'll just call MoveOn.Church. Independently of having known the venue, I had signed up for food duty. So what started out as a possibility for awkward time at the former MoveOn.Church offices became a time when I had to show up an additional 30 minutes early and stay about 20 minutes later so I could deal with food set-up and tear-down.

That just the beginning. A few days before the meeting, an email went out announcing who the university speaker would be for the meeting (note: each meeting has a speaker who deals with how campus ministries can interface better with the campus). The speaker announced in that email was none other than the director of the LGBT student resources office. Strange choice, considering the ministry, eh?

But what takes the cake is that the Jewish woman who introduced the speaker had a prefacing comment. She said "I've been a member of the RWA for 11 years and this is only the second time we've had the LGBT office speak at our meeting. And what I realized is that the one other time we've had the LGBT speaker, it was right here at MoveOn.Church. Not that I'm implying that says anything about your organization, but I found that interesting." Interesting indeed.

Afterward, the one MoveOn.Church pastor in attendance (the other, who was even more opposed to the decision made in the Great Gay Purge of 2007 at MoveOn.Church, didn't even show up) came up to me and said "hey, wasn't that wild, considering the history?" I appreciated him broaching the subject, since I didn't feel it was my place to do so. Yes, it was wild. And to this pastor's credit, he then invited me to have lunch with him sometime, if I felt like I had more to say to him about what all happened.

So to recap: gay student kicked out of evangelical church signs up for food duty at former church where an LGBT director challenges campus churches to help their LGBT students.

God, I love your sense of humor.

(Day 184)


Selly said...

I didn't realise that the pastor from MoveOn.Church (great name by the way) had talked to you. I already mentioned the irony of the dorm situation right? Maybe, God is really trying to say something. Or maybe he's not, who knows.

I am a little disappointed that pastor #1 wasn't there. Did you know before the meeting who the speaker was going to be? Not to infer that he didn't come to the meeting because he knew who was going to be speaking.

So are you going to take him up on the lunch invitation? I must say that I have always been very partial to Pastor #2 (and his wife too) and have only gotten more so with my (and others) interactions with them since the Great Purge.

Topher said...

Who knows whether God is or isn't saying something? I just like wondering.

The email about the LGBT speaker went out approximately 5 days ahead of the meeting, so Pastor #1 should have heard about the speaker. To be fair, though, he hadn't come to the previous meeting either.

I have been thinking about the lunch invitation and, in the end, I think I will decline. I have little new to say. And when I think about my experiences there, I am oftentimes bitter and remember things in a way that plays down the good and increases the bad. With such a mindset, I feel I would go into the conversation in a way to guarantee its failure at producing real and useful change.