A guest letter from Rev. A to the General Synod of 2016; one of a year-long daily series called #WeAretheRCA. To submit your own letter, leave a comment here or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear General Synod 2016,
I would like to share with you some of the consequences of your actions. I understand that many of you won’t care. You don’t know me. You don’t know my story or have seen the ministry that I’m doing. You weren’t thinking of me when you took your keypad and pressed 1 for ‘yes’ and 2 for ‘no’. Those words that you spoke, those substitutions that you brought, those decisions that you handed down have real ramifications for your siblings throughout the denomination and you should hear some of them.
The first thing that happened after General Synod (which I did not attend, but watched on the live stream) is that I could not get out of bed the next day. The weight of what just happened felt too heavy to stand up and face. See, there was just a mass shooting in a gay nightclub, proving that the world is clearly not a safe place for me to be. And there was just an incredibly ugly discourse at General Synod, proving that my spiritual home was clearly not a safe place for me to be. Dear General Synod 2016, have you ever felt that there was nowhere you could go to feel safe?
The second thing that happened is that I wanted to hurt myself. I’ve spent too much of my life being told that I am wrong, dirty, and disposable. I’ve internalized too much of that hate and have turned too often to self-harm. I wanted to cut my flesh with a razor blade, to hurt and bleed, to physically manifest the spiritual pain caused to me by hearing, once again, how hated I am. In my mind, if I can just get the pain out of my soul and into my body, then I can be done with it. But the damage and hurt doesn’t stop when the cuts heal. I just get more scars. Dear General Synod of 2016, have you ever thought about inflicting pain on yourself because you feel hated by 200 strangers?
The consequences of your actions, dear General Synod, have been for me to carry around shame, fear, and weariness in my bones. Perhaps this is what you want for us queers who seem to have no place in the Church you aim to purify.
What you probably didn’t anticipate was the incredible outpouring of love and support that I’ve gotten from faithful RCA ministers and members. I expected my queer family to check in with me, as we collectively stitch our hearts back together, and we have continued to take care of each other. We queers are very good at relying only on ourselves. However, it is the straight ally support that has buoyed me with so much hope that I dare to hold my head up and continue to participate in the denomination.
Dear General Synod 2016, thank you for reminding me how loved I am by inspiring so many to reach out and affirm my personhood and my ministry. I know you didn’t intend to do that, but all the same, thank you.