s the activists in our community continue to create
distance between themselves and plain people who don't
have the capacity to understand out of fear, the cause
of becoming one as community becomes more elusive. This
plays into the hands of those who would elect to
public office persons simply willing to manipulate
feelings for their vote rather than understand the
issues as they apply to the broader society. We are
now in trying times. When, or if, the economy fails
particularly, we could see a return to days when
politicians gained their stature by making examples of
select individuals in the gay-lesbian community. We
need to take on a differing approach and quickly.
The words of a song that I sang in youth choir growing
up in a rural community come back to mind often and I
wonder if we adopted that philosophy of life if it
wouldn't serve ourselves, our community and the
greater human community more effectively. We would
live more simply, be less identified with the values of
Western culture, which are basically material, and we
would be more focused on our relationships. Yes, this
could be said of any group of persons who adopted it,
but why not our community to initiate the lifestyle.
The simple words are:
" So send I you to labor without reward, to go unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown, to bear rebuke and though they may revile you, so send
I you to toil for me alone. "
I wish I knew the author and what prompted these lyrics.
How has this played out in my life? Well, in 2000, I
prayed about going into government service. I was an Americorp Fellow in an agency
that used my services, replacing a person who was
being paid many times more than I would as a Fellow.
The agency raised considerable public funds and
non-profit funds for the project I would administrate.
When I brought the paperwork to the attention of the
agency's oversight, they did nothing and wanted me to
file an Equal Opportunity complaint to mask the more
serious wrongdoing which initiated my resignation.
The agency picked what it would allow.
I then decided to work for another bureau and worked
in four settings, some historic and some in a natural
setting. On the first site, I was disturbed by the
language used during our lunch time. I was directed
to an Equal Opportunity counselor who posted the
regulations regarding discrimination. This didn't
prevent the site from posting a notice which suggested
that I was a dangerous person. The system which
examines complaints, even though the issues involved
public safety, human rights and egregious behavior,
were deemed " unreasonable " on my part, but I sought
another opportunity to serve.
A fundamentalist Christian, who would be my supervisor
at the next site accused me of lying on my government
form about negotiating my resignation from my previous
work. So I argued that position with another
oversight agency for them to say that my resignation
was for personal reasons and not forced or negotiated.
The fundamentalist sought personal advantage in his
supervision because he was not aware of himself.
But I continue to serve the public through this agency
because "so send I you to labor unrewarded … "
The reward is in serving beyond equal opportunity.
How can we bring this practically home?
It calls for us to adopt a strategy of spending more
time discussing how we can positively impact the
communities we interact with -- our work -- our
churches -- our families.
We need to be known not for our orientation, but for
serving selflessly and responsibly.
A bit too Pollyanna ? Try it on.