Open and Affirming

After a a recent local gathering, I mentioned to a friend how frustrated I am with not fitting in here. She asked, "Do you think anyone feels like they fit in?" I've been thinking about that question ever since she asked it, because I've had the sense that we were talking past each other. She was kindly and wisely pointing out that everyone feels different, but that's not what I meant.

When I think of fitting in, I'm not talking about blending in. I cannot imagine a group entirely made up of people like me (merciful heavens). To me, fitting in means that there's space for my unique shape. The puzzle pieces aren't identical, but nobody has to grab the scissors to force everything into place. It's not about homogeneity, it's about acceptance-- and I've had that. I still have that, in a surprising number of places. But I don't have much of it locally, and it's damn lonely. I appreciate the people who really know me so much more now.

Are there places where you fit it, where you're loved (and known) as you are? Is church one of them, or is that a place where people don't really see and hear each other? We talk about Open and Affirming churches as ones that are LGBT friendly, and that's really important to me-- but I wonder, can we take it beyond that? Can we celebrate the craftsmanship displayed in each person's particular self?

I want everyone to be welcome. When I think of call and ministry (which I do, all the bloody time, because I can't get the topic to shut up in my head), over and over I think of hospitality, which I understand to mean welcoming each unique God-beloved soul. And I think that's how people fit it.


  1. SarahB11:35 AM

    I think I know what you mean. I felt much this way in Vegas. Yes, I did have friends and a good church, but I never felt like I belonged there.

  2. SB: It seems that there are places that are less accommodating than others, at least for some of us. I'm glad you're where you are now (and I'm glad it's closer)!

  3. I've never belonged anywhere...either...

    And I think the only comfort is with fellow travelers.

  4. I'm not saying I've never belonged anywhere-- I guess I wasn't clear there.

    But I'm glad you've found simpatico travelers.

  5. Ahhh, Pennsylvania. Though I am sure it is the same elsewhere. My place of worship experienced amazing growth (before my time) which chased many of the regulars out, then we had a crash (during my time) in population so what is left is a new foundation of sorts. I feel accepted as I am.

  6. I think I understand: I often feel that way with my spouses, because I am always thinking/talking about politics or religion and that is, um, well, not their topic of conversation. As a result, I feel I need to keep that part quiet. I like these women, but I feel truncated. (That's not the right word, unwhole? not filled out to the edges?)

  7. Wow...this is amazing and I could have written part of it.

    I am not a fitter inner. Yet, I get along with everyone.

    The place that I do fit in is work and that is amazing.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins