Becoming a prophet is not a career path one contemplates when considering one’s future career. It is a calling. A calling both irritating and irresistible. If I have in any way lived a prophetic life only some of it has been responding to God’s call. The rest has been giving in. And let me repeat, I am not that good at it.
Prophets love people and they’re pissed off. Their calls to repentance are for the community to return to its source. To love God. To do justice. To remember who they are to God and to one another. Sure, they’re bitchy and angry. Injustice makes them angrier than a bee swarm in a tornado. Prophets make us uncomfortable. And they make us mad. Two things at which I excel.
A prophet will stir up a shit storm or stand against one and always on the side of the oppressed. They champion unpopular causes. The passion of their anger and grief make them hard to be around. They are hair-brained vision-holders who refuse to give up on God’s dream for us and who we can be as a people of justice and compassion. Prophets challenge the certainty of doctrine with the uncertainty what happens when God is unleashed. They offer hope. If, in any way, my witness offered hope, advocated for justice, insisted on compassion then it must be enough for I have learned that faithfulness is not tied to outcomes.
I tell you all this to give context to my story of a queer calling that took years to untangle. I speak out for justice for LGBT community in the church. I spent years banging on its sacred doors hollering ‘Let me in!”
I am the very last person you would consider a prophet. Even writing that feels grandiose. My life is messy. I don’t always do my best. There are times I’ve wanted to give up. More times than I’d like to admit. And even though I am driven by grace I can be harsh in my estimate of others and harsher in my opinions of myself. Or worse, I give myself a pass but find it hard to allow for the frailty of others. And there are times I get so pissed off at God I could spit. I am like Jonah who sat under a bush and groused because God’s extended compassion to the people he despised.
This is a story about how I got myself – or God got me – into the heresy of challenging the church to justice over doctrine and compassion over polity. You might think I’m a heretic and you might be right. I’ve been called worse.
Here is a story about the gracious heresy of my life and an unlikely call to prophetic ministry. Nothing grand. Nothing large. Mostly it’s a story about the risk and the price of being faithful and learning to trust that somehow it makes a difference.