The kingdom of God is like the leader of a mainline religious institution who needed to hire new clergy to minister to his congregations. One day, he reviewed resumes to find new candidates. There were many different kinds of people to choose from: some were men, some were women, some were white, some were black, some were Hispanic, some were straight, some were gay, some were ordained in their youth, others were ordained as a second career.
He first selected straight white males because they had always been the kind of leaders selected, and for a time everything went well. But then, the churches under his control began to decline. So he went back to the resumes and attempted to hire straight white women, but many people objected. Instead, he hired straight white males who entered the ministry as a second career. For a time everything went well, because they too looked like clergy of the past. But his congregations continued to decline. Finally, over vocal opposition, he hired straight female clergy. This brought some life back to the church, but eventually decline began to set in again. Then, over extreme opposition, the leader hired gay men and women. Some people left his congregations in protest.
Lastly, the leader began to recruit people who did not look like typical clergy at all. They dressed improperly. They were tattooed and pierced. Their backgrounds were sometimes sullied. In the end, the ranks of the clergy began to reflect the full diversity of people in the congregations. And although some of the first hired were upset that some of the last hired were getting more public recognition, the leader did not care. For even though the numbers of members continued to decline, there was a renewed spirit of hopefulness that equality and acceptance were now fully part of the life of the institution. No one was left out.
© 2014 Kurt Struckmeyer
Written after reading Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber