Sunday, October 12, 2008

I received this E-mail today. It left me speechless.

John I. said...
Fr. Geoff,Your words resonate far beyond California. My family and I spent Saturday afternoon at the grave side of our gay son and brother. Yesterday would have been his 27th birthday. His Church turned on him viciously, abandoned him; and he ended up taking his own life last year. What a tragic waste of so much talent and promise. You are the kind of priest our seminarian son could have become. He is why what you (and so many other courageous people) do is so important. Be strong and uplifted by many loving hearts! +new Episcopalian in the heartland
October 12, 2008 5:32 AM

24 comments:

Sara said...

It is very true what this person has said to you - I can't imagine the loss you are feeling right now, but know that you are loved not only by a just and wonderful God, but also by people who are keeping you firmly in our prayers.

Blessings,
Sara

Jeff said...

There can be no more eloquent thanks for what you are doing than from this loving family.

May your courage and quest for equality for all bring comfort to them and to all who have suffered at the hands of the Church.

God bless you and your work.

Erika Baker said...

And that on the 10th anniversary of the Matthew Sheppard murder.

Fr Geoff, I hope you will never doubt that you have done the right thing.

Prayers for you, for that poor family, and everyone else living in fear and ostracised by our various churches.

Charles said...

It's my understanding that this was the sort of thing you were trying to prevent by coming out against 8. In your announcement on 10/4/08, you alluded to this very danger to members of your flock.

It makes me wonder how many tragic suicides could be prevented.

David said...

stories like that of this family are far too common in the story of our LGBT tribe. once again i find myself asking myself how many studies on teen scuicide have to 'discover' LGBT teen to be the highest at risk population, before the Church will come to its senses.

Father Geoff, this week-end in Canadian Thanksgiving up here, and you, and your courageous stand were remembered with deep gratitude in prayer by my very large family.

I can only pray that you are aware of just how very close our dear Lord is to you in all of this, and just as so many of us upholding you in love and prayer, you will find everything you need in that 'Love beyond our wildest imagining'.

Father Geoff, you've now been 'adopted' by my 85 year old mother who assures me she'll be praying for you in tandem with her prayers for her other 'adopted son,' another heroic priest, +Gene Robinson.

Closer than breath- our Lord is with you- and the way forward will be made.

with love and prayers

David@Montreal

FranIAm said...

It always strikes me as profoundly ridiculous and very harmful that the Roman Catholic church, of which I am a member, is a faith based entirely incarnation-based theology and yet is terrified of the body.

The net result is a tragedy such as the one in the letter- may that person's soul rest in peace and rise in glory.

Forgive us Lord, for what we have done and for what we have neglected to do...

You have not neglected to do Geoff... it is downfall on one level and glory on another.

God bless you.

Birdie said...

My heart aches for this man, his family and all whose hearts are broken by the Pharisees of the modern Church. This is not the loving God I know to be true. This is not the Spirit moving hearts to embrace all, unconditionally and without measure. We must stop this and it is in our power to do so.

Keep this story alive for the sake of this man, for the sake of Father Geoff's sacrifice. Make it a viral campaign. Post it on your blog. Link it in your comments. The readers of this blog must continue to spread the word of this great injustice and shine a light on the darkness that kills.

Kenski said...

So many people out there say that as gay people we should just keep quiet, stay in the closet and not rock the boat. And many of us take that path for many, many good reasons.

I hope one day we'll be on a boat where there are no closets and people can openly and honestly be who they are. Life would be so much simpler.

The quest for change is never an easy one. You can ask people for acceptance but you cannot demand it. It must be given freely.

It seems to me that one of the biggest challenges is trying to get straight people to understand us, or at least to look past the fact that they don't 'get it' to see the bigger picture.

If I said to a stranger that I was in love, they'd most likely feel a sense of sympatico. They would understand my feelings. If I then said that I was in love with another man, for some reason that becomes an alien concept... an impassable barrier that's been placed between us. I think that's why so many people dehumanise us... not because they're bad people, but simply because they don't have a point of reference.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Fr Geoff, that's why it was right to do what you did - for the sake of the young son and brother who took his own life and for his grieving family.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Geoff:

I can guarantee that you will, at a point in the not too distant future, look back and wonder how you managed to find the courage to do this, and how you were able to get through it...

You can see by the emails you're receiving you are NOT alone. This is FAITH in action... You are a part of a greater community of compassion and caring.

Courage is found, and easier to act on, when it is the right thing that one does.

You were not alone, and never will be. Along with His presence, and the Spirit's, you have us!

Warments regards,

Keith

headbang8 said...

Please don't underestimate the importance of what you have done, Geoff.

The rhetoric of the church is relentless, and to many souls, powerful. They are merchants of personal shame, and alas, find many willing buyers.

The fact that the truth is obvious gave you strength. May that strength help empower others to speak the truth.

And may there be many more, both in the clergy and the laity, who will speak the truth. And take strength from your example; one who chose to live in dignity rather than die of shame.

Father Göran Koch-Swahne said...

What all have said so eloquently.

Father Göran Koch-Swahne said...

I just read Mad Priest's link to the LA Times. I am so sorry this happened to you. But not all that surprised.

All the best and courage! Your work is much needed and helpful for so many - and all the more since your church doesn't yet appreciate how important it is!

Blessings on your work!

scott snedeker said...

Dear fellow human being,

Your courage makes a difference beyond what anyone can imagine.

I hope you can feel the wave freedom and compassion that is covering this world that you have started.

I send you my compassion in return. There is a world of love waiting out there for you. I have no doubt that this is not the end of your spiritual leadership. It is the begininng!

Love and affirmation,

Ash

SFbruiser said...

Your faith and courage are inspiring to all of us.
As my priest and spiritual advisor reminds me: Never let the hierarchy get between you and your faith.
I will pray that God protect and preserve you.

Mychals Prayer said...

This shows why we must increase the spiritual and psychological understandings of what it means to be gay.

The US government estimates that one-third of teenage suicides, 1500 annually, are gay and lesbian youths succumbing to intense social and internalized homophobia. And this doesn’t include those over 19 who also succumb.

Fr. John McNeill speaks an obvious truth: “Whatever is psychologically destructive can never be spiritually sound.”

Jesus says, “I have come that they might have life, and have it in abundance.”

Heart of Jesus, have mercy on your gay and lesbian children at risk.

RebelRevRN said...

Thank you Fr. Geoff, for being willing to risk all to truly follow Jesus. You have given hope to this family and so many others.
You are in my prayers
blessings
Renee

Anonymous said...

I've seen this happen too. I believe the story.

John I. said...

Dear Fr. Geoff,

Thank you and the other commentators for your compassion and good wishes. By now you probably can see yourself as part of a world-wide network of GLBT and straight friends who support courage, character, and integrity wherever we find it. Our Lord knows full well how pitifully little there is of this in the apostolic churches these days. Your words and good name are already being attacked in cyberspace. We know from bitter experience just how traumatizing this can be for a whistle-blower. So now more than ever, please surround yourself with family and caring friends.

And if I may, I'll ask for prayers for the departed servant of God, Eric; and us his family.

with warmest regards,
John Iliff
j-dot-iliff@comcast-dot-net

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

I just read about you in the newspaper and wanted to say thank you so much for your courage. You're a very brave and noble individual. It means a lot.

Lee said...

Such a courageous stand, makes me
proud to be a Christian and a Fresnan.

If you ever consider the Episcopal
Church, you know you would be welcome in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

fresnoepiscopalian

afeatheradrift said...

Father Geoff, I so deeply admire your stand. I can only add my thanks for your willingness to suffer for what is right. I left the RCC over issues such as this. In the Episcopal faith, all do not agree, but at least I am not punished for my views. I do not arrive at my view simplistically or without thought, but after deep discernment and careful reading of the reasoning behind Church teaching. In the end, contrary to the ultra orthodox, I believe that I must follow my own conscience. May you be upheld in your trials. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

We really need to pray for the soul of the young man who committed suicide. That is the real tragedy. As the Catholic Church teaches in the Catholic Catechism:

"2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.

2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives."

Miguel

Anonymous said...

Dear Father Geoff,

May the peace of Christ be with you in this hard time that you must be enduring. Thank you for your courage, despite the hardships that have happened and will come. Never forget that God is with you, even in the times of deepest despair.

Love and Peace to you.