by Louie Crew
First appeared in Voice of Integrity 3.4 (Fall 1993): 23 excerpted from "Compulsions and Affirmations Christianity & Crisis, March 17,
© 1986 by Christianity & Crisis; © 2004 by
© 1986 by Christianity & Crisis; © 2004 by Louie Crew
I first first glimpsed how huge are the forces which conspire to violate my wholeness in a strange epiphany back in 1974. In February of that year another man and I had united our lives. Never before had anyone loved me who did not, at least in some measure, have to. All at once Ernest showed me how Jesus's similar claim could be true. I could begin to become whole.
Newly baptized in God's and Ernest's love, I arrived in Berkeley as an NEH fellow for the summer. I called Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to inquire, "Where can my gay spouse and I meet other gay Episcopalians while here?"
For a moment the full switch-board seemed to short-circuit. Giving one inane excuse after another, each secretary transferred the call to another, so that every one could relish the occasion.
I expected such silly run-arounds in rural Georgia where we had lived openly as a gay and racially integrated couple, but not in the city most famous for its large gay population, and not in the most liberal of all Anglican houses, and not five years after the purported beginning of gay liberation, and not....
Thus I ran head-on into the real world, where, unlike the world of comic books, evil and righteousness maintain no specific address, except yours and mine.
The Holy Spirit used their highly placed tittering to prompt me into taking responsibility. I knew that God promiscuously loves everybody! All lucky enough to know that, share an obligation to tell the good news. When I returned to rural Georgia, I took out ads in church and gay papers announcing a new publication, called Integrity.
Others have taken that small beginning and have built a ministry that has acted within and beyond the Episcopal Church over the past decade, influencing every General Convention. Over 40 chapters now worship and function as healing communities. Hundreds, perhaps thousands have entered or re-entered the Church, many into priestly vocation.
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