Our Systems Are Not Working: Job 3.1–10, 4.1–9, 7.11–21

banquetDelivered at First Christian Church
on July 10, 2016
©The Rev. Eileen Gebbie

Sermons are written to be heard rather than read. On Sundays during July we worship with First Christian Church at 9:30 a.m., alternating between FCC and Ames UCC.
Please come join us!

I mentioned last week that I was worried about preaching on Job off and on all summer, that I thought I needed to find a way to sell this sorry story so that it didn’t become a summer off. I wish the news of the last week hadn’t reminded me that we are already living the sorry story. I wish our world did not require us to learn the language of Job’s ash heap over and over again.

To review: Job was a very rich man and a religious man. An adversarial force came into God’s presence. God bragged to it about Job’s faith. The adversarial force suggested that faith was built on God’s protection and special treatment of Job, that Job’s faith had no integrity. Of course it is easy to be faithful when you get everything you want!

God told the Adversary to take away all of his riches and see—Job would never forsake God. So Job loses his whole family to invaders and natural disasters. And God is right: Job does not forsake God. Then the Adversary, with God’s permission, destroys Job’s skin. Job literally throws himself away, scraping at his sores while sitting in and on the garbage dump.

Job is alone until he is approached by three friends, who sit silently with Job for seven days and seven nights, “for they saw that (his) pain was very great” (2.13).
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Queer Rally

20160615_193736On Wednesday, June 15, 2016, a group of community organizations—Story County Democrats, Moms Demand Action/Everytown for Gun Safety, Ames Progressive Alliance, Iowa State University College Democrats, and Liberty Gifts—held a rally in response to the Orlando massacre. I had the honor to speak directly to my fellow queer Americans and those who stand with us.

I am Eileen Gebbie. I am a Christian priest and an out and proud, refusing to be bowed, Lesbian.

Tonight is intended to be a call to action and here is one that we can all take: come out. If you are genderqueer, trans, intersex, bisexual, lesbian, or gay, come out about who you love and who you are.

I know how dangerous that might feel tonight. Because of Mathew Shepard, and Lamia Beard, and Orlando, I know how dangerous that is.

If coming out would jeopardize your employment or if coming out would put you at risk of homelessness or violence because of who you live with now, take care. Now may not be the time to come out too loudly.

But do come out to your heart. Do tell your soul your own truth. And come out to someone trustworthy and confidential who can live out for you until your time comes. Come out to me.

This is also a time for our straight and cisgendered siblings, cousins, parents, and friends to come out. Come out about loving us, with no exceptions. Speak up when you hear disparaging remarks, always, but also start conversations with others about your adamant refusal to hate.

And let us know that you do. Do not take for granted our confidence in your love. It has been powerfully shaken these days.

But our integrity of self has made us resilient. And we take heart in the faces we see this night.

These deaths and injuries are not the final word. It is for them as much as ourselves that we WILL find the strength to continue to come out, to live well beyond the closet’s shadow and in the full light—and disco nights—of our lives. Thank you.

©The Rev. Eileen Gebbie