Core Values 4, 5 and 6
By Adam Gedies
I have embraced that Prayer of St. Francis as my centre
around which I group any other prayers when starting my
Yes, for me as a ?news addict? it is still a test of my
will power not to take a quick peak at the newspaper
and not to turn on the radio until after I have
tried to re-dedicate myself as a disciple of Jesus Christ in
my morning prayers.
At night time I am usually too bushed for prayer and simply
sink into my bed.
However, today I have had another reason to recite this
Prayer of St. Francis at the beginning of my talk about Core
If you took the trouble to count, you will find 12
individual ?core values? there.
So I wish to say to all of you who with a certain
?nostalgia? long back to our original simple, but truly
sparkling set of five core values that we came up with at our
meeting with our District Coordinator Rev. Diane Fisher on
that Saturday in March.
Yes, I also admired its brevity in particular, because I
myself tend to be the very opposite, so long-winded.
Nevertheless, I ask you all now:
Please, look with a certain generosity in your heart at our
final set of eight Core Values for our Holy Fellowship MCC ?
remembering that our mother church United Fellowship MCC
insists on nine, that Moses laid down ten core values in his
Ten Commandments and St. Francis here unashamedly, but
joyfully asks all of us to consider 12 core values how to live
our lives in discipleship to Jesus.
After this little ?lobbying?, IN MEDIAS RES as the Romans
used to say,
? Into the middle of things.?
?Into the heart of the matter.?
My task today is to look a little at those three Core
Values that all start with: ?We value??.
Our committee purposely tucked them right into the ?belly?
of our Core Values Set so that they are held securely in place
by the strong arms of the ?We believe?? statements at the very
beginning and end of our eight Core Values.
Just to uphold my gay reputation as being somewhat ?
?unpredictable?, I will now consider those three ?We value??
statements ? in reverse order.
First, Core Value # 6: ? We value families
including families of choice. ?
To me, again it is our Lord and Master Jesus who sets the
example for ?families of choice? as we just heard in the
At present, I cannot really speak about what it has meant
for many people with a homosexual orientation to look for and
find their own family of choice ? also in the very widest
sense of the word ? after they have been cut off from many
traditional family ties with their own blood relatives,
possibly from parents, siblings and from their families, in
At present, I can really only talk about myself.
I came very late in my life to my full realization of my
Of course, I had some sorts of inkling all my life, yes,
there were also some troubling warning signs, but having been
spared the consequences of a few instances to cross a taboo, I
stopped dead-cold any further ?outside? sexual exploration as
a young teenager after having been confronted. I never knew
what it was with me nor did I really feel compelled to find
out. Or maybe I was also ?scared? and in a sense happy that
things were behind me now.
The other major reason for my contentedness: Life at home
was simply ?too cosy? for me.
When I grew up in a small village in Germany, my mother was
the loving focal point who kept our family of four sisters and
three brothers ? and a husband ? together until we all
emigrated to Canada.
If we siblings had our disagreements, I am # 5, we
all came together in our deep love for our mother whom we all
worshipped because her life was our family ? through the good
times and the bad times, while we were at times in various
stages of more open disagreement ? for some of us rebellion? ?
against our father.
So, I never really knew loneliness, but was always in touch
with caring sisters and quite friendly brothers.
Loneliness only hit me after both my parents had died ?
after the death of my father, my mother had chosen to move
together with me for about another decade or so.
Of course, what should have made me suspicious is that I
never felt the same urge that my two brothers felt to go
courting and to marry, as did three of my sisters. I guess I
am a little slow to comprehend things.
So I do not know yet what the ultimate consequence will be
when I now ?come out? to my siblings ? but I already have come
out to my parents in their graves at St. Peter?s Cemetery
where they now rest.
With my siblings I have set myself the deadline at the end
of this summer, to enjoy one more peaceful ?family clan
gathering? and some times together at the three family
cottages on a commonly owned half-acre lot in the Haliburton
Of course, in a certain sense, many ?structures? of the
traditional families ? in the widest sense, again ? will
endure regardless if the parents are heterosexual or a same
Looking at little Olivia now and then at church here, we
all ? gay or straight ? share the love a parent shares with
any of his or her biological or adopted children, the love of
being an aunt, an uncle, in my case, also a great-uncle ?
though I never really doubted that ? and the love of being a
god-father or god-mother.
Forgive me now for what I wish to say next.
I have no intention to insult or to hurt anyone of you here
at church today.
What I wish to say needs more to be said outside our church
in the community around us.
I have tried to do just that ? though in private ? in my
E-mail exchange with a London Free Press columnist in response
to one of his periodic anti-homosexual columns last year.
Let me call him Bob Writer until I myself have come
out to my own family.
At first, I wrote him under a pen name and I told him
What surprised me is that he answered back ? in a very
considerate, I would say in a ?loving? manner.
Off and on, I still E-mail him with respect to his columns
in the London Free Press, sometimes in support, more often to
?respectfully?, but firmly to disagree.
Yet, whether I agree with him or not, I have learned to
respect his sincerity as a very conservative and orthodox
Since he laid ?bare? part of his heart to me in our
E-mail exchange, I had to do likewise, by starting to give him
my true full name just to let him know he was not ?talking? to
a phantom, but to a real-life person.
He immediately E-mailed me back that he will keep my
identity in confidence!
The point I made to him in that very first of several very
long E-mail letters was:
Just as a normal heterosexual father will not think of
trying to sexually molest or ?rape? any of his young daughters
or any other young girl, likewise, no normal gay man will try
to sexually seduce any boy in his parental care or any other
boys outside in the community,
I wrote Bob ? yes, most of the time, we now E-mail
each other by first name ? I wrote him, the protective parent
instinct towards any children is a very strong instinct that
is common to all humans and that transcends our
individual orientation, be it homo- or heterosexual.
I quoted Bob Writer part of my own personal Code of Conduct
that I put into writing when I fully came out to myself:
? I pledge that I will respect as
the privacy of body, mind and soul of every fellow
I pledge that I will not use violence
against any fellow human ?
except when to stop or prevent violence,
done by a human on another human. ?
This is my pledge and I pray that God?s spirit will always
be with me - to keep it!
So, really we all should be capable to get along with each
other regardless what our individual sexual orientation
Yet, we cannot always expect that!
Sometimes we have to make a decision ? a choice just as
Jesus did when his own traditional family, his mother and his
siblings did not understand him, could not agree with him.
Of course, their argument was from a non-sexual
? You are out of your mind!
Yet, that is the very same answer many of you already
encountered from your traditional families you were born
? You are nuts ? You are
You will be living in sin ? under God?s damnation
if you insist on living ? and enjoying ? an intimate
Jesus has set here a clear example for us.
When you are rejected from your traditional family because
of what you believe in, then you must ?choose? your new family
who share with you your values, your beliefs.
Yes, I am still very hopeful that my six siblings will not
break their bond with me ? that we still continue to love each
other as brothers and sisters.
Yet, in my heart I also know that many of them, if they
wish to stay true to their own beliefs, really cannot support
my choice to live out my homosexual orientation ?in a
healthy, consensual manner? as br Andrew has stressed in
our core values discussions.
Regardless, if those siblings will be able to come half-way
?that genes have pre-disposed me to homosexuality?, for
them my homosexuality will at least remain a ?sickness? that
could also possibly ?flare? into pedophile behaviour if not
treated somehow or if not repressed by a conscious decision
not to practice a homosexual life style.
For them, their beliefs will cloud their rational judgement
that sexual or violent physical child abuse is much more
prevalent in heterosexual families than in same-sex family
That?s where ?family of choice? comes in:
? in the immediate sense, also to bring up children
where desired as same-sex parents like our little Olivia, or
as a homosexual single-parent,
? but, also in the widest sense of the phrase:
So I am looking at Holy Fellowship Metropolitan
Community Church as my ?church family of choice?, that
is, once we learn to accept each other as similarly committed
disciples of Jesus Christ even if we may differ in our
If I may add one last personal thought about family.
In Core Value # 2 we affirm the right of each individual to
define their relationship with God.
To me this implies likewise that we may also look at Jesus
in many different personal senses as individuals.
Here, the incredible ?radical? outbursts by Jesus against
family as such:
? If you are not ready to hate your mother and your father
. . .
in direct contradiction to the Fifth Commandment: Honour
your father and mother . . .,
? If you are not ready to hate your mother and your father
. . . then you cannot be my disciple! ?
The ?heartless? rejoinder of Jesus to those paying their
last respects to a loved one:
? Let the dead bury the dead! ?
All this to me is also an echo of the pain that Jesus as a
fellow human felt the pain of rejection from his very own
So, be forewarned!
There may not always be a happy ending for all of us in our
relationship as homosexual people to our families of
But we all can take comfort that we are here in very good
company ? that Jesus Christ has also been there, Jesus has
shared the same pain.
Yet, Jesus also gave us another example to ponder.
He did not die bitter on the cross. Rather at the very end
he came to rejoice a little, to reaffirm his traditional
family bond again as well as reconciling it with his
family of choice when he so lovingly looked at his mother ?
and at the disciple ?whom he loved,
?Dear woman, here is your
?Here is your mother?
Now, just to show all of you here that I can also be very
brief, I will move very quickly through the other two Core
Core Value # 5: ? We value cultural and sexual diversity
as gifts from our Creator. ?
Isn?t it amazing that the prophet Isaiah had already such a
clear understanding that irrespective of our sexual nature or
cultural or racial background, God has a place with a very
warm welcome prepared for all of us?
To me this Core Value is an essential affirmation that we
homosexual people are also a part of God?s creation ? that was
meant to be good!
Thanks to Christine?s mediation on this Core Value as well
on the one just discussed, we have now also consciously and
officially extended our welcome to people with other cultural
backgrounds like our Native North American Indians ? a concern
so dear to the heart of our brother Ron.
My last Core Value to consider is # 4:
? We value the gifts of God in each person and in our
This core value originates from one of our smaller
discussion groups in the April 14 after-church Input
? We value the giftedness of God in each and everyone of
With some apprehension, our committee chose to render this
beautiful, poetic version into a, perhaps, more concrete
language that would be readily understood by anyone out there
on the streets.
So, this core value is meant to celebrate the rich
diversity of gifts with which God has blessed us individually
and as a community.
This core value is also meant to remind us to remain
Yes, all that anyone is called to do, is to make the very
best of what God has gifted us with!
On the other hand, to those of us with extraordinary
talents, say, like a Mozart or an Albert Einstein:
Yes, we all rejoice with you ? but you, the very talented
ones, have no reason to look down on the rest of us as less
Because, in the end, you can work as hard as you like, to
compose the music like a Mozart, to think out the way the
physical universe behaves like Albert Einstein or Jim
it will never be of our own making, it will simply ? and
very joyfully be another though very extraordinary gift from
Regardless, what our individual talents are, we all should
remain humble as the recipients of such gifts from Our Creator
? and endeavour to always use them in the spirit and image
of Our First God Parent.
Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians weaves
different kinds of gifts into one garment together with
different kinds of service and different kinds of
working - but the same God works all of them in all
Our brother Andrew gave us a similar pre-view of things to
come, in his two-part workshop on the life and ministry of St.
Francis that gifts and service and workings
Our Core Ministries will be a living expression
of our Core values!
In conclusion, I would like to say on behalf of the Core
In contrast to those very oldest Core Values in the Bible,
The Ten Commandments, that Moses presented to his
Our Core Values of our Holy Fellowship Metropolitan
Community Church are not chiselled into stone, but can be
adapted anytime in wording or be replaced by more appropriate
ones when the congregation feels the need for it.
May God?s spirit guide uswhen we make our
decision in adopting those eight Core Values.
12 May 2002