Rev. Chellew-Hodge’s New Year Advice: Keep Pressing “Play”

Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge has some sound New Year’s advice for LGBT Christians, taken from two principles stated by the instructor on an exercise workout CD: persevere, and do not be discouraged by setbacks.

The first of these is “keep hitting `play`”:

When we keep pressing play, we approach each new day as a brand new start, a clean slate. We can put yesterday’s failures, yesterday’s disappointments, yesterday’s disasters behind us and look forward. When we keep pressing play, we keep giving ourselves permission to hope, permission to look forward to what the new year — and every new day — holds. When we keep pressing play, we open ourselves to the Holy mystery that constantly occurs in, through and around us.

So often, it is despair that keeps us from pressing play each day. We get depressed over our past failures. We keep gnawing on past slights and disappointments, rehearsing them in our heads — which keeps them in our present. Or, as is the case so often in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, we stop pressing play because we’ve been told we’re not worthy of a new start. There are some in more fundamentalist circles who believe the LGBT community is so lost to “sin” that the “play” button isn’t even within our reach.

But, it has been our community’s dedication to keep pressing play that has succeeded in making great advancements for the cause of LGBT rights within the past few years. Because LGBT Christians in the Lutheran and Presbyterian (U.S.A.) churches kept pressing play, LGBT members are now accepted as clergy. Because LGBT Christians keep pressing play, there is a movement within the Methodist Church to make the same changes. Because LGBT people keep pressing play in the wider society, marriage rights have been granted in places like Utah and New Mexico. Because LGBT people kept pressing play, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed and much of the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down, clearing the way for federal benefits to be granted to married same-sex couples.

The second is to accept that there will be disappointments and setbacks:  “Do your best, and forget the rest.”

Even if we approach each day with that “keep pressing play” attitude, we’re still going to suffer setbacks. We’re still going to suffer disappointments. We’re still going to suffer the insults and lies from our opponents. We may even question whether or not we have the strength to go on. On those days, when we’ve done everything we can — we’ve pressed play, but the day is still kicking our butts — we have to give ourselves some slack. If you’ve done your best — forget the rest. Forget the insults, forget the slights, forget the disappointments, forget the setbacks. You’ve given in your best shot and that’s all you — and God — can expect.

Even Jesus had to take breaks from the crowds. There were times when he would take the boat out to the other shore and give himself a breather. We all need to step back from time to time and take a break. When you work out, it’s not just the weight lifting or the cardio that transforms your body — rest also plays a crucial role. If you worked out your muscles non-stop they’d never grow. While you rest, your muscles repair the damage done during a workout — and that’s how your muscles grow — during that time of rest.

For the full reflection, see “My 2014 Resolution as a Gay Christian? Keep Pressing Play” at Huffington Post

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