Love in Action: Reflections on “Coming Out” with your Congregation – Margarette Ouji

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More Than Enough

by Margarette Ouji

 

None of us are “one thing”. At any given moment we can embody so many different identities, and oftentimes, those identities will bump up against one another. If we find ourselves with our family of origin, we are one person. When we are with our chosen family, we are another. In ministry, we can often be a reflection of all of those identities, and still, feel like we cannot be all that we are. This reality of identity hopscotch can be tiresome and unforgiving. 

God calls us to be our whole selves and calls us into a loving relationship with those we serve. Sometimes that can be scary and unsettling – especially when so many of us have been told that who we are is not enough or is wrong. 

Pause. 

Who you are is more than enough. 

You are beloved. 

Yet, it can still be scary when we have been told we have to “come out” in order to have this one fabulous aspect of our identity be validated. Have we not spent so much energy hoping and praying and looking for that validation?

In seminary, I took a course on Queer Liberation Theology, and in that course, I learned about the antithesis of “coming out” and it’s called “inviting in”. It’s this idea that instead of sharing your identity with the world, you invite people in to know and love you. I invite you into my home, to share in each other’s lives, to laugh, to eat, etc. (as long as you leave before 8 pm so I can go to bed on time). 

It reminded me of how in many Iranian families when you bring someone to your family’s home, you’re welcomed in. I walk into my ameh’s (the word for aunt in Farsi) home, take off my shoes, I’m offered food, I’m guaranteed laughter, tears, and love.

Many of us cannot “come out” for reasons that do not need justification. By inviting people in, by inviting our congregations in, we are acting from a place of love. We are sharing our worlds and all of the identities that we embody. 

Recently, I was reflecting on Isaiah 43: 18-19:

“Forget the events of the past, ignore the things of long ago! Look, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth—can’t you see it? I’m making a road in the desert and setting rivers to flow in the wasteland.” 

God is doing something new in the ways that we are inviting one another into our lives, our hearts, our congregations. Newness can be scary. It is also so very queer and so very sacred. 


Image Description: Photo of field of flowers with the words: Pause. Who you are is more than enough. You are beloved. – Margarette Ouji


 

Margarette (she/her/hers) is the pastor at First Lutheran Church of Montclair, NJ. She enjoys powerlifting, crocheting, and spending time with family. Margarette currently serves as co-chairperson of the Board of ELM and is passionate about the difficult, necessary, and holy work ELM is doing. 

 

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