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What if we never tried?

Governor-Elect Polis and Family

Last night was a historic night in the State of Colorado and the United States, as it elected its first openly gay man to run a state government as Governor. Just saying that sentence evokes a sense of satisfaction. It instantly recalls and then rejects the fear and doubt that many of us shared in decades past, when living a closeted half-life seemed our only option.

Now, we can get married, worship in safe spaces, and hold power inside the government. What a beautiful thing! To know that we have choices. Choices in employment, in family, and in society. We are recognized. We are heard. And, yet, we know that we have still so far to go.

That is the weird, shadowy side of dreaming and pursuing one's dreams. Once you achieve one, a new one begins. As if our brains are hardwired to that part of our soul that yearns for whatever is just beyond the next horizon - not content with standing still.

So, what if we never tried? As a new pastor just at the beginning of falling in love with his congregation, I have been thinking about this question a lot lately. What if we just lived in the status quo of today, and never tried to reach beyond our collective walled-in existence? I mean, we spent so much time constructing our communities, and the formal and informal rules that govern them, right? Why rock-the-boat? Things are working just fine.

But, are they?

I was fortunate over the last few years to work with an amazing man by the name of Howard Ross. Howard is a guru of sorts in the world of Diversity & Inclusion, especially in the science of unconscious bias. This is the understanding of how and why we make decisions about one another without thinking. The study of this science greatly serves any group of people looking to make cultural changes to advance better outcomes, especially in Corporate America.

In Howard's books on the subject, he exposes how often we make decisions based upon facts that are not really facts, instead they are patterns of feelings and reactions to life that we assume are facts, because we rely on automatic associations to explain them to ourselves. For me, one association (or bias) that I understand about myself is an aversion to flip-flops. They are NOT my favorite form of footwear, so when I see them I tend to associate them with negative characteristics of a person. Don't worry, Colorado, I mitigate this bias regularly.

The problem with accepting feelings as facts, however, is that it can paint all of our decisions, and before we know it, we are living a patterned life and reacting to and treating people in certain ways that may not be the most beneficial to them or our environment. But, it's so easy to live in those patterns, to accept them as our limitations, and blow past any need to change.

In essence, this is what helped form our metaphorical closets. The ones so many of us stood in, unable to accept what was waiting for us on the outside. And, worse, it is the main reason that we often accept the status quo, because the status quo makes sense - it is what we know to be "fact".

I hope that last night was a permanent disruption to our status quo. May elections, like that of Mr. Polis, excuse me, Governor Polis, remind us to reach for that next right horizon. May we dream and pursue our dreams, knowing that we are NOT alone, that we are loved because we are holy, created beings, and that we have power within us to change.

May it be so!

Go in Peace.

Pastor Ben

Metropolitan Community Church of the Rockies

Denver, CO

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