I have received an invitation to an anniversary celebration. No, not from a couple, from a church. I’ve been invited to join the people of The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd as they celebrate their 65th anniversary.
The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd is a Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod congregation. I had the honor of serving there as pastor for about 5 years. I have fond memories of my time there. The ministry that we did together was rich and full, creative and ground-breaking. There were, of course, hard times too. There was conflict and loss, nothing unusual to any community. However when I think on my time there, I’m thankful to God and the good folk of that congregation.
I was there pre-1999. Yes, that means I was there as Nice Guy. It was during my time at The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd when I began to come to grips with my gender issues. They erupted and I could not live in denial anymore. Eventually I was going to have to do something or serious consequences were going to occur. Although I didn’t know it at the time, that was the start of my exit from the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod.
I’ve actually been to Good Shepherd twice since transition. The first time was an utter disaster. I was not prepared for the emotional intensity of the experience and ended up having a dissociative event. I can’t tell you what I said or did. I remember being there but feeling like I wasn’t really there.
I was there a second time for a funeral. It was a tearful event. I did better. I didn’t dissociate but it was very painful.
I would like to accept this invitation. I would like to go to the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd this Sunday afternoon. But I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed at what happened at my first visit there. Also I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. I don’t want to bring awkwardness with me into the room. And to be honest I don’t want to face disapproval and/or rejection.
Still, wouldn’t it make a great story? “Rev. Robinson Comes Home.”