Monday, November 9, 2015

The Peace Seekers

The Peace Seekers

Adult biography
Imagine that your faith is so central to your life that you feel
called to ministry. Imagine also that there is something equally
central to your being that must be hidden because whenever it comes to
light the institution you love sees you as loathsomely sinful. Then
you will see the crisis Susan Gilmore coped with for decades and wrote
eloquently about in The Peace Seekers.
Gilmore grew up in a fundamentalist evangelical Baptist church.
Her family's life centered around the church. Kid's Club, like Girl
Scouts only with a religious focus, made Wednesday her favorite day of
the week. Summer camp was a spiritual high for her. By high school
she had decided on a Bible College and a career in the ministry.
However, from an early age, Gilmore had experienced puzzling
differences. While other children enjoyed marrying off their Barbie
dolls, her Ken doll gathered dust, a plastic non entity. The first
television star she had a crush on was a woman. Chasing boys was done
more to fit in with her peers than from any real desire to catch
them. Ironically, a field hockey coach warning her to watch how she
behaved; she wouldn't want people to think she was gay sealed her
inward realization that she was indeed gay.
The evangelical church of Gilmore's youth was very homophobic.
The Peace Seekers very poignantly describes her often very painful
path toward finding a church where the two sides of her personal
identity could be reconciled and accepted.
Sadly, as gay rights become more and more accepted in secular
society, a lot of more fundamentalist churches continue to be more
hard core homophobic. The Peace Seekers, therefore, is lighly
relevant and a truly thought (and emotion) provoking read.
On a personal note, Saturday Orono Public Library was a whirlwind of
activity. In our children's wing bargain lovers perused the
selections available in a friends of the library book sale. In the
adult wing a variety of crafters had set up shop. The community room
was the scene of free art lessons for all interested. (I actually
tried my hand at water color.) A scrumptious selection of foods and
beverages was available to sustain us all in these endeavors.
A great big shout out goes out to all who contributed to this
community festivity, especially Deanna who heads up friends of the
Orono Public Library.
Julia Emily Hathaway

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