Being a newer member of the Brown Memorial faith community I would like to introduce myself. I am David Lascu, and I am a gay, white, disabled, Romanian, German American Christian. Did I check all the boxes?
My family heritage is relatively new to the United States, as my father was the only son of his parents who immigrated to the United States from Romania as an arranged marriage. My father met my mother after WWII in Germany, and she was an 18-year-old German girl, and they fell in love instantly. My familial dynamic laid the ground work for who I am, what I believe, what I have learned, what I understand in terms of Christianity, and how my faith journey has progressed.
My mother’s life experience growing up in war torn Germany formed her sense of fairness, discrimination, racism, fear and combating hatred that provided me and my older brother and sister a solid foundation of care and concern for the common person. My mother was a devout Catholic, and I was baptized Catholic. My mother remained strongly committed to the Catholic Church and her faith until her death.
We went to church every week and I grew up going through catechism, which I loved. I attended Catholic school for a brief time, until my mother became disenchanted with the Catholic hierarchy. We continued to go to church but things changed when I was 8-years-old.
Spiritually, I dealt with issues of marginalization early on in my childhood. We went to church every Sunday until I went to college and decided to disengage with the Catholic church. I tried to maintain a connection spiritually but felt marginalized by the Catholic church because of their beliefs and issues around homosexuality, child molestation, celibacy and the patriarchical leadership. Over the many years of dealing with my sexuality and in trying to stay connected spiritually, it wasn’t until I moved to Baltimore 10 years ago that I found a strong faith connection.
In the 30 years before moving to Baltimore I faced many challenges, which shaped who I am today. I was in a 15-year relationship with a man who physically, verbally and emotionally abused me. You may ask—why did you stay? I guess I learned that I should just internalize things and I could take it. As I was growing up I was called queer, sissy, faggot and many other things—and unfortunately mostly by my currently estranged brother. I always fought through it—as I learned this from my mom.
Imagine marrying a man at 18 and being flown half way across the world to a new country. By the way, she didn’t speak English and he didn’t speak German, so they must have had some kind of chemistry. My mom showed how to fight for who you are and always tried to remind us to keep God in our lives and through faith you will find solace.
The source of the bullying wasn’t because of how I acted, but it was mainly because I started dancing lessons at age 4 and performed all over the country until I was in 9th grade. I also was aware at the time that I felt different about boys and girls and didn’t actually come out until I was 30-years-old. It was quite different back in the 80s.
I was on a 20-year journey trying to understand who I was after high school, trying to balance issues of inclusion, power, class and faith. The sad thing is that during this time, my best friend, Jamie, came out as gay when we graduated, but it wasn’t until he was dying of AIDS that I come out to him—even after years of prodding. I struggled for many years trying to understand who I was, and how it fit into my understanding of God.
As I was searching for answers and clarifying my faith journey, I was always taken aback by Christian faith leaders who used faith and scriptures to try to separate me from my personal beliefs, and often found these individuals using words and phrases found in the Bible as weapons against those different than themselves, with a different faith perspective to gain advantage over.
Throughout my faith journey I have found both moments of collective joy, and moments of collective pain, all very healthy, but my one regret is that my mom and dad are not still with me to celebrate where I am currently in my stronger connection to God and my ability to express who I am more clearly as a Christian.
I am thankful to the Presbyterian community, the Light Street Church family, and especially the Brown Memorial family for helping me grow and feel so welcomed into a strong community of faith.
Because of life issues, I think I was blinded by bitterness, detachment and disobedience.
In terms of bitterness, I have learned that spiritual maturity is not instant and it is a process involving both our attention and God’s work in us.
In terms of detachment, I am learning that any spiritual awakening does not occur simply by some physical, mental, or emotional process, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, in terms of disobedience, Christian spirituality involves a choice we make to know and grow in our daily relationship with Jesus Christ and in the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Take a look around you, even with all of the blind spots and the noise we face every day and try not to squander the time you have with your family, as I did, as you share in the wonders of your faith journey.