Book Description

Review 'This is a profoundly candid, insightful and moving account of a remarkable woman's emergence as a prophetic pastor and whole person, forced to confront and transcend the oppressive realities of abusive behavior both in the church and the most sacred of human relationships. The author's weaving of the story of her liberating journey with that of the church's oppressive treatment of homosexuals makes it difficult to set this book aside. Extremely well-written, it correlates the real and ideal in haunting ways - whether in sexuality, marriage or a church in divisive conflict regarding the heart of faithfulness.' --C. Joseph Sprague, Bishop of the United Methodist Church, Retired'The personal work needed to achieve social justice, the pain and unexpected joy that come with individual growth and the myriad possibilities available if one pursues hope with truth and love - these are the messages that underlie this riveting read and make On Thundering Wings an exceptional reading experience for anyone concerned with these challenges.' --Amity Pierce Buxton, Founder of the Straight Spouse Network'In her book, On Thundering Wings, Ermalou Roller weaves together two stories about encountering the reality of homosexuality - one personal, the other about the United Methodist Church. By juxtaposing and interweaving the two narratives she makes it difficult for the reader to package his or her preconceived notions into neat boxes. The 'thundering wings' of the books' title belong to a white goose in a story read to her by her mother when she was a child. In the story, written by Tasha Tudor, a young boy is searching for a white goose. He finds the goose and is invited to fly away to see 'the other side of the moon.' He chooses the security of home, fearing the mysteries of the unknown and thus misses the potential joys of the journey. Ermalou responds to the invitation by choosing instead to 'follow the white feathers.' She writes: '(I)t became clear to me that when I learned to respectfully listen and carefully attend to the inner voice that is the source of all true passion -when I followed the white feathers - I often had moments of such complete wonder, mystery and joy that I seemed to share a heartbeat with God. And once experienced, there was no going back. I was changed and my world with me.' Ermalou's personal story and the story she tells of Rev. Greg Dell, who was tried by the United Methodist Church for performing a same gender wedding for two men in his congregation, may at first seem disparate. It soon becomes clear that there is no 'one story' when it comes to the Spirit's working in and through our lives, opening our hearts to the mysteries of human sexuality. We are drawn in and find ourselves placing our own story within the same historical context. Many thanks to Ermalou for her courage in following the white feathers and describing what she sees and feels along the journey. I commend the book to all who have the same courage to join the geese as they explore the other side of the moon. At this time in history, we can ill afford anything less than courage as the Spirit opens our hearts to new understandings.' --Kathryn Johnson, The Progressive Voice, Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), Spring/Summer 2011 Read more About the Author Roller served for 25 years as a pastor and district superintendent in the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church. Roller speaks to a wide variety of church and justice seeking organizations including Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN). Her latest speaking engagements have been in Colorado, New Jersey and Illinois. In 2011 Roller worked as a member of the defense team of a Wisconsin pastor: the Rev. Amy DeLong. DeLong was charged with breaking United Methodist church law on two counts: by officiating at a same-sex union and by being a lesbian in a long-term, committed relationship. Roller served as back-up counsel, strategist and media representative. The victory of the DeLong defense team set a denominational precedence for resorative justice, revealing how people of faith might deal with charges against gay and lesbian pastors in redemptive rather than punitive ways. Roller is the widow of the Rev. Dr. Charles H. Ellzey. Her first husband, who is the father of their three children, is a gay man. Read more