Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What I Would Have Said ...

This is what I was going to say at NCP tonight, but the question was called as I stood in line at the mic.
Fifteen years ago I was asked to resign from a pastoral position after I preached a sermon suggesting that the rights of same-gender couples were worthy of our compassion, and their holy unions worthy of God’s blessings through the church. So I stand in awe and wonder at the transformed landscape of church and culture.
More than that, though, I stand humbled and honored by the pastoral relationships I have today with the same-gender couples whose Christian marriages I have celebrated over the years. We stand together on the rock of God’s love that shines forth in and through their lives as a witness to the new thing that God is doing in the church and in the world.
I had lunch today with a long-time CPC member – a recently retired federal government worker who is pretty far along the Asperger’s/autism scale. John’s mother was an alcoholic who escaped her pain through suicide when John was a teenager. His father was a distant man. John was saved – his word – when his mother’s sister brought John to Arlington to live with her and her life partner. Together they created a loving family of choice.
I asked John to share a few words during worship on a Sunday in the Easter season about his own experience of resurrection. I know his story will focus on love and family and will include the incredibly deep and supportive friendship he has with a couple of men I was privileged to marry last spring – on the 25th anniversary of their first date.
Who would have imagined – who could have imagined – 65 years ago when John was born in rural central Virginia that such families would form, that such friendships could be possible. God’s imagination is so much richer than ours, and so less confined to straight lines and square boxes.
It’s not a straight line from where I stood 15 years ago to where we stand today to what’s next. Sometimes the road is rough and rocky. But we worship a God who is inherently relational – Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer – and it is through our relationships as sisters and brothers in Christ that we will walk this new path together in joy, in hope, and in love.
Let us walk together, sisters and brothers, by adding our endorsement to what God is doing in and through our denomination.
So, the question was called by a conservative colleague when the only two people on his side of the issue had spoken. He said something to the effect that everyone pretty much knew how they’d vote when they got here. I suspect he was right about that. I didn’t much mind not speaking, but something rubs me the wrong way about the discussion begin cut off so quickly. I guess it’s that in all the years of being on the losing end of these votes I don’t recall conservatives being so eager to call the question so soon. I can’t help thinking that it may have something to do with the dwindling number of folks willing to stand up and articulate their point of view.