I usually don’t tackle controversial “religious” topics in my blog, after all there are smarter folks blogging their little hearts out telling the world how they came to their unique revelations. I’m not so clever nor is my ego big enough to assume I have the answers to life’s burning questions. Yet, with all that has been happening lately, the shooting in South Carolina, the recent Supreme Court decisions and the general dissatisfaction both in politics and politicians, I have decided to write some of my own thoughts. Disclaimer, if you think you are going to get some kind of quotable statement, or expect to be awed by my insight, then you are in for disappointment and you should just go back to lurking about on Facebook. For the most part this is mostly for myself, to help me fully understand my own inner thinking and to sort out where I stand.
As an Episcopalian and a priest in this church I have always felt that the theological ground beneath me was more like quicksand rather than solid ground. So much has changed in my brief time being an ordained person and just when you get settled into a new place suddenly the ground beneath shifts and you are taken on a dizzying ride like having a case of vertigo. Now here I must make my own stand clear, I do support the recent ruling on same sex marriage and as a Christian and a priest I do not feel threatened by any “big brother” coming by and forcing me to do anything I am unwilling to take on. In fact, when it comes to marriage, and here is a point of contention, I would rather have folks go down to a JP or town hall, get hitched legally as the government requires, then if they desire come to the church to have their union blessed. In other words, let’s get out of the business of signing, legal, government forms, which we only do for marriage and no other sacramental rite.
Anyway, I digress just a bit because my real concern is how we, as Episcopalians, who will quote our Baptismal Covenant to defend our progressive side, will remain just as open and welcoming to those who disagree. In reading any poll that is taken it seems that over 1/3 of people disagree with the recent actions. In some cases there has been a call to civil disobedience in not recognizing the Supreme Courts decision. Now, 1/3 might not seem like a big deal, but consider baseball, a player who can get a hit one out of every three times at the plate, will be rewarded with a multi-year, multi millions of dollars contract. It’s a big deal.
Being Episcopal, being Anglican, we have always walked that fine line we like to call the “middle way.” But, like someone once said, “sitting on the middle of a fence gets uncomfortable” and we are now in that place of being uncomfortable. Our Baptismal Covenant calls us to “Seek and serve Christ in all people and to respect the dignity of ever human being” not just some, or those who at agree with us but with “all” people. That’s where it gets uncomfortable, that’s where we find ourselves on the road with Jesus to the Cross.
I have thought what would be my reaction if I came to church one bright, Sunday morning to find the good folks of Westboro Baptist protesting our progressive, and in their minds, heretical stance? Guess the only thing to do would be to process across the street with the Cross being carried high and offer to them what we offer to everyone, the sacrament which has been handed down to us on that night in the upper room. Love, the sacrificial love of Christ, who forgave those who crucified him, calls us also into that uncomfortable place of being his disciples. Our Presiding Bishop Elect, Michael Curry, tells us we are all part of the Jesus Movement and if that’s the case then we can expect the ground beneath us to continue to quake and move as we seek to make Christ’s love for all a reality and not just a dream.