Admiral of Morality: Blessings and anguish for pastors in California

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Blessings and anguish for pastors in California

Gay partnerships, unions, and marriages and Christian responses to them, continue to dominate the news.

Some clergy members in California spent Tuesday officiating at same-sex weddings made legal by a State Supreme Court ruling that took effect on Monday night. Others spent the day speaking out against same-sex marriage.

And there were those who spent the day in anguish, torn between the laws of their state and the laws of their church.

The Rev. Kimberly A. Willis said she had not decided what to do because she wanted to be able to minister to all of her congregants at Christ Church United Methodist, in Santa Rosa, about 10 percent of whom are gay. But if she officiates at a same-sex wedding, she could be charged with violating the United Methodists’ Book of Discipline, put on trial and defrocked.

“It was surreal to watch this and think, How can I not bless these people?” Ms. Willis said. “I can bless a car, and I have. I’ve been asked to bless animals, children, homes, bread, grape juice, but I can’t bless a gay and lesbian couple. That’s unreal to me.”

The tension could also be seen in Bakersfield, where the Rev. Tim Vivian of Grace Episcopal Church and about a dozen of his parishioners sat on the edge of a courtyard outside the Kern County Clerk’s Office, where same-sex couples were marrying. Mr. Vivian said he was “in solidarity” with the couples but would not participate in the ceremonies because his diocese was in turmoil over the gay issue and his superiors had asked him to refrain.

When asked whether he expected one day to marry same-sex couples in his church, Mr. Vivian said, “Very much so.”

Read the whole piece at The New York Times.

There is often a rather remarkable disconnect between the teachings and preaching of a Church and reality. In the past, one has given way to the other, to be reformed for the better.

When the subject has been Church teachings that have in some way dehumanized or limited real living persons, the solution has been to give powerful witness to our shared humanity.

The source of this powerful witness has regularly been and continues to be, the gift of grace and Spirit freely given. There is no way to dam it up.

Pray for our brothers and sisters in our Churches.


Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

And one of my family members is now rushing into marriage with someone who has no job, conttributes no money to the household, and is addicted to painkillers-- apparently, just because he now CAN.

So there's another part of the whole marriage experience. Now heterosexuals can share the folly and the heartbreak of doing stupid (and financially ruinous) things right there with their gay brethren and sisters.

I am heartbroken.

6/18/2008 04:20:00 PM  

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