I wrote this at my pastor's request...he asked if I'd write about how I had felt about not being able to have my same-sex union blessed on my and my wife's anniversary.
Inclusion with Clauses
I find it odd and absurd that gay and lesbian unions can’t be blessed. The Episcopal Church welcomes homosexuals to its church with the promise of full inclusion, well at least until you read the unpublished and typically undocumented fine print. Gene Robinson put the Episcopal Church on the map for me, until then I didn’t know that the denomination even existed. A fellow lesbian parishioner led me to our church, Reconciliation. As I learned more and more about what it meant to be an Episcopalian, the more excited I got. Here’s why I fell in love with the Episcopal Church: (1) Scripture, Tradition, Reason, (2) Women priests, (3) Gays and Lesbians welcomed as themselves, (4) via media. And these reasons why I love the Episcopal Church are also what bring me the most pain. It is reason number 4 in particular; the loop hole, the well ok, the we want everyone at the table, the so well we’ll look the other way when we don’t agree. We color it in the language of living in tension, we call it giving those who aren’t quite where the others are time to catch up; and this I can understand. But what I can’t understand is when we use via media as an excuse not to take action against injustice and discrimination.
Maybe it’s a fault of my own - an impatience with a 30 year conversation, an impatience with pure talk and not enough action. Maybe it’s a fault of my own that I’m unwilling to hold this moment in time in comparison to a 2,ooo year history. Maybe it’s a fault of my own for not being able to understand why others can’t see the beauty of my relationship to my partner, the beauty of our young family, maybe it’s my fault for not being able to see a God who finds my sexual orientation as evil and contrary to specific pieces of scripture never uttered by Jesus Christ. Maybe it’s my own fault for wanting our diocese, the Diocese of West Texas, to be like the dioceses that do bless same-sex unions that do allow practicing homosexuals to be ordained.
What I do know is that full inclusion with clauses hurts, it’s like a wound that never quite heals, every Sunday freshly poked as my heterosexual coupled parishioners have their unions blessed, never having to explain to their children why our church treats us just a little bit different. And so we begin the slow growth of the seed called hypocrisy. Do I explain to my children how sometimes the church gets it wrong even though Jesus tells us how to get it right? Do I explain to my children how sometimes “church people” are still learning what Jesus’ radical love is all about? Do I explain to my children that how the church is treating us, gays and lesbians, is contrary to the notion of what the ideal church is all about – it’s about family? And the answer is yes, to sugar-coat the issue, to avoid, to umm, well – is well, shameful to me, shameful to who I am, it is a shame I won’t carry. I’ll fast but I won’t lie; I won’t pretend that’s it’s ok. And when my children begin to ask why I stay the answer will be, because to leave the table is to leave the conversation, to acquiesce, and because the Episcopal Church eventually gets it right.