Sunday, November 25, 2012

Still alive: Err on the side of grace, not judgment


Teddy, Greg, Robb, Stephen

Make an appearance on the new online radio show, the Dais, produced by Glen. Hosted by a Mormon and a skeptic. We cover a lot of territory...including my feelings on the current state of the mainline church and the emerging discourse of transformation.  When they asked me what questions I would have for God, as big as the old theodicy question is, what has disturbed me the most recently have been the realities of addiction and mental illness. Towards the end we get into the whole Biblical literalism deal. The issue is understanding the difference between fact and truth. Not the same thing. When that got applied to marriage equality, I summed up my principle value that if you err, it’s better to err on the side of grace than the side of judgment.  They liked that. (If you’d like to listen the show is archived at

Teddy texts me that Robb and Greg are already at the church. They have come all the way from Tulsa, Oklahoma to get married.  After 17 years together. That in itself is an achievement.  This ceremony is more significant for me because they came to me through an old Tulsa friend,Marilyn. At first she thought that due to Presbyterian polity (rules) I wouldn’t be able to do it. But I responded that West-Park has been performing these marrauges for 34 years. The connection back to a city I truly loved, and where I was truly happy, feels good as does a connection back to someone who I truly value. Another one of thise circles.

Teddy has everything ready. We need another witness, So Teddy goes to get Stephen.  I give them the official architectire, design and social history tour while we wait.  When Teddy and Stephen come back, they use my ipad to stream the ceremony back to family. The vows and ring ceremony were especially emotional for this couple who had waotd so long. And Teddy said there were tears on the other side of the ipad as well. I told them I admired their courage both in staying together and making this commitment.

I also mentioned that a publication that has decided to take on those of who do this has accused us of promoting sexual anarchy. The new More Light  Director, Patrick Evans has responded, No, no. Sexual anarchy is waht straight people do at Mardi Gras. 

Everyone signs the license in turn. Robb, Teddy, Greg, Stephen, and me last of all. I am happy that they are happy and that our sanctuary has been blessed by their presence.

Robb and Greg

We head out to the street so that I can show them how to get to the downtown subway to Times Square. I say I’d love to get back to Tulsa. Ans they offer a couch. These moments make it worth it.

I have to stay in the church. Do tomorrow’s service. The tension around negotiations sort of dominated the week. I’m behind. Also calls to make, emails to respond to. Teddy brings me a paper cup of Jameson’s to celebrate the fact that we are still alive. I stop and think about that. Still alive. 

Couple and Pastor
And now its official

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