- A lawsuit filed by the Diocese of San Joaquin
- Rumors that John-David Schofield is a closeted homosexual - or did he come out in print already? Whatever the case, it seems clear that he's an ex-gay - does this explain a few things?
- The Anglican Province of the Southern Cone apparently now claims the Diocese of San Joaquin as belonging to its communion, but of course the Episcopal Church itself doesn't recognize that
- Oh, and the Diocese of San Joaquin was the first Episcopalian diocese to leave the Church since the Civil War
- Meanwhile, crazy stuff is going on: Episcopal flags removed from Tracy, congregants fleeing to Stockton, you name it
- In San Francisco, the Bishop of the Diocese of California - Bishop Marc - will be celebrating a Pride Mass this Sunday in San Francisco. Oh, and if you were as confused by this as I was, it helps to know that the Diocese of California is apparently the smallest diocese in California (there are six).
To sum up: whoa. I declined to join the Presbyterian Church when presented the opportunity in seventh grade; I felt no connection to Christianity or God or anything like that. But when a good friend suggested that it might be possible for his father (a reverend) to marry us, I found myself open to the idea of a religious service (my atheism notwithstanding) - I suppose part of the attraction was the very notion that the Church had changed to the point where I could imagine myself belonging (if it weren't for the problem of not believing in God in the first place).
I was very favorably impressed by a pastoral letter regarding same-sex marriage from Bishop Marc, and reading through approved liturgy, I found myself profoundly moved by the text.
Here's a sample:
16 Dearly beloved [or, Beloved Community]: We have come together in the
17 presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of these two
18 people in Holy Union. The bond and covenant of holy union was established
19 by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by
20 his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to
21 us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy
22 Scripture commends it to be honored among all people. The union of two
23 people in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy;
24 [and] for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity;
25 [and, when it is God’s will, for the nurture of children in the knowledge and
26 love of the Lord.] Therefore such a union is not to be entered into
27 unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with
28 the purposes for which it was instituted by God.
For the first time in my adult life, I felt that these words could actually have some relevance to me as a person, overtly religious context notwithstanding: remove the idea of intentionality on the Flying Spaghetti Monster's part (or whichever deity - your choice), and this makes good sense to me.
Even at moroccomole and djmrswhite's ceremony last Sunday struck similar notes: yes, the union of two people is in fact intended for their mutual joy (or amusement, which is a similar enough word, after all). No, this isn't something to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly. And - to me most importantly - a marriage is in fact a coming together of the greater community to witness and bless the joining together of two people.
Sadly, due to all of the above legal and general mess, it won't be possible for the good reverend to marry us; it would cause way too many problems with his church. Even more sadly, the fleeting connection I felt to any kind of religion for the first time in nearly thirty years is gone as well, lost in a haze of squabbles over whether or Gene Robinson is Satan, Scripture can be reevaluated in the light of subsequent revelations or knowledge, and so on and so forth. Frankly, that's a shame.
Anyhow, it looks like I'll be working on creating a service that somehow incorporates the things that personally matter to me - the public celebration and witnessing of a deep and lasting commitment to my partner - without all that stuff about Cana and whatnot. I've got good help - you'll have to wait until Aug. 16 for the final product - so I'm confident it will turn out well. Best of all, I think I'll be reaching for more universal truths instead of relying in part on references I don't get (I'd look up Cana, but the NRSV Bible I ordered online last week hasn't arrived yet). Ultimately, I just hope that I can find the words to publicly and honestly express the commitment Dan and I are about to publicly make to each other; it's difficult to externalize what has essentially been a private dialog between us for many years now, but I suppose that's part of what a wedding is all about.