Sunday, June 29, 2008

did we just do that?

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) just, a few minutes ago, with NO riots and NO hubbub -- decently, and in order -- voted to delete the famous G-6.0106b from our book of order, thus removing an impediment to ordination for those who do not live "singly in chastity, or in fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman" and replacing it with some less-specific words about uprightness and about the authority of the local ordaining body to discern such matters.
End effect: it now is sent out to the nation-wide church by local presbytery, and if ratified, GLBTQ folk who have SEX (there's the elephant) outside of the traditional strictures of marriage are henceforth PERMITTED (or, not prohibited) to be ordained and to serve as ministers and elders in the church.

I was watching from the classroom, but as they voted to vote (procedural insanity) I jumped up and ran to the plenary hall. I stood in the back as the motion to end debate was passed, and as the advisory votes came in on the main motion, and as we clenched our hands and gritted our teeth and heard our hearts beating...
The vote was 380 to 325 in favor of deleting this clause. As Bruce declared it so a controlled shudder of celebration rippled through the room. Winners are not supposed to rub it in the face of losers, or else we are all losers -- so we don't clap or yell or dance immediately until the business is finished and we adjourn. But I saw an amazing surge of upward energy, especially in one rainbow-festooned row, energy expressed and stifled -- it rushed up in a couple of victory-type fists, and pulled down as people buried their heads in each others' shoulders and muffled their joy in rainbow scarves and hugged silently during the remaining 10 minutes of business.

Now I wish that I'd been wearing rainbow from the beginning... I would have felt more a part of the rejoicing group. But I also am glad about my anonymity. It is important to be able to have dinner with someone of a radically different view, and it helps that cause if you don't have the name of the lobby group you support on your name tag. It is an important discipline to offer yourself to others not as a collection of connections and bumper stickers, but as an integrated, interesting, unique person and Child of God.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard so much negativity about this particular action by the General Assembly, your recounting of the experience made me cry . . . and wish I was there. (Thanks for your application - now approved - to join the PCUSA web ring.)