This has been an amazing few months in my life. In May, the Presbyterian Church (USA) amended their constitution to allow for the ordination of LGBT deacons, elders, and pastors. Then, last week, New York became the sixth US state to legalize same-sex marriage. My wife and I participated in demonstrations both inside and outside our state capitol building.
I also had the opportunity to speak on the local news about the upcoming vote in the senate.
On the Sunday after the vote passed, the same news station surprised us by showing up with cameras in hand at our morning worship service.
The responses have been myriad and diverse. Here are some words I would use to describe the responses:Thankful Condescending Cruel Honest Self-righteous Pedantic Supportive Confused Curious Reaching out Loving Combative Arrogant Hard-hearted Compassionate Hateful Ignorant
Look carefully at this list. It would be a mistake to assume that all the “positive” adjectives refer to those who agree with me and all the “negative” adjectives apply to those who think differently. As a matter of fact, the list is mixed for a reason. I could use several of these words to describe people on both sides of “this issue” (although I am loathe to call it that).
What speaks the most about us in times like these is how we respond, and not just the content of our response. I have felt such compassionate support from those who passionately disagree with me. I have also cringed at the hard-hearted self-righteousness of those who hold views similar to my own.
I will continue to hold onto the views I express in these articles because I believe them to be good and true. I honestly believe that I am following (however imperfectly) the lead of the Holy Spirit and the message of the Bible as I take the course I have chosen. I know that not all of you will agree with me. I won’t ask you to change your mind unless you want to. I will not enter into a Bible-quoting argument with you unless you truly want to understand how someone can read the Bible differently than you do.
I encourage you all, wherever you stand, to look at the character of your response to others. Is it in keeping with the Spirit of Christ? In your words and deeds, are you loving your neighbor as yourself?
What you say does not say so much as how you say it.