Marianne and I started our pre-wedding conversations with Pastor Kelly on Monday and it was… oddly comfortable.
Most of the hour-long meeting (of which there will be four?) was spent making a family tree, both mine and Marianne’s. We went back as far as our grandparents and it’s amazing how quickly they got complicated. We then talked about relationships with each of our relatives and how those relationships may or may not affect our relationship and how past interactions with our relatives (both positive and negative) shape who we are today. How and why we think, react, behave and deal with life the way we do.
As our conversation meandered along, we got talking about what the actual wedding ceremony is going to look like, considering Kelly is at pretty great risk for both performing the marriage and allowing us to use the sanctuary.
Apparently he’s been in conversation with a pastor from another Methodist jurisdiction who has performed same-gender “sidewalk weddings” which would allow him to participate by performing the actual wedding ceremony outside (on the sidewalk) but stops short of us using the church.
I’m trying to wrap my head around how one is different than the other. It seems to me that if you’re just going to jump in, why not go to the deep end. Walking in the three feet is easy, paddling in the nine feet not so much. But you’ve got an equal chance of drowning in both.
I’m also trying to remember that God is indeed everywhere and that it shouldn’t matter where we get married specifically, as long as our friends, family, pastor and God are hanging around.
But it still feels…different somehow. Separate…but not quite equal. We will see how it all develops.
Kelly also had the idea of letting the Green Street congregation vote on whether or not to allow us to use the sanctuary for our wedding. His thought is twofold:
- The congregation is going to vote yes; and
- The UMC will not kick out an entire congregation like they might take away a pastor’s credentials.
I’m also still trying to wrap my brain around those two thoughts.
On one hand, this could be a very good thing for our church. We voted to become a Reconciling Congregation in 2009. it’s time we put our shoes on and walk a little of the talk we do. It could also bring us closer as a congregational family.
On the other hand, I and others fought (and lost) the battle of whether or not North Carolinians get to vote on same-gender marriages back in the fall of 2011. The amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman comes up for a vote in the May 8th primary (vote against by the way). I didn’t think it was right then and I’m not sure I feel it’s right now.
Obviously there’s strength in numbers so I get why Kelly would suggest it. I just wish it wasn’t an issue.
I will say, that’s one thing I do like about the UMC folk.
We take to time to learn about an issue, study, mull it over and then make a decision. I’m currently reading a wonderful book: The Loyal Opposition: Struggling with the Church on Homosexuality. It is written and edited by, and largely for, United Methodists. It goes beyond the basic “this is what the Bible really doesn’t say about homosexuality” and speaks to the heart of Methodism and our Book of Discipline. Using evidence from both the Bible and the BoD, it lays out the case for removing any language that stops short of allowing gay and lesbian Christians anything but full inclusion in the UMC.
More on the book later, I just wanted to get some thoughts out before I start this day.