Yesterday during our prayer and praise time a gentleman from Central stood up brought up this past week’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. When you allow people to share on the fly you never know what’s going to be said, or how people will receive it, so it was with both deep interest and trepidation that I took in what he had to say.
First he brought up his gladness that, despite his differing reading of Scripture, that an entire group of people were now being treated as equals under the law. To highlight his gladness he brought up other the other second class statuses with which this nation has had to wrestle in order to see them as equal under the law. Race was highlighted 1, but so was religion. It wasn’t that long ago that Roman Catholics, after all, were seen as outliers in good, Protestant, America. He also brought up a dear friend from High School, who has been with his partner for decades, who may now enjoy the same legal protections as heterosexual couples. Again he highlighted that he was glad for that, even if his theology on same sex coupling may differ from his friend’s.
In all it was a nicely balanced presentation which highlighted the need for this nation to be pluralistic while still saying, “Religiously, this is where I am.” He expected no apologies from those with whom he disagrees, nor did he offer apologies toward those who disagree with him. Instead, he symbolically offered an open hand to clasp in welcome.
Central was probably the ideal congregation for such a praise. Politically it’s probably about 2/3 toward the liberally end of the spectrum – but there are very few outliers at either political pole 2. Theologically Central leans toward the Evangelical spectrum, but few would put the “conservative” modifier in front of that term 3. I’m sure there were people in worship who disagreed with the notion that people should be happy for this new celebration of equality under the law. I’m equally certain there were people who thought this gentleman was woefully wrong for holding his theological position on homosexual unions. Yet, no one walked out. No one shouted. No one brought up a passive-aggressive counter as a prayer request. I think this is because the vast majority of folks present in worship all agree on one statement, “Jesus Christ is Lord” and we’ll word together from there.