The following message is for anyone who wants to see marriage equality become a reality in the Episcopal Church liturgy.
In reading Rev. Susan Russell's blog, I saw where from now until November 27th, anyone who is a deputy to the Church's National Convention in Indianapolis next summer is invited to read and make comment on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music's white paper on same-sex marriage rites.
The rest of us, I guess, don't get to comment until after that period.
Here's the link to the item on Rev. Russell's blog.
The SCLM is offering two resolutions to consider. One would be to adopt the liturgical materials they have developed and begin implementing them in those jurisdictions that allow for same-sex marriage beginning on 1Advent of 2012. The other option is to ask the Presiding Bishop and the House of Deputies President to appoint a task force to "study the theological, scriptural, historical, canonical, and liturgical aspects of marriage and to develop tools for theological reflection along with norms for theological discussion at the local level." In other words, either go for it on fourth down or punt for another three years. Folks, honestly: the discussion about full inclusion of LGBT people in the church has been happening since 1976!! Babies born in that year have already gone to college, started a career, and come out of the closet. They are now parish priests, for crying out loud! I think we are all talked out by now.
If I were running a "TR" on the two options, I would have a field day.
What does Tradition say? Well, they've got lots to look at in the Blessing of a Marriage language in the BCP, and they've done research on these "new" rites as indicated in their white paper. Some might quote the same tired-old business out of the Bible from Leviticus, Romans, 1 Corinthians. Whatever.
What does Culture say? "The Church is stupid and hateful toward gays." (Don't believe me? I'll invite you to a party with my "unchurched" friends!)
What experiences have I had? None, really. I live in Florida and the voters already made my choice for me and the church. But I sure do get goose-bumps when I see all those other people getting married and seeming to be so happy and joyful. How much more so will be those who are faithful members of the Episcopal Church who have waited, and waited to have their relationships celebrated in the same way we see our straight brothers and sisters being blessed?
What is my Position? That the Church should quit the damn studies, and get on with it!
What Insights do I gain from all of this? That the Church needs to move at a pace that is respectful and comfortable for the members who are the most leery... but the ones who are most leery must also trust that those who have been standing along side them as they wade into these unchartered waters are not going to hold them under and drown them. Nobody is "dunking" anyone else... and it is time to learn how to swim. Then everyone can enjoy the water and play with each other. And all will be well.
So if you are a deputy, or know someone who is a deputy, please forward this message and encourage this process to move ahead and get us off the dime. Please!