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Thursday, June 18, 2009


Note: Well, the tone of the . . .(ahem) . . .'conversations' on the HOB/D listserv is heating up. Must be getting close to General Convention in Anaheim.

You know, my Momma didn't raise no fool. I know when the White boys in power are playing around with language. One of them pulled my last, poor tired nerve when the conversation went 'round again to "blessing same-sex relationships" and he predictably went straight to the old canard of "But will this then lead to blessing polyamourous relationships?"

Grrrrrrr. . . You know, I keep saying this stuff, but sometimes, I just have to say it slow and loud and clear - which is what I do when I am frustrated because the children are misbehaving.

This all came under the thread "Acceptance":

I wish to make a plea here for a change in language that keeps us focused on the issue before the church, at least, as LGBT people understand it.

LGBT people are not - I repeat NOT - asking the church to bless our same sex relationships.

We are asking the church for the same thing afforded to 'opposite sex' (to quote the former Ms. California) relationships. We are asking the church to bless the COVENANTS we make between each other.

That's it. That's all.

With all due respect, 'opposite sex' couples do not ask the church to bless their relationship. Neither are those of us who are 'same sex' couples.

With all due respect, we are not asking for your approval of our relationship, just as 'opposite sex' couples do not ask for approval of their relationships (even though the statistics prove that 50% of them will end in divorce).

With all due respect, we are not asking you to welcome us in any other special ways that you welcome 'opposite sex' couples into your congregations.

With all due respect, we are not asking you to make us members of the church or even to 'accept' us as full and equal members of the church. Our baptism already does that. We are already 'included' in the Household of God. We are asking you to recognize that fact and act accordingly.

This is not in the same category as blessing hounds, boats, motorcycles, vestments or religious jewelry.

We are asking the church to bless the COVENANTS we make between each other for faithful, life-long monogamy in a relationship marked by mutual respect, equality, fidelity and the holy love that is a reflection of the love of God.

Thank you.


Unknown said...

Being raised RC before coming to the Episcopal Church, I always fall back on my remembered RC sacramental theology. "Marriage" is the covenant two people make before God. The church is just there to witness (well, until they started adding canon law stuff on top of the actual theology) and the priest to offer a blessing in the name of the church community.

While the Episcopal Church mostly supports the more protestant position of two "biblical" sacraments and retaining others as "sacred but not quite sacraments" it would seem to me even more a matter of the couple and not the priest being the core actors theologically.


Matthew said...

My only disagreement is that if you believe that a sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace, shouldn't we be talking about the sacrament of Holy Matrimony for same sex couples, as with all couples? There are certain sacraments that only certain people in the church can provide (i.e. eucharist). This is where the role of the clergy is important. So, why aren't we talking about this in terms of Holy Matrimony/sacramental theology rather than "blessing" a covenant, unless that is simply what the sacrament entails. I just don't understand why we cannot use the same "term" -- marriage -- as we would use for opposite sex couples. Why create another liturgy? Just use the BCP marriage liturgy and replace words husband and wife. This is what the Church of Sweden is doing.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Yes, Matthew, I want full marriage equality too. The important thing to remember about the Sacramental Rite of Marriage is that the only thing a clergy person does during that ceremony - whether or not it is same or 'opposite' sex couples, is to Bless the Covenant.

That's all I'm saying.

IT said...

I too am weary, weary beyond measure after the latest round of insults at the government level.

I am tired of being treated as less than fully human, less than fully a citizen.

I am tired of people who know nothing of me assuming that because of one minor biological detail, I am irrevocably WRONG.
I am tired of theh same old arguments.

let us realize that there is no compromise. Either homosexuality is a deal-breaking evil, or i is morally neutral like heterosexuality. There isn't a middle ground. It's either one or the other. We can't persuade or change the opinions. We are frozen in them.

And as the merry go round goes round and round, that's what we come up with.

I am not a number. I am not a thing. I am not something to be talked about, pointed at, and excoriated. I am a person, doing my best to live a humane and moral life, despite my life and my love being treated as, frankly, shit.

And I am tired of it.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Amen, IT. Amen.

it's margaret said...

Hmmmm --I guess my delight in having a very incarnationalist perspective kept me blind to this blessing covenant part....

I have always seen the couple as the presiders, and yes the church is there only to witness what is already true. But, I put my hands on their heads, not on their covenant, and bless THEM. In real live flesh and blood they embody the covenant-- and that is what I bless, flesh and blood made real to us (again, and again, and again.)

Come to think of it --all the biblical covenants are made real, blessings embodied through flesh and blood.... I'm gonna have to think about this some more.

And Elizabeth --I would, without hesitation, bless YOU and your beloved--your very flesh and blood, for all the blessings you share and carry and make known in our midst.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ah, Margaret, we have already been blessed by your friendship.