Wednesday, July 15, 2009

And on to Blessings!

     With the work of clearing away the chilling effect of B033 completed, the House of Bishops at the Episcopal Church's 2009 Convention in Anaheim now turns its attention to the question of how or whether to bless same-sex unions. Yesterday’s discussion of Resolution C056 got bogged down, but they’re coming back to it this afternoon.

     In a number of states there is already recognition of committed same-sex relations. It’s a bit embarrassing to see the US courts and government ahead of the church in some places. All C056 is asking for is “pastoral generosity” in allowing bishops in states where gay marriage is already a fact to bless such unions.

     Committed relationships are hard enough to maintain for either traditional or same-sex couples. What makes a difference in whether such relationships survive are the support systems in place for the couple. Straight pairings have numerous societal supports already in place to prop them up. There is everything from instant family support and joy to bridal showers to niche cable TV shows to wedding planners to full church ceremonies. Just look at how many times you’ve seen a guy make an extravagant engagement proposal in public – the Jumbotron at the football game suddenly says, “Sara, will you marry me?” She says, “Yes!” The cameras zoom in, and people go “Awwww,” and applaud.

     Gay couples, however, go it alone in many cases. If we care about our dental work, we usually don’t go the “Jumbotron at the football game” route with our proposals. There are no societal supports, often not even family support. We can and do create our own families through our friends, but not having the support of the families that raised you can be a devastating blow.

     The old Captain & Tennille song says, “Love, love will keep us together…” The reality, as anyone who has done pastoral counseling with a young couple will tell you, is that love is not enough. There have to also be support systems in place. The blessings of our faith communities should be one of those.

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