Thursday, July 09, 2009

what would tevye think?

This little graphic is from the web site despair.com. I got curious about it when I saw this poster over at my daily chuckle, cake wrecks.

It's a timely discovery when you consider that the Episcopal Church is meeting at this very moment at its trienniel General Convention to consider timely and pressing matters before the body of Christ that tends to follow the leadership of men who wear long white gowns with bright red, sleeveless robes over them. This is tongue-in-cheek, of course. I love my church, and love means never having to say you're sorry for being able to laugh at yourself!

Tradition is one of the things that some people believe is at stake at our convention. This is true any time General Convention meets, because there are always resolutions that introduce a new way of looking at things, or understanding someone or something different from our experience. We pride ourselves in grounding who we are in a three-legged stool of scripture, reason, and tradition.

Not surprisingly, matters of human sexuality are center stage, and our collective diversity of opinion pretty much dictates that discussion will be lively, if not, at times, heated. A twist in the plot is introduced this year by changes in six state laws that allow same-sex couples to marry legally. Bear in mind that a marriage is created by two people who make pledges to each other, witnessed by a representative of the state and hence made legal and binding. The Church does not marry, but blesses that union. Period. It's nuance, I know, but it happens to be true. So now that five of the six New England states and Iowa (yes, Iowa!) have made it legal for same-sex couples to marry, the Church faces a quandary. It will be interesting to see how she (the Church) responds.

(As an aside: almost more interesting is that the seat of puritanism and a geographic region whose people are often described (undeservedly, in my opinion) as reserved and cold, those same New England states, are the first to shepherd in this cultural change. I guess Rhode Island is more concerned about changing its name this year. Next year perhaps they'll make it a unanimous block of states that allows same-sex couples to marry.)

Anyway, wherever on the spectrum one places tradition as a thing to be revered, its presence will not go unnoticed at General Convention. By sharing this “tradition” poster I am not suggesting that tradition is any way a stupid thing. I simply thought it was funny, and one thought led to another. I think even Tevye would laugh. Won't you join us?

6 comments:

Suzan said...

Hasn't human sexuality been a focus now for years with the Church? It seems to me that at every General Convention the brouhaha starts up again. The blessing of a union/marriage/whatever the name is an act of love, compassion and respect. Isnt' that what Christianity and the Episcopal church are supposed to be about? "Tradition" be damned. That was the same blather during the battle over the ordination of women.
At every baptism we declare that we will seek and serve Christ in all persons, strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being. The Church needs to live out those proclamations and stop the nonsense.

Mary Beth said...

Amen to you and to Suzan! I think you are my favorite new blogger of 2009!!

Kimberly Mason said...

Amen! I have a sticker on the back window of my car that says "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You" and I don't see an asterisk that says "*except..."

I LOVE despair.com. I used to giggle over their demotivational posters while working in an office full of people that had NO clue why it was funny. That's why I don't work there anymore.

Jayne said...

I'll just AMEN what Suzan said! Bravo!

mompriest said...

I am so ready for the conversation to move onto a new topic but first let's be radical in our hospitality to all!

Pam in Moncton said...

Yup! "Everyone Welcome" is what it says on our church sign. Now we are not Anglican but United Church of Canada, a denomination known for "progressive" thoughts and deeds. Still - applies to us all I would think as one of the key features in the gospel stories seems to be the "radical hospitality" of Jesus. Anyway we have had same sex marriage in Canada for a while now and I haven't seen any signs of the world ending as we know it. Not from that anyway.
Pam

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