Today. Today, my quite diverse church -- at least in terms of political leanings -- voted 81% yes in favor of a welcome statement that explicitly describes our congregation as welcoming of ALL people, regardless of race, ethnicity, language group, economic status, gender orientation, sexual identity, or handicap status. For me, of course, this was a no-brainer, an easy "yes," and WAY overdue.
In case you don't realize it, an 81% majority on any issue in a church is an extraordinary thing. You probably couldn't get an 81% majority on votes for colors of pew cushions, or on types of plaques to hang in the memorial hall, and certainly not on the menu items to offer the choir kids. In other words, there would be less unanimity on issues of far less consequence.
Over the past few days, emails have flown, fast and furious, between a few people who were adamantly against this proposed welcome, and a select few of us who had been vocal in our support of it. We knew, based on early survey data, that this welcome was likely to pass at today's congregational meeting. In fact, it passed with a larger margin than was suggested by the data (the survey data had revealed a 75% majority in favor).
The arguments against the welcome have fallen into two camps: a) the anti-homosexual one, and b) the don't-we-already-welcome-everybody-why-should-we-single-some-people-out one. Another line of thinking was that the welcome didn't explicitly proclaim the gospel, though in my humble opinion, that was basically a clever combination of arguments a and b.
I have, predictably, made some enemies by my vocal stance in favor of this issue (in fact, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg; I am all for gay marriage). I have also made some new friends, and discovered that you really cannot predict who is against or in favor of this issue. Some of the most conservative, closed-minded people are about 24 years old; some of the most open-minded are in their 80s (and have invited me to be on committees to schedule talks during adult education hour).
Lesson: never be afraid to speak your mind. Good things sometimes happen when you do.
- My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.