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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thought, Reconciliation and Much, Much More

I've been a Facebook friend of Mike Kinman for 3 years now.  The Very Rev. Michael Kinman is Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, MO.  He always writes and preaches thoughtfully and with conviction.  Reprinted here is the latest entry on his blog ' Come Together'.  For this blog entry and some of his other writings, go to:  Thank you, Mike for letting us re-post your excellent piece.

Letter to the Editor on "marriage equality" -- What and Why

Dear editor,

As a Christian and a U.S. citizen, I stand against the passage of Amendment One in North Carolina and in support of our President in his support of so-called "marriage equality."

Different faiths view marriage differently, but marriage is first and foremost a covenant of faith and has been for millennia. Marriage is not for the state to define. The state's job is to define what legal arrangements people can enter into and give equal access to them. As a citizen, I find Amendment One to be legislative over-reaching. As a Christian, I find it presumptuous and offensive.

For Christians, marriage is about a joining together in Christ, a sign of Christ's love to a broken world. Jesus spoke regularly about the quality of love to which we were called and not at all about the gender of the people involved. As a Christian, I believe particularly in an age where commitments are too often treated as suggestions, two people who are willing to stand before God and in the midst of their community and pledge to love one another as Christ has loved us until they are parted by death should be embraced, celebrated, and supported ... not rebuffed.

The Very Rev. Michael D. Kinman
Dean, Christ Church Cathedral

Tonight, I sent the preceding letter to the editors of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the St. Louis American - whether it will ever see the light of day beyond this blogpost is any one's guess. but I wanted to share it with you all and let you in on my process of deciding to write it.

Chapter is prayerfully wrestling with what the role of Christ Church Cathedral should be in political and social action. I am continually wrestling with a related but separate question ... the role of the Dean. And so, as I watched the statements of support of marriage equality pour in following the passage of Amendment One in North Carolina and President Obama's statement today, I wrestled with whether I should add my voice to the throng.

I was hesitant for several reasons:

*Because I believe the Church runs off the rails when we substitute a goal of being politically and socially relevant for our call to "restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ."(BCP, p. 855)

*Because it should go without saying that particularly in an age where commitments are treated as suggestions, two people who are willing to stand before God and in the midst of their community and pledge to love one another as Christ has loved us until they are parted by death should be embraced and celebrated, not rebuffed.

*Because it is not my experience that letters to the editor foster prayerful, learned, concerned dialogue ... something that is in short supply. Instead, it would likely elicit congratulations from people agree with me and vitriol from those who disagree with me.

Obviously, I overcame that hesitation, but I want to share with you why.

*This is about reconciling all people to God and each other in Christ. I said before that I would only be making statements "as the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral" if I believe there is a Gospel imperative at stake. It is clear to me that there is. Marriage is about a joining together in Christ. It is "a sign of Christ's love to this sinful and broken world." We need to be clear both the invitation and the support for incarnating that love is available to all.

And also ... we do need to defend our turf. As I said in the letter, marriage equality as a legal issue is a case of the state sticking its nose where it doesn't belong. We have enough work to do on marriage ourselves without the government muddying the waters.

*It should go without saying ... but of course nothing goes without saying. And particularly because many who are promoting things like Amendment One are using the name of Jesus and the language of our faith in their arguments, it is up to those of us who believe differently to say so clearly.

Neither of these things address my third hesitation, so let me just say I truly want to be in prayerful, learned, respectful dialogue with people who feel differently. So if you feel differently out of fear, I want to help assure you that God's love is deep and broad and not scarce at all and you need not fear at all. If you feel differently out of honest faith, I want to listen together for God's wisdom that is beyond our own ... and maybe together find a way to be reconciled to one another in Christ and move forward together.

I have been blessed to have been mentored by two deeply faithful people -- Philip Turner and Ken Semon -- who believe differently from me in this area, and that is proof enough to me that people of deep faith who love Jesus can disagree and not have it be about hate or homophobia.

And as we prayerfully wrestle with our role as a Cathedral, it is my hope that Christ Church Cathedral can be a place where everyone knows they are welcome at the table and in the conversation. Where the rule of the community is prayerful, learned, respectful dialogue that seeks to dive into the mystery of God's wisdom and not just amplify our own. Where even if we decide we need to take a stand and proclaim what we believe to be Gospel truth ... that we take that stand with all humility, realizing that we follow one who found power not on a throne but on the cross.


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