Once we got it up the stairs and on the network, I finally found out why this was such a Big Deal: Emily had drawn Cameron's Valentines Day present on her computer, and it had been sitting there, unprintable, for over two months.
Yeah, I'd say that drawing (and that smile) justified the extra miles:)
No court today (or the next two days- yay!- next week will make up for that, though:P), and my only outside commitment of the day was my local office's observance of Administrative Professionals Day. The staff doesn't officially work for me, but they are kind and helpful and don't bring me any office-political bullshit. I was invited to join them, at a fairly high-end local steak place, but I first ran out to Wegmans and got greeting and gift cards for everybody.
Minutes after we got there, my co-workers' real boss stopped at a nearby table. She introduced me; this was our landlord, taking his staff out for the occasion. I'd never met him (or really anybody from management) before, since I've been subletting. After our orders were placed, the waiter came up and whispered something to Melissa:
Our landlord had just comped our entire table.
Now, granted, the timing was great in more ways than one. Not only were we both there for the same occasion, but we had just re-upped (with me now as an official co-tenant) for another three years starting next week. So in terms of keeping a good-performing lease on his books, we meant more to them than a table full of very nice salads. Still, it was quite a kind gesture.
That brings us to what tomorrow might bring- and I do expect news. What it is ranges from hopeful to fearful.
The Supreme Court-ish power of United Methodism is vested in a Judicial Council. Like the denomination itself, it is made up of voting members from all over the US and from growing foreign jurisdictions, particularly in the Third World, that take a far less progressive view of LGBTQ issues than many corners of the church.
Last year, the bishops of a US-based region of the church elected the first-ever openly LGBTQ pastor to serve in an episcopal role. Within days, the leaders of a southern-fundie jurisdiction ratted them out and petitioned the Judicial Council to overturn the election because her very existence as an avowed lesbian precluded her from serving in any level of United Methodist clergy, much less as part of the highest body (Methodists ain't got no pope, or Archbishop of Canterbury equivalent).
The Council met yesterday to hear Karen's case. A decision is expected as soon as tomorrow. There;s a progressive bishop and leadership in a neighboring conference of New York, but the one for this region has ranged in his pronouncements from wishy-washy to outright hostile to the step taken by elevating Pastor Karen to the episcopacy. He sent out an email (yes, I still get them- mainly to track this issue), and he urged restraint in reacting to it:
No one can predict the outcomes of this session of the Judicial Council, but I implore us to trust that God is in the midst of it. While the work of the Judicial Council is significant and has impact upon our common life, I urge us to see this week as simply one part of the whole work that is before us as a denomination. The Commission on a Way Forward, commissioned by the Council of Bishops and authorized by the General Conference, is working diligently to help us find God's way forward for The United Methodist Church, specifically in our fractures around homosexuality.
Just by using the "H" word instead of LGBTQ, he's tipped his hand as to his bias. The Commission he refers to was, like most other commissions and committees created in organizations, an attempt to kick the can of LGBTQ rights down the road to prevent an up-or-more-likely-down vote on changing the offensive language in Methodist doctrine (dating all the way back to 1972) that bans same-sex marriage and ordination.
While you may be tempted to allow the decisions made this week to guide your sense of the future, I beg you not to do so. Whatever the Judicial Council decides, it is the work of the Commission on a Way Forward, acted upon by a special session of the General Conference, which will be the most important decision point for these critical matters.
Yeah. Someday. And probably, even if it calls for a change in the language, the full body of clergy and laity, many filled more with bigotry and fear than with the Holy Spirit, will vote down the change and go thank their God that they saved the Church Ladies from those icky homos one more time.
Perhaps coincidentally, in my travels this morning, I heard this song, by legendary Rochester folk artist Connie Deming:
Oh, where would we be, if Rosa had simply given up her seat?
The song starts about a minute in, after some banter and tuning:
No, Mark, I'm done with commissions and task forces and surveys. I'm sick of my friends, and likely a relative somewhere, being pushed to the back of the ecclesiastical bus because of homophobia preserved in biblical amber for almost 2,000 years. I'm hurt when I read shit like this from one of the fundie-side organizations which has come out (heh heh) to beat down (heh heh) progress in the face of Bishop Karen's bravery:
The Wesleyan Covenant Association, a United Methodist evangelical group, will be meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, April 28-29, meaning it could be in session when the Judicial Council decision is announced.
The Rev. Jeffrey Greenway, a leader of the group, said the timing was coincidental. But he said the hearing is definitely on his mind and that of other WCA members. He’s praying for the various parties involved, but said he hopes the Judicial Council invalidates Oliveto’s election.
“She is a bishop of the whole United Methodist Church, while publicly embracing and advocating a lifestyle that is contrary to our polity in terms of licensing, ordination and appointment of clergy,” Greenway said. “For her to remain in her role would make (denominational) unity exponentially more difficult.”
The Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News, another unofficial evangelical group, agreed.
“There would just be many evangelicals who could not live in a church that allows not just individuals, but one of our episcopal leaders, to adopt a lifestyle contrary to the scriptures,” he said.
In other words, to live her life the way God created her, in faithful commitment to a single soulmate, inspiring boys and girls and men and women and none of the aboves that they, too, matter in the sight of their God and there is a place for them, not only in the cheap seats and in the receiving line of the Communion table, but on both sides of the altar when the day comes to be called to marriage or ordination. And if "many evangelicals.... could not live in a church" like that, well, guys, don't let the nave doors hit you on the way out. Because otherwise, I've gone out that door, and will join my wife in it being a one-way exit if you fuck this up.