The only thing that seems certain in my life is that I can manage to see the silver lining in every cloud. I'm the one making the lemonade when life hands out lemons. In a sea of cynics, I'll be the one in the rose-colored glasses. They call me "Pollyanna" and I'm not sure it's always meant as the highest praise. No matter -- I can't help who I am!
So, I have just had the second of two meetings in my church where some people are very confounded by the recent "marriage equality" resolution passed by the 25th General Synod of the United Church of Christ. Some people are yelling and some people have (sadly) left the church. Some think we should leave the UCC; others think we should just not give them any more money. Some are presenting misinformation as truth. Others are being way too quiet! It's a tough time. It's a tough time for all who are engaged with the issue or involved with those who are.
But not for me -- of course -- ultimately -- because now that I have heard what I've heard, and now that I've cried over it most mornings in recent memory, my Pollyanna outlook is back, and here is her list of the GREAT things that have happened to me in all of this:
- I am uplifted by John Thomas' pre-Synod speech which does so much more than merely endorse *the resolution*.
- I found this wonderful article -- The Past as Prologue: The Church and Change, by Barbara Brown Zikmund. She is incredible.
- I actually did go to the Synod, and I do have the most wonderful memories of friends, colleagues, worship and music, laughter and hugs, and having my spiritual tank filled up to overflowing.
- I have a congregation that is so ready to hear -- and perhaps learn for the first time -- what the UCC really believes!
- AND ... they will have the chance to hear the biblical rationale that homosexuality is a sin AND also the perspective that says that the Bible cannot be used today to condemn homosexuality. Thank you, Toby Holleman, Penn Northeast Conference Associate Conference Minister! What a great and timely gift for our congregation!
- I found out that people are quoting ... I mean mis-quoting ... my sermon around the community. Who knew that anyone noticed what "little ole me" was saying ?! I wonder what I'll have to do in the future to preach another memorable sermon?
- I always think I'm totally dispensable in the church, but do know that I am needed now. I'd rather be dispensable.
- I have not been left alone in this. I never am.
- This is a tremendous opportunity for our church to be different from the others, even if the biggest difference is simply that we can disagree and be diverse without creating division. Actually, nothing simple about that!
- I am still so very happy to be a pastor in the United Church of Christ. There is no other place I would want to be. I can only hope that my enthusiastic joy is contagious!