I'm back after a long absence. For the past six weeks, I've been constantly on the road attending church meetings and conducting workshops, preaching and teaching--seven meetings in six cities. It has been a delightful privilege and a humbling experience to be invited into communities of people doing wonderful ministry, to share conversation and stories with them, and to be blessed by their wisdom and spirits. I have also been blessed at home, here in Colorado, by a mother who loves to keep busy, doing the laundry and the cooking, and by a husband who continues to do consulting work, engaging interesting problems with tenacity and insight, and who doesn't demand a stay-at-home partner. I have garnered a boatload of stories and thoughts from these past six weeks and am eager to begin to blog about them!
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Below is my response to the current question in the Deputy Online Forum hosted by the President of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, of The Episcopal Church, which asks:
"In what ways do these theological principles (found in a document entitled "Theological Reflection on Covenantal Relationships: A Summary of 'Faith, Hope, and Love'") describe your experience of
lifelong monogamous relationship (your own or someone else’s)? How do
or might they help the Church consider the monogamous, lifelong,
covenantal relationships of same-gender couples?"
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Today my husband of almost 30 years and I had lunch with a friend and shared stories about how we have, in the wonderful partnership of our marriage, been able to incorporate into our family several other families who were undocumented and in great financial and pastoral need. It has been very clear to my husband and me that the covenanted, faithful aspect of our marriage has been integral in our call and our response to the needs of these immigrant families. This particular life of service probably would not have been possible had we remained unmarried and single. We more than likely would have been consumed with the demands of making a living and figuring out how to have meaningful social relationships, as was the case when we first met and chose each other. I am not saying that being single is bad; I am saying that my husband and I each have a vocation in marriage.
It has been the gift of our married life together that has strengthened us in our commitment to share the blessings that we have received. Having a partner whom we trust totally, with whom we can share completely our physical, emotional and spiritual lives, has given us the freedom and the joyful sense of gratitude to desire to share the blessings of friendship and family with others. We both know and acknowledge that we are better at being who we are, because we are married to each other. My husband makes me a better "Me," and I make him a better "Him." We don't take what we have as married partners for granted, and reflecting upon what we have makes us want more than ever to help others to be able to have the same thing.
We have taught our children that the single most important decision that anyone can make is choosing whom to love, including choosing to love God. Why should such an important choice be bounded by something as naturally occurring as gender or skin color? Our hope and our prayer for our children and grandchildren is that they find the partner who will help them create the sense of family, partnership, and completeness in their physical, emotional and spiritual lives, and when they find that partner, that they not feel any restrictions of artificial boundaries such as gender or skin color.