Weather Forecast

From Overland Park, KansasMcKell
By Jay McKell

It has been warmer than usual in the heartland this winter.  Actually, it has been warmer across the entire country.   Now warmer than usual is not a good thing for a guy like me who loves winter with its snowfalls, icicles, and snowball fights in the backyard with the grandchildren.  Nor has this unseasonable warmth helped my friends at the local hardware store where the sales of snow shovels and anti-freeze have dropped through the floor.

Actually warmer weather is not a good thing for any of us.  Gradually more and more of us are coming to the realization that the planet’s temperature is rising dramatically and will soon be followed by higher seas, more significant storms, droughts, floods, etc.  This year’s weather has already proven that it’s no longer the forecast, it is reality!  What’s coming mustn’t be ignored.  Changes need to be made in the way we think and the way we live.

But when thinking about the temperature not in the context of climate change but in the context of cultural change, as well as change in the church, this warming trend is turning into something which we can all celebrate.  I am, of course, speaking about not only the acceptance but also the welcoming of GLBT persons into the mainstream of society as well as within the life and ministry of the Presbyterian Church.  Perhaps another way of saying it is that our hearts are warming as we get to know, work with, play with, worship with, and serve with GLBT individuals.  As we do so, more and more of us are coming to realize this warming trend is a good thing.

Of course, this warming of our hearts is also accompanied by big changes.  Some, such as ordination opportunities now being available to all whom God calls to service regardless of their sexual orientation, are occurring across the church.  Granted this is a gradual process, but it is happening; and as it does so the storms are diminishing.  That’s a good thing.  Off in the distance, but not too far, the dawning of same sex marriage within the church approaches.  Not surprisingly it will be accompanied by some more big storms with lots of wind and fearful talk from certain forecasters about the damage such a change might make.  But will they prevail?  Will we, as a church, retreat from doing what is right?  I doubt it.  Elections in the fall resulted in civil marriages now being the practice in nine states as well as the District of Columbia.  Just the other day the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. announced that it is now offering same sex marriage services.  Clearly when it comes to GLBT persons’ full participation in society and in the church, the forecast is for warmer weather.  That’s a good thing, thank God!

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