Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What is the real purpose of a gay blessing?

When I was a kid, I did not have the images of the white picket fence or the family with a wife, 2.5 kids and 1.25 dogs. I never saw myself fitting into the mainstream demographic. I don’t believe anybody wakes up in the middle night and screams the revelation “I want to marry someone of the same sex!” That seems a little too farfetched even for this dynamic world. Though it may be a genetic marker that determines our sexuality, it takes the courage within a person to help them accept things the way they are. In doing so, a person is not making a choice of what you naturally are, but to make the choice to be as you are.

Part of being who you are is reflected in the relationships we build with others. Stories of joy and pain are told to the world through the examples of your relationships. That includes friends, work-relationships, family or just common bonds but there is no greater of a tale to tell than the journey of love between two souls that finally found each other.

Now, let’s add God into the mix because whether anybody believes in the existence of this being, the faith in the creator of all was before all. Before you were gay, before this nation had problems with same-sex marriage, before we were fighting for our rights and before there was church; there was the individual covenant between you and God. I want to be clear, there is no way in the world I am a religious man of devotional faith. I am a just a gay man that believes everything in this natural world can be questioned but we will not receive all the answers.

Humans are an abundant natural resource in this world. We need each other for survival whether you wish to believe that or not. The natural mechanisms within a human that God has created, such as love, compassion, affection and sex commit us to needing one another. 

The commitment two people share within a relationship is a wonderful act of expression and progression. A relationship pushes the evolutionary chain of our civilization’s existence further, it elevates our world in understanding ourselves plus the things around us and it helps us become closer to the divine, which is before all, that is God.

Simply put, being gay is not a human decision. It is a function of natural creation and whether a person wants to believe the scholars and scientists that have proven this fact with facts, is a moot point. It is the relationship with the creator of all that will have final relevance. This is why the Episcopal Church has decided to not only take on the covenantal mission of acceptance of the gay community but to be a denominational leader of faith to the rest of the religious world who are stuck in static teachings and perspective.

The nation has been turned on its ear as the Episcopal Church recently become the first religious denomination to offer a blessing of same-sex unions to those who wish to partake. A lot of people feel this is the church’s attempt to separate themselves away from the religious pack and use the issue the of same-sex marriage as a hustle or racket to gain support. There are some true believers of faith not to mention conservative members of other religious sects that believe this an attempt among liberals and advocates of the gay community to make an end run around state laws that prohibit civil unions and to push the same-sex legislation further for consideration.

That actually would be a logical perspective except for a few major points. Church and state are supposed to remain separate. Let’s be fair, we can’t expect the government to stay out of the personal lives of its people if the church tries to play God in the halls of Congress. Also, this blessing for same-sex couples is not a marriage ceremony. The church has made the aspect very clear that this blessing is totally separate from a marriage ritual. So, this blessing is nothing legal. I am sure in states where same-sex couples can be married this blessing will be part of the marriage ceremonies offered by the Episcopal Church but it's nothing you can put on a marriage certificate.

So, with these clear and defining boundaries marked by the Episcopal Church itself, what does this blessing have to do with me or any gay individual not of this particular faith? My curiosity truly got the better of me as I called around to several Episcopal churches in my area trying to find the understanding that I seek. I want to take the time to thank Rector David Thompson of St. Bart Episcopal Church in North Augusta for setting my feet of the path of knowledge.

I will make this short and sweet because just read 81 pages of religion so you can get the simple understanding. According to the Episcopal Church’s own doctrine the purpose of the gay blessing is to set apart monogamous Christ filled relationships within their denomination unto the path divine reconciliation of God’s love. They continue a lifelong and never-ending mission to bring people to God’s word through his salvation and God will use this divine relationship as an example. Through a blessed civil union, God will use them to help others to the path of righteousness.

Now let’s get to the point of why the Episcopal Church wants to take on the role of being the religious leader in the gay community. The reconciliation mentioned above is mending or healing through God’s love and they saw a need not only within the walls of their church but in the LGBTQ community altogether.  So, they are doing nothing more than continuing the work they have been ordained to do.

For the Episcopalian faith, religion is not stagnant. It is ever changing with the people and the time. The one thing that remains the same and should be followed is the example of God’s love through grace and salvation.  So, the big questions that remains is, what can this blessing do for me, someone not of the Episcopalian religion? In fact what is this gay blessing supposed to do for someone not of any religious faith? What is the purpose if the blessing is not a marriage ceremony or can’t help in pushing gay political agenda?

The purpose is to show that love encompasses all through the example of these people’s tolerance and acceptance. This particular denomination of faith has put themselves on the line to show us the way, by following the example of Jesus Christ. Though, I am not a man of religion, I understand the calling of wanting to help and support the LGBTQ community. I may not participate in the blessing they provide, but I will partake in the ritual of seeing my relationship and life worthy of this divine value because then I can share my positive experience with everyone. That is the purpose of a blessing.  

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