This Just In…

Headline: Episcopal Church approves gay marriages in churches.

Old news.

The Episcopal Church has been moving that direction for decades. I won’t leave it. Too much wonderful tradition, rich liturgy and experience that set me on my way. We’re a large family. I don’t agree with everything in my family, but I won’t leave it.

I’m ambivalent about the gay issue. It is not a way of life I would choose or how God created me. Instead I must deal with my own sin, selfishness, and lust.

I am not aware of any pecking order of sins but I would place murder and the hate that is racism at the top of the list. To take someone’s life or to hate a brother or sister created in the image of God because of the color of their skin is abhorrent to me. Historically, men of faith in the South, members of the KKK, Christians, killed and terrorized our brothers and sisters while corrupting God’s word and world. Appalling to me. Thank God for William Wilberforce.

In response I give away a lifestyle that millions here can only dream of, to live in community with my brothers and sisters of different mothers in Uganda. Love lives here.

There is no place I’d rather be.

Finding Fellowship

In the wake of the horrible shooting at the Charleston, SC, church, I reflected on a church visit in the home office of the Confederacy, South Carolina.

Several years ago my family and I vacationed with my wife’s sister and bro-in-law not too far from Hilton Head, in their home state of SC.

I remember getting up to go to an Episcopal Church one Sunday morning, alone. After a short drive, I entered a small, attractive church.

As I remember, not one member of the congregation spoke to me. Was it because I was dressed like I was on holiday? Even afterward when I greeted the vicar, I barely got a “harrumph.” It was a stifling experience. I am remembering now just how chilling that felt.

Today, halfway around the world from home, I’ve attended church services where, as the only white person in the congregation, I was moved through the packed congregation to a seat in the second row. The worship was vibrant and fun. After the Easter Sunday service I took tea with the visiting bishop.

My point to this anecdote is that in the South, the culture appears set. Outsiders or visitors, like this Californian, who try to break through into a closed-knit community, are looked at with suspicion. There was not much warmth.

I get looked at a lot when I visit an Anglican Church in Uganda. There is curiosity, but there is love and fellowship. I feel the Lord’s presence. I feel at home.