My granddaughter Lily and I were having a chat several weeks ago as I was driving her to preschool. “Some families have two moms, some families have two dads, and my family has a mom and a dad,” she said. My response? “Families are wonderful.”
Lily already has, in both her Presbyterian preschool and her Episcopal church, living icons of same-sex, disciplined, covenanted, family-making love! Her life is enriched and blessed by these icons of steadfast love in a way that my early life was not.
In a recent presentation to the House of Bishops, Willis Jenkins, an Episcopal theologian at Yale, made a clear and compelling argument for the development of rites for same-sex unions. His argument is based on the concept of discipline. It went something like this: If, for several thousand years, people of faith have discovered that the most life-giving way to live the sexual dimension of their human reality is in committed, faithful, monogamous, lifelong unions, then the Church must not deny that life-giving discipline to a minority of our baptized sisters and brothers.
Clearly, my granddaughter is already being positively impacted by those in that disciplined life who create the families that help her trust the world.
What the Church is doing is taking some living icons, stuffed away in a closet, and placing them in the body of the Church. We propose to do this so that the Body of Christ will have more examples of steadfast love that look like that community of the Lover, the Beloved and the love between them that we adore as the Blessed Trinity.
In a world where we are all one click away from other images, where sexuality is reduced to, “I want what I want, when I want it,” our need for alternative icons is a matter of our spiritual life or death.
Lily has seen living icons of disciplined, generous and generative love, and she and all of us are blessed. Let us all live together the discipline of covenanted love.