What Episcopalians Can Bring to Defeat the Marriage Amendment
by the Rev. LeeAnne Watkins
Respect the dignity of every human being. Even those we don't agree with.
It's supposed to be what we are good at. Aren't we the ones who like to roll around in the nuances, getting all mucky with intense thoughtful debate informed by scripture, tradition, and reason?
Our particular institutional charism is to both listen deeply and to challenge each other, opening the way for the Spirit to move our hearts closer to the mysterious heart of God. And then at the end of the day - and here is the icon for us - all are welcome at the feasting table, all are relatives sharing the same bread and cup in a posture of humility. All are welcome, regardless of our difference. That's the image in my head when I think of what it means to be a place of sanctuary.
But all this respectful dialogue doesn't come naturally. It's a skill we need to teach and to practice.
That's what Wednesday Jan 18th is all about. Mark Osler, law professor at St. Thomas and a member of St. Stephens in Edina, will use his skill as a storyteller and considerable experience as a prosecutor to teach us some practical tips on how to listen well and speak effectively.
These skills will come in handy when we are at our in-laws for dinner and a sticky topic comes up as you pass the mashed potatoes. It will be handy all over church - in vestry meetings, youth groups, Sunday morning forums and bible studies. It will be a gift we can bring to our obsessively polarized political culture.
And these skills will be especially good to brush up on as we have those important conversations around the marriage amendment. This amendment will be defeated because of one on one, respectful conversations about why marriage equality is important to us personally.
This skill - civil discourse - is a particular gift that we Episcopalians in Minnesota bring to the table. We have a very significant role to play. So let's beef up our civil discourse skills.
Come to the event at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in St. Paul, 6pm.