Hey, today is a pretty cool day. For one, some short time ago, on this day my lovely wife, co-pastor and travelling companion Carol Ann was born. Happy birthday! She's going up to Arden to celebrate Wild Women with a bunch of well, wild women from Friendship. Lutheridge hosts this event every year. I don't want to know what goes down up there, but I expect everyone will have a good time. ... Let's pray that way, at least.
So that's very cool. Also, one of our neighboring churches down in Charlotte is celebrating an album release party today. I've never celebrated an album release - it must be exciting. The church is Elevation - yeah, that one, with eight thousand some odd members showing up every Sunday in different parts of Mecklenburg County.
One of their songs begins with the welcoming claim, "The atmosphere is changing now: The Spirit of the Lord is here." It's a meditative, repetitive style of song, so you sing or hear that line over and again. After a while it becomes a reassuring mantra - the atmosphere is changing now. Oh that it were so. Oh that it might be. It very well MAY be, and I am too old, too cold, too weary to sense it. But I WANT to sense it.
I got to the parish house today and found the Taylorsville Times delivered yesterday. That's our local clarion of truth, justice and empowering information. It's a small town weekly, and it's not much, but it's ours.
On the front page, well you can see it: Especially "Public comment addresses "sodomy." This headline points to a public comment at a recent meeting of our County Commissioners. It's the Times' job to report those meetings. Well and good. But I KNOW it's NOT the Times' job to repeat verbatim a local religious leader's LONG screed against homosexuality. I am so weary of this fear and loathing masquerading as Gospel. It wounds the Body of Christ. No matter our denomination, it makes us all look like backward, ignorant, hateful, fearful, followers of a finger-waging, condemning Jesus.
This person who spoke claimed, as they all do, that he really loved the sinner, the homosexual, the sodomite, while he denounced his sin. That sounds reasonable, until we remember that EVERY persecutor clothes themself in such righteousness - every bloody purge, crusade and inquisition calls itself an act of love for the sinner, until the sinner failed to repent, and then it just became slaughter. I imagine the Chief Priests and Elders who handed Jesus over to be crucified thought they were doing it all for love.
This just breaks my heart. That this kind of hate can clothe itself in Christian armor. And that the Times is willing to repeat all those twisted words.
Oh, Lord, let it be true: The atmosphere could be changing here!
The atmosphere is changing here. The Spirit of the Lord is here. The old stale foulness of judgment, of shame, of fear, is clearing out. I believe it! The clean, fresh wind of the Spirit is always on the move.
So I'm going to breathe in that new atmosphere, and exhale that old angry judgment. Inhale grace, forgiveness, and love. Exhale fear, loathing and blame. Inhale God's breath. Exhale death.
The atmosphere is changing now!