Friday, May 30, 2008

Who would have thought?

This morning's New York Times carries a story with a number of remarkable reminders buried in its simple resonant truth. 'How Govenor Set His Stance on Gay Rights.'

At its simplest, it's the story of one remarkable human being stepping up to the plate,speaking from his heart and lived experience; in the process bringing about a bureauceatic system to recognized the God-blessed, Divinely-crafted dignity of countless LGBT folk and their loving lives.

But keep reading... it's also a story, within a story... Two young boys in Harlem, entrusted by their busy parents to their 'Uncles', who not only babysat, but nourished and encouraged the boys, who told them stories and helped with their spelling homework.

In other words gave them cause to feel loved, safe, and cared for.

Two uncles who also happened to be a gay couple living in Harlem, all those decades ago- not exactly the gay-friendliest of quarters from all that I hear. And yet Governor Paterson tells us “I was raised in a culture that understood the different ways that people conduct their lives. And I feel very proud of it.”

A standard which might do Lambeth proud, perhaps?

But keep reading... the good Govenor reminds us, “In many respects, people in our society, we only recognize our own struggles. I’ve wanted to be someone in the African-American community who recognizes the new civil rights struggle that is being undertaken by gay and lesbian and transgendered people.”

Govenor Paterson's two 'uncles' were Uncle Stanley and Uncle Ronald, and all I can say is God bless you two wonderful human beings- wherever you are!

What an incredible chain of grace- starting with the most ordinary of things.... babysitting, spelling homework and of course, telling stories. And in the process, a lot more was set in motion than the simple helping-out of two busy parents.

One of those boys, as we now know grew to be the current Govenor of the State of New York. The same being responsible for the record-breaking inclusion of 'sexual orientation' for the first time in state human rights legislation. The same person, who recently issued his executive order to recognize our peoples' 'out-of-state' marriages an important first step in full marriage equality for the state.

For me the clincher- the proof of the Govenor's radiant humanity was this- speaking after the passage of the earlier legislation, he said “Now I can die in peace.If nothing else ever happens here, I feel that I can point to a contribution that I made.”

Just imagine -stick with me here brothers and sisters- just imagine the unadulterated joy and wonder our secessionist brothers and sisters will know when they finally 'get it' about the unconditional Love of God for all creation, the unique efficacy of the grace of Christ's redemptive sacrifice and the limitless patience of the Holy Spirit.

Not that Govenor Paterson's story lets any of us off the hook.

Before anything else, this article is a powerful reminder of the sacramental nature of the most elementary things in our everyday lives of faith.

Need, Trust, Babysitting, Spelling & Storytelling... the most ordinary elements. And yet we will never know how many lives have been blessed, enobled & made easier by the chain of grace in Govenor Paterson's own life and his acting on that same grace.

Talk about sacramental embodiment!

Who would have ever thought, the New York Times?