A Little Hope and . . .

There have been some moments of hope this week.

I published an op-ed piece in response to the mono-dimensional response our politicians offered up when we killed Osama bin Laden. The piece appeared in both in the Commuter Times and in the Marin IJ. I posted it on gracecomesfirst.net and patheos.com. Then I used much of the content in a sermon I preached to about 175 people. I’ve received a fair amount of response. One e-mail kindly said, “I fear that you might be getting some negative feedback . . . ” But here is the amazing thing. I have received not one negative response, not one.

The op-ed piece expressed concern that there is “no evidence whatsoever that our politicians grasp the ambiguity that lies at the heart of this matter.” But since I believe our President, his staff, and the leadership on both sides of the aisle are all reasonably sophisticated people, you have to know that they are aware of the complexities inherent in the situation. Why don’t we hear about that then? Because they assume we can’t handle it. Yet it turns out everyone I heard from is longing for our leaders to speak to the real issues rather than pander to the lowest common denominator. I know, it’s Marin, not exactly a sample population of the US. But we do tend to start things here and that gives me some hope for the future.

Then there is Amendment 10-A. I’m a Presbyterian pastor and for years I’ve been ashamed to admit that our denomination deliberately excludes people from leadership in the church based on sexual orientation. (Well, technically acting on the orientation.) Every year we get enough votes at our national assembly to ask the 173 local governing bodies to change the heinous rule. Every year the local governing body in Northern California votes to make the change and every year the larger church does not. This year I wasn’t even following the voting until yesterday when an e-mail came in. “Amendment 10-A has passed.” That’s jargon for “finally the discrimination is – at least legally – over.” It’s been an embarrassingly long time coming, but still, it gives me hope which is good because then I went to my favorite café this morning.

He wasn’t there. At first I was sad then I got mad. For three years I’ve been going to the same café. I always get a sesame bagel toasted with lots of butter. The first time he took my order, he thought I said lox and butter. We laughed. I didn’t know his name, I didn’t know if he had a family, I didn’t know what his dreams were, I only knew what I could see. He was Hispanic, he obviously worked out, and he had a ready easy-going smile. I liked the way he treated the women he worked with. This morning he was gone. Immigration don’t you know. Now I’m looking for hope again.

About Sam Alexander

Sam Alexander is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael and also serves as Adjunct Instructor in Homiletics at San Francisco Theological Seminary.


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