I've slowly felt the welcoming of my New York church (more than two years later), but mostly it's just a place I go worship and then retreat. I know a lot of the experience is up to me, but I've covered those thoughts in other posts.
Today included the report from annual conference. The first report was great, and the second left me seething. So much so that I thought I might get up and walk out, as if anyone would have noticed I left!
The woman started off OK, and then was able to put into words everything I find deplorable about the elitist mentality that thrives, including (perhaps especially) in the church.
She was talking about the discussions and debate around gay marriages, a hot topic in the church conference. She said that the NY conference has been able to become much more prayerful and graceful in its debate ... and that she wanted to point out that the NY conference is very diverse in its views, race, ethnicity, etc., unlike the one-dimensional conferences you'd find elsewhere in the United States where everyone is the same.
As a product of one of these "other" conferences, I took great issue to that. It was difficult for me to sit still while she yammered on, including about how she disagreed with the theology of one of the guest speakers (making sure to point out that he was from Nashville -- the horror!) but no specific topic given that she found distasteful or wrong.
Her point seemed to be that the "other" conferences are all of like minds, mainly agreeing that gay marriage shouldn't be allowed in the church. I haven't researched this to know if it's true, but in my heart I know it's not. This is an issue the the church as a whole and conferences across the country struggle with.
And this is definitely oversimplification, but isn't her prejudice against other, non-liberal, non-elite conferences along the same lines of prejudice against gay marriage?
It upset me terribly, and Shawn got an earful when we ate lunch today. I should probably drop it and not even publish this post. Yeah right.