I love North Carolina. I’m not a native, but I’ve been here for a while now. The midwesterner in me still thrills at the possibility of a day trip to the mountains or the beach. I regularly try to convince my friends to move here. It’s a great place, I tell them … except for the state legislature.
Last week, the legislature outdid itself in embarrassing the state in front of the rest of the country, a feat it has perfected in recent years.
Last fall, our congregation presented Bibles to some of our elementary school kids. This is a longstanding tradition here, to provide each child of reading age with their very own grown-up Bible.
When we hand out the Bibles, I always call the kids forward and tell them that it is a special gift from their church family, because we think it's important that everyone have a Bible to read for themselves.
Last Saturday was a stay-at-home-and-read-a-book-with-a-cup-of-something-warm-in-your-hands sort of day. It was the kind of damp cold that goes straight to your bones and chills your toes so that they don't get warm for the rest of the day. It was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a good parade-watching day.
And yet, there we were, lined up outside the library on Church Street, umbrellas in hand, peering down the street and waiting for the sirens to indicate that the parade had started.
On Monday evening, my daughter and I joined several hundred others outside the Capitol in Raleigh, North Carolina. We were there for the latest in a series of Moral Monday rallies organized to oppose the legislature’s policies toward (among other things) social programs, education, environmental legislation, and voting rights.
The statehouse is a solid 90-minute drive from our house, so it makes for a long evening on a school night.
My husband and I called 911 recently, in the middle of the night, because we were afraid our one-year-old son was having trouble breathing. I’d woken up with that unspecific but certain feeling that something was wrong. My husband got to the crib first and picked him up; my son was burning up with fever, limp and clammy and not quite awake, taking grunting little breaths.
On Tuesday, the general assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) approved a resolution calling on the church in all its expressions to affirm the faith, baptism, and spiritual gifts of everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This was timely, given the Defense of Marriage Act decision, though the resolution doesn’t specifically mention same-sex marriage. Nor does it mention ordination—the other hot-button issue around sexuality in the church—though it does affirm that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity is “grounds for exclusion from fellowship or service within the church.”
Two weeks ago, I was in my office getting ready for worship when a church member stopped by with a cherry tomato. A small, single tomato, which he handed to me. Then he pointed out my window toward the front yard of the church. “We’ve got a couple of tomato plants growing out there,” he said.
It’s just after 6 a.m. when I pull into the church parking lot. It’s still dark, and the steady rain makes me glad we decided to hold the sunrise service inside. I’m balancing a vase of daffodils for the communion table between my knees, and I’m hoping my good brown shoes are under the desk in my office, because they weren’t under my bed at home.
North Carolina voters go to the polls today, and the race that will make all the headlines doesn’t have a candidate. On the ballot is a constitutional amendment defining marriage between one man and one woman as the only legal domestic union recognized by the state.
I’m against the amendment--a popular view here in Greensboro. The city council passed a resolution opposing it. Light blue “Vote Against” yard signs dot the neighborhood around our church.