Marilyn Bennett and I have for years in our Truth in Progress project, explored the intersections of heterosexism racism and religion. Many of you have supported us in this effort, and we ask for your continuing and/or first financial support, as we complete our film documentary.
The themes of our project, homosexuality, race and religion intertwined as I performed my first same sex marriage on January 19, 2014, the Martin Luther King weekend. I was asked to perform the marriage of Drew Giddings and Dennis Hall because the person they initially asked, The Rev. Dr. Traci West, a long-time friend of Marilyn and me and Truth in Progress, was in the African nation of Zimbabwe, teaching on January 19th. Traci, Marilyn and I, worked together to initiate and guide United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church that is related to the Reconciling Ministries Network.
About Drew and Dennis; they are two handsome African American men whose family histories are rooted in the Carribean nations of Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad. Our first meeting before the wedding, proved to be an exciting meeting of 3 men of African descent: 80 year old Gil Caldwell, and a much younger, Drew and Dennis. We met in the Lobby of the building where Grace and I live, across the street from the Atlantic Ocean in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The beauty and sounds of the crashing waves, provided a background for our conversation and our bonding.
What does my sharing of all of this with you the reader mean? It means that on the weekend that observed what would have been the 85th birthday of Martin Luther King, Drew and Dennis and I, and those gathered for the wedding, actualized the truth of Martin Luther King's words, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Love is expressed in many ways, but to express it in justice, is to take seriously, the making of all humanity: "The Beloved Community"
I find meaning in the lyrics of popular songs, thus I conclude this with these words, phrases and sentences from songs that I know; "If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right"...."The greatest things you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return"..."Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage" (But, the problem with this is, who in marriage is the horse, and who is the carriage?) ...."Love is a many splendored thing"....and as I write the above lyrics, I can hear the sounds of Jazz musician, John Coltrane's "LOVE SUPREME".
Thirty three couples were publicly married at the Grammy's. Queen Latifah spoke the words that solemnized the marriages of homosexual and heterosexual couples, who represented many races and ethnic backgrounds. How sad it was for me to read that someone related to the Family Research Couple condemned the marriages because they were a "celebration of sodomy".
What is it, and why is it, that some persons who claim to be embraced by God, and who claim to embrace God, cannot yet affirm God's gift of sexuality and sexual activity? And why is it that they seem to be more interested in how persons make love, rather than affirming the love, that makes people make love?
TIP Family, meet the newly married Drew Giddings and Dennis Hall! I am more proud than I can ever say of being asked to perform their marriage.
One of my aims throughout my ministry, as I have counseled with those whose wedding ceremonies I have performed, is to share who they are and what they do, with others. Drew heads the Giddings Consulting Group, a boutique management consulting firm. Their "About Us" says this: "We engage clients to provide a variety of solutions addressing major social issues in the communities they serve. By crafting effective strategies through innovative leadership and process improvements, we consistently help clients realize their goals."
Although I have known Drew for just a short time, I have become excited about him as a consultant, and want to do what I can to promote his business. I hope you will as well.