Although my brother will no longer come to church with me,
and neither will my sister (notwithstanding that respectively
they gave, until a certain point, their time, their money, and their hearts—
their open, open hearts—their tender, nascent, fledgling, open hearts),
there is some consolation in the fact that, if my brother pushed his way
along the pew (why are these benches so insanely close?) to sit with us, Jay
(his spouse, his husband of six years) and he would be quite welcome.
Or so the bishop said. With open arms, he said, they would be welcome.
If my sister were inclined, I was assured, to come and sing the hymns
she sang when she was young, she could do it. She could push past limbs
squeezed tight against the bench in front of us and make a space and sit
there with her girlfriend. She is not inclined. But if she were, they could sit.
That is what the bishop said. To be accurate, this was some time ago.
But when he said it, I could see he was sincere. His opinion, you know,
was that there had been a recent “softening,” which I thought was to his credit,
at the time. He’s a kind of fellow traveler, and many things are to his credit.
For the record, both of us were off the mark about the nonexistent welcome mat
the church was on the verge of rolling out for all the gays. Pretty wrong about that.
Lots of people learned that they were wrong, last November. But the bishop said
that my family would always be welcome. That is what the bishop said.