Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Signs of the Times

From the "Weddings / Celebrations" section of the New York Times Society pages for May 27, 2007:

The Rev. Mark Alan Lewis and the Rev. K. Dennis Winslow, Episcopal priests, were joined in civil union on Tuesday. The Rev. Tim S. Hall, also an Episcopal priest, officiated at the couple’s home in Union City, N.J., assisted by his wife, the Rev. Jacqueline Schmidt.

Mr. Lewis (above, left), 47, is the vicar at the Episcopal Church of our Saviour in Secaucus, N.J. Mr. Winslow, 57, is the rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in New York. They both have master’s degrees in divinity, Mr. Lewis from the Virginia Theological Seminary and Mr. Winslow from Nashotah House in Wisconsin.

I am rather surprised to find a Nashotah House graduate participating in this sort of action. It is a pity, and demonstrates that nowhere is immune to the influences of the Spirit of this Age, or the Prince of This World.

Mr. Lewis graduated from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. He is the son of Willie Mae Bell and Gary L. Lewis, both of West Plains, Mo., and the stepson of Phyllis D. Lewis and of James H. Bell.

Mr. Winslow graduated from Emerson College. He is a son of Ada J. Winslow of Yarmouth Port, Mass., and the late Mr. Winslow Sr.

The couple met 15 years ago this week, shortly after Mr. Lewis moved to New Jersey.

Mr. Lewis didn’t find the idea of dating another priest unusual or enticing, so when a friend in New York volunteered to introduce him to Mr. Winslow, he had little interest. “It wasn’t, ‘Oh, what a rare bird, I must see it,’ ” Mr. Lewis said. He added, “I was assuming he would be pious and narrow-minded.

I presume "Pious and narrow-minded" would mean believing in the faith once delivered to the saints, but that is hard to reconcile with being willing to "date" another male. Maybe "pious" just means taking religion seriously enough to want to avoid public scandal.

But six months later, he happened to drop by the same friend’s home in New York when Mr. Winslow was visiting. “I did a complete thunderbolt thing,” Mr. Winslow said.

Our eyes met from across the apartment,” Mr. Lewis said. “We have been together since that day.”

In 2002, they became the lead plaintiffs in the Lambda Legal lawsuit challenging the marriage laws in New Jersey. The case resulted in the 2006 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that led to the legalization of civil unions by the state legislature.

Mr. Lewis compared joining the lawsuit to his decision to become a priest. “I heard the same voice in my head saying here’s a job that needs to be done, and I can do it,” he said.

I have no doubt he did hear the same voice. I can only wonder just whose voice that happened to be.

And this week they reaped the benefit of that effort. Mr. Winslow, referring to the many marriage ceremonies he has performed, said: “I say over and over again to couples, ‘Please don’t let us down. You’ve made these promises to us in public. Keep those promises.’ And that’s what we intend to do.”

Let us all pray for these men's conversion and salvation, and for God's undeserved mercy on all of us. How dark is it going to get before the Light comes back? I am reminded of the Roman Empire in the times of Caligula. It started out really bad, and, for the most part, just got worse for the next 270 years.