Sunday, February 17, 2013

More Than the "Oh Yes."

We have a new premier in Ontario, chosen as the best candidate in that exercise in attrition called a leadership convention. Lots of experience, dynamic, strong but conciliatory, willing to work collaboratively. Oh yes, Kathleen Wynne is the first woman premier of this province, and the first openly lesbian leader.

I'm interested that as soon as she was chosen to lead the Liberal party the "oh yes" part of my opening became the most important part for the media. They like women and gay people if they are "ground-breaking," whatever that means these days because while Wynne has been very gracious about this, she must grow weary of the emphasis.

Apparently Ms. Wynne is a United Church member. Speaking of the United Church we elected a new moderator last summer at our leadership convention called General Council. Well, GC does do a lot of other stuff. The person elected has lots of church experience, is strong but conciliatory, and definitely works collaboratively. And Gary Paterson is the first openly gay moderator, which --you guessed it -- immediately became the most important thing to the media.

Commissioners to GC, people I trust, told me that Gary Paterson's sexual orientation was not an issue in his election. They chose the best candidate after lots of listening, discernment and prayer. But our culture still thrives on the "differentness" (not a real word.)

Recently a group of our young people and leaders drove to Peterborough to hear Moderator Paterson and were really impressed, as is just about everyone who comes in contact with him. I hope Paterson and Wynne have the opportunity to be regarded as persons with gifts and skills first, and that the "oh yes" part will be just that.

What are your thoughts about this?


IanD said...

I think we're moving in a positive direction as a society and the "oh yes" phase you mention will eventually give way to "who cares?" thus indicating that society is okay with whomever does what job provided they do it well.

Laura said...

Our teens and tweens that had the chance to participate in an evening of conversation with the Moderator came home duly impressed with new leader. He was open and authentic, so human and relatable. He showed both concern and confidence towards the future these kids will share with their United Church. He spoke with gratitude for his church that accepted folks of all orientations, briefly referring to his own longterm relationship, although often referring to missing his family on the West coast, as he was busy in his new role.
I honestly don't even know that his sexual orientation much registered with the kids....but his sense of humour and honesty and gratitude and hope for the future of the United Church sure did.