Humble connections: Staying in challenging relationships

I could stay home on Sundays when visiting my parents. But I return to the pews of my childhood church because I love the people despite our differences.

On a recent trip to At­lanta to visit my parents, I attended my childhood church with them. This congregation, which has grown in the past 30 years to about 3,000 people, doesn’t allow women to preach, serve commu­nion, or serve on the vestry.

I haven’t lived in Atlanta since I graduated from high school. Since then, I have graduated from seminary and become a minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Each time I sit in the pews of my old church, however, my emotions are roiled.

On this particular Sunday, a young man stood up to lead prayer. He asked God for forgiveness for “killing our babies and calling it choice,” “divorcing and calling it convenience,” and “defacing marriage and calling it equality.”