The Common Good

Why I Am Still In Detroit

Nine days after my Dad’s memorial service on June 7, I am still in Detroit.

Ed Samuel/
Ed Samuel/

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I am still in Detroit to volunteer as a member of the More Light Presbyterians communications team at the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

I am still in Detroit because, for the better part of three decades, my father was an active member of the progressive movements within PCUSA for affirmation and inclusion, for peace with justice.

I am still in Detroit because my dear friends who got married on my former land in rural Tennessee could not have their vows acknowledged by church or state because they are both men.

I am still in Detroit because my heterosexual marriage with my wonderful wife Jeannie means more if it is not a categorical privilege denied my same gender loving friends in Tennessee who now need to leave the state to affirm their relationships.

I am still in Detroit because I believe the church should be more inclusive and progressive than the state on the civil rights issue of our time.

I am still in Detroit because I believe the moral arc of the universe is bending towards justice on the issue of marriage equality.

I am still in Detroit because I am sick and tired of the beatings and the bullying, the bigotry and the bloodshed, the shame and the suicides.

I am still in Detroit because as Matthew Vines so explains in his recent book, biblical marriage is about love, joy, and unity with God not about gender binaries or sexual practices per se.

I am still in Detroit because I follow what Jesus did in every context before I listen to what Paul said in a different context.

I am still in Detroit because Jesus is love, God is love, and we in the PCUSA are love. 

Andrew William Smith is an English professor by day and DJ by night who works as the Faculty Head of the Tree House environmental living and learning village at Tennessee Tech. He’s an activist, poet, blogger, ruling elder in the PCUSA, Vanderbilt seminarian, and aspiring preacher. He blogs at and Follow Andrew on Twitter @teacheronradio.

Photo: Ed Samuel/

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