Kumbaya is a Gullah term Come by here, Lord born on the South Carolina coast a century ago.
By the time the starry-eyed 1960s rolled around, the hymn by the same name bordered on ubiquitous. It was sung in churches and around campfires. It had become an acoustic anthem to spiritual harmony.
But words, they keep a-changin. As our cynicism deepened, Kumbaya experienced a steep fall from grace. Today, according to alphaDictionary.com, the phrase connotes naive, unrealistic optimism.
Which pretty much covers any hope that Christians one day will reach consensus over gays and gay marriage.
North Carolinas own spiritual divide on the subject played out to the world this year when believers argued both sides of a constitutional ban on same-sex unions.
In recent months, about a dozen area conservative Presbyterian congregations have lined up to leave the Charlotte Presbytery and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), largely because they dont agree with their denominations decision to accept gay clergy.
The debate appears to be widening.
This week, Episcopalians in the United States pushed their church closer to theological schism by sanctioning rites for same-sex marriage. The vote was overwhelming, but it was not unanimous.
In a eerie tie to another momentous split, the South Carolina delegation walked out, one of its leaders calling the decision by his peers unbiblical and unseemly.
It thereby makes it necessary for the diocese of South Carolina to take further decisive and dramatic action to distance itself from this false step, said the Rev. Kendall Harmon, canon theologian for the diocese.
A few days earlier, PCUSA delegates gathering in Pittsburgh voted, for now, to stick with their definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. They also launched a two-year study. Perhaps it included a prayer to the Patron Saint of Unfinished Business.
Both sides believe the surprise defeat of the move to make a Presbyterian marriage available to gays only delays the inevitable.
As with the Episcopalians, PCUSA, the countrys largest Presbyterian denomination, risks a massive exodus with any change.
For now, the greater spiritual community the Kumbaya, if you will appears irrevocably ruptured. Several of the major houses of Christs church face collapse because some congregations worship a god that accepts gays as they are, and the rest pray every bit as fervently to a deity that believes homosexuality is a sin.
Lord of all graces ... we dont know what to do, PCUSA Moderator Neal Presa prayed during the recent debate. We keep voting and talking and listening. And yet we find ourselves divided.
Kumbaya, Presa might have pleaded.
The Gullah would understand.