Saturday, 19 June 2010

Working together and who knows what challenges may come?

Interesting times locally. Vicar of Long Walk Church is retiring sometime next year. Local C of E churches in Upper Suburbia are talking about working together more, but at Nearest Church there's significant concern that too much collaboration means no time or energy left for things that are ours. And I can understand that sort of isolationism, but I don't think it will work in the long run. I think we can collaborate and still contribute uniquely. I think we need to collaborate if we're going to have any sort of unique contribution to make.

I asked about mentoring, about having church music experts I can talk to after Networking Organist has moved on. It's been suggested that I go along to a service in Neighbouring Suburb, because the music director is very good and shares some of my interests. So that's where I'll be off to tomorrow morning.

I couldn't find said music director on that church's website. They do have a link to Anglican Mainstream. No no no no no no no goes my brain. I don't want to go. I don't want to get involved. I don't want to risk being in a position where I might have to say something, might have to upset people, might encounter some injustice or exclusion that I can, and therefore must, do something about.

Anglican Mainstream have the following quote on their website:

"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved. To be steady on all fronts besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point"

Martin Luther

Christianity posits that the truth of God is the love of God: merciful, unwavering, steadfast, faithful love. One of the places where the battle rages is in deciding how to show that. I don't think the debate on sexuality and ordination is really about sex. I think it's about perfectionism, about whether we can decide and judge what is human, what is acceptable to God. It's about whether we can accept that those different from ourselves are still human beings, still beloved children of God. It's about whether we have one standard for our sins and another standard for those things another might do which we think are sinful. It's about taking responsibility for embodying God's mercy.

I happen to believe that homosexuality is not sinful. I can't claim I have "done the theology" -- I was just raised in a reasonably liberal background. It's a no-brainer. But I am concerned with this argument around whether LGBT people should be ordained, not because I am convinced that homosexuality is not sinful, but because I am convinced that we are all sinners and even if I am wrong about the sinfulness of homosexuality I do not think that it is fair, just, kind or merciful to refuse the vocation of any human being based on something so minor. And it is minor, compared to so many things.

I know if I am asked, I will say the above, in some form. I will say that whether clergy are truthful is more important than whether they are gay, but that I probably don't know any clergy who haven't at some stage told at least a little "white" lie. I will say that whether clergy are jealous and covetous is more important than whether they are openly lesbian, but that I don't know anyone who hasn't had at least a tinge of envy toward a neighbour's house or car at some stage. I will say that in the grand scheme of things I hope that mercy trumps our judgments, I will say that I pray that love will topple our fears. And I will say it even if I think people probably don't want to hear my answer, because if they ask, I can't justify saying otherwise. To be steady on all fronts besides is mere flight...

Oh, bother.


UKViewer said...


A profound post, which I find myself in agreement with.

I don't really think through the theological arguments used to discriminate.

I just cannot find it in my heart to discriminate on the basis of gender, sexuality or for any other reason.

My version of morality does not recognise such discrimination as a valid expression of being fully human or a Christian.

it's margaret said...