A few months after being ‘denounced’ from the pulpit and kicked out of the church I was in Manchester in the Gay Village Gay Villagemarginally drunk but conscious and coherent, it was a Saturday night, I was young(ish) with one goal on my mind, and it wasn’t church! It strange I remember silly details, like it was drizzling, at the end of the street was a member of the ‘Jesus Army’.
That conversation was just an exchange after I was told that‘God loved me’ to which I immediately replied ‘no, he doesn’t I’m Gay’ – the reply not only took me surprise but has stayed with me for two decades, the reply was simply ‘God still loves you..’
That conversation has guided me for 20 years
The past two weeks has seen the Church lurch into a PR mess at one of the most prestigious venues in London, iconic as an image of London, and central to the church for State occasions. My views are clear, but not really relevant here, but I see the rhetoric of people of good faith resigning (and losing their livelihood and accommodation) and the message of Christ in a country, and a world, in turmoil is not being heard – that God loves you.
Someone tweeted a few weeks ago
‘I love the Church of England despite its problems’ and even though the Church
frustrates me with its homophobia, in certain quarters, and its lack of political action, I still
want it to triumph.
In a sense the churches naivety on secular matters is refreshing and far from the political and economic Evangelists of America, and perhaps that is why I see Christ in the church, that it has not involved itself in high politics (though Archbishop Rowan Williams has got, rightly, involved in questioning the current Government policies), but I am still not hearing the message of the church.
James 2 right shows the interaction of faith and works:
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no
deeds? Can such faith save them? …. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep
warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?
Looking at the Jesus he courted political controversy on many occasions, but whilst the church has a role in fighting against social injustice, its aim has to be grounded in the fundamental acts of hospitality and charity; the church has a tendency to lurch to legalistic fundamentals of doctrine rather the fundamentals of charity, forgiveness and grace.
The other day I saw ‘grace’ inaction. after resigning because of plans to remove protestors from St Paul’s, Dr Giles FraserTweeted
“It is completely unfair for people to have a go at my colleagues. They have acted out of
principle just as much as I’
That amount of grace is both stunning and beyond me, but it gives me hope and gives me a sense of Christ. I am not sure of the outcome, but I feel the sat couple of weeks have divided and polarised people; and people have to make a choice; Jesus could not be ignored or be put into second place – the phrase ‘den of thieves’ to describe St Paul’s is becoming hackneyed; if one thing has made me take notice it was Dr Giles Fraser; the Church needs to talk about God in the context of the problems Society faces – thats what Jesus would do.
The Church needs to keeping message that God Loves You