The Church of England is in a new holy muddle, rather like your favourite befuddled Uncle it seems to lurch from self-inflicted mess to another the Church has decided to shoot itself in the foot again over gay clergy – of course fanned by the media who seek to present the Church as irrelevant.
I couldn’t quite believe that the Anglican Church said it was pressing ahead to affirmt that Gay Priests who are in a Civil Partnership can become Bishops on the condition that they are celibate and renounce their sins. What I heard was not the considered, or compassionate, pronouncement that the Church was finally accepting that God made us all, and he is not prone to making mistakes, or that God loves us regardless – no what I heard was a Church that was trying to be compassionate and loving and making a complete an utter hash of it.
First of all the Biblical position:
I appreciate that the diehards in the Church have all the relevant verses on how wrong being gay is highlighted in the margins of their Bibles and tattooed on their butts – wait, tattoos are forbidden as well, whoops! Most the verses forbidding masturbation and gay sex are in the Old Testament, but haven’t we moved on from selling Daughters into slavery, sacrificing Turtle Doves once a month (for the Ladies) and not eating Scampi or Bacon Butties?
The New Testament references about homosexuality refers to ‘temple prostitutes’ and open a whole new moral can of worms, of course the same author – Paul – also says women must remain silent, never teach or lead men, and not wear trousers, perhaps someone should have told Margaret Thatcher, Hilary Clinton, and the Queen.
If we look at what Jesus said that he didn’t exclude anyone, apart from the religious authorities who were busy making rules for everyone to follow, and even then he would entertain them. Christ’s questions were ‘do you love God’ and ‘do you love your fellow man’ – and not ‘do you know the actions to ‘YMCA’ ?
If we look at the prototypical Church the Bishops were not walking around clad in Gold with funny hats, they were administrators, doing a job.
The logical position.
First of all the proposition is that you can be gay, but you cannot have sex if you want to be a Bishop, you can be in a Civil Partnership but you cannot have ‘an early night’ and worse of all you must repent.
You must repent of what?
Do you repent of being who you are, that you feel that you are somehow you are wrong, or ill. The proposition also suggests that you have a choice of whether to be gay – no, I don’t think that is how it works. The deal works on the proposition that being gay is bad, and its your fault.
Celibacy is a gift from God and not a second rate option for people treated as second rate Christians.
The situation does open some exciting possibilities, taking the argument to its logical, absurd, and extreme conclusion. Perhaps if women repented of being women and having sex with men who they are married to then they could become Bishops as well?
I am sure that the statement was meant to be conciliatory and move the Church towards being more inclusive, but all it did was highlight what an utterly sad state of affairs exists in the C of E regarding anything below the waist of a Child of God.
I love the Church of England, and as much as Church angers me it always gives me hope that they are trying to do ‘the right thing’ and bring the church with it.
In an angry outburst on Twitter I asked to Clergymen I am following if I would be welcome in their church, and I would be.
Again it is the ‘Church politic’ that is behind the times.
The Church needs to shut up about sex and appoint Bishops and Archbishops on their closeness to God, the test is really simple – ‘by their fruits you you shall know them”