Friday, January 27, 2017

glasses

So the Church of England House of Bishops today published a paper on Marriage and Same Sex Relationships. There's a link to the official press report on it here.

The headline is - it's a fudge.

To precis:
Nothing changes, but we want to make it clear we welcome gay people. Marriage doctrine ain't gonna change - it's very much about one man, one woman - and whilst we thought about recommending (or even just commending) some liturgy for clergy to help mark parishioners celebrating civil partnerships or gay marriages, we thought better of it. More, whilst we want to be really generous about how we consider gay people in ministry and in the church generally, gay sex isn't really on so clergy need to remember that if you aren't in a heterosexual marriage you have to be celibate. Though please, we do understand that loving people matters as a missional church and we'd hate to be heard to say anything that gives any other kind of impression.

Right.

To respond:
I saw a bishop yesterday. I'm seeing another tomorrow. Both of them godly people. Both of them very straight, both of them married with kids, both of them evangelical, both of them kind and wonderful men. But as they are members of the House of Bishops, this is what they get from me.
I'm not like you. My world is a different place. I've tried to be like you, to see the world your way, to live like you, and it made me very, very ill. Now here's the thing - in the Scriptures, salvation & healing are the same root word. And when I accepted who & how God made me to be, not only did I become well physically, I became well spiritually. Salvation came at a deeper level.
And the follow on from this is not that I need you to change, not that I need you to see the world my way or be like me - but I'd love you to allow me to be me. I know, I know - "...but the Scriptures..." Here's the thing. We read them differently, you and I, because our worlds are different. You have these glasses on, this world view you carry round with you that makes you see certain things and suddenly there's a huge red flag waving around. It's not there for me. Anything but. Don't worry, I know I wear glasses too. Actually - my concern is that on this issue, because you are in the massive majority you don't always realise you have your glasses on and you don't get the effect they have. Because I'm constantly a foreigner living in your strange land, I always, always do.
But still I think we might both be able to work together. Equal rights aren't like pie: more for me doesn't mean less for you.
If anything, it works the other way.
Because it's a salvation issue, a healing thing. And the more whole I am, the more whole you are, because we are part of the same body and St Paul writes that if one part of the body is sick the whole body is.

So please: stop being so kind and polite and start being good.
I will fight this fight not because I need you to accept that I am as human as you - I know I am, and every time you publish something that doesn't quite get it, I'll remind you - but there are others who see what you say, who see your smile and your dog collar and your purple and your mitre and who lose something of their value in God. On your watch. On our watch.

Come on, there are words in this report that say we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. Have the courage to push those words to their logical, Biblical, godly conclusion. Either all people are people, or we aren't. And if we are -

And if we are, then those glasses of yours may need adjusting.
Because in Christ we are here to live to the full and to love God and one another. Just like you.

10 comments:

Sophie -Grace said...

Marcus, I stand with you.
Sophie Grace xx

Jamie Yearbury-Murphy said...

Well done you. Very proud to have you as a friend. Hugh

Linda Peall said...

Amen x

Jon said...

Excellent Marcus - well done so honest, inspirational and authentic. GB

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! So well put. Get sick of hearing people say that the church welcomes all people as long as they realise they're sinful..."but it's ok because we are all sinful". No it isn't ok at all! How would you like to be told that you are sinful? Every day? For being you? Not for making a choice, but for existing? And then to try and say that it is ok though!! To be told that you can do your best but you will always, in their eyes, be flawed and sinful. Do straight people get judged by others in a similar way? It just seems that some church goers feel it is their place to judge and comment, yet it is not their view that matters! Ok, this high horse is making me dizzy, stepping down now...but thank you for saying what needs to be said.

Andy H said...

Thank you Marcus. I have been left bewildered as to how to respond to yesterday's paper. Your response is excellent and wonderfully blends careful theology with personal reflection. It has really helped.

Marcus Green said...

Thanks guys. I really appreciate the conversation.I have all sorts of reflections as I read some of the replies that have come in (and I've published some and not others - apologies - but I don't let through any that I feel get too close to finger pointing at anyone) and at the end of the day, I'm just grateful to be a part of God's church where such love and value exist. RIght back at you.

atticus said...

Thank you Marcus... good to see passion and logic so well and forcefully deployed.

Jayne Ozanne said...

Beautifully said Marcus, thank you.

Andrew Martin said...

Hi Marcus (from half a lifetime ago... where did the years go? How differently the world looks to me today from OICCU days). I came across your blog at random, really. Good words though: thanks for writing that.