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.
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.
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.