Wednesday, February 15, 2017

songs of hope

So the General Synod refused to take note of the House of Bishops Report.

But this is just a line in a long song of hope. This report is now consigned to the filing cabinet of ecclesiastical history; it does not enter the sad canon of such reports that line up to make gay people the problem, or add to the litany of texts that can be used to keep gay people in our second-class place.

However, we have many more choruses to sing before we reach a final shout of joy. And I mean, a final shout of joy for the whole Church and for all people.

This report couldn't be part of that journey because it excluded some. Please, we don't get to continue the journey by excluding others. Music needs melody and harmony, tune and counterpoint, working together. The Church needs the whole music of God not just one part of it. This report could not be a part of the song of God's people because some of us couldn't sing it. The same is true if some others can't sing either.

Silence is part of music; but not when the mutes are taped to our faces and the score says "play loud!"

Well; what do I want now?

I've been asked that question by two bishops in the last week. One of them asked me this tonight. And I've given them both the same answer.

John Donne's phrase: One equal music.

I want a Church that sees we are all equally human. Equality isn't a fad or a bonus or an added-extra. It's an essential for all people. We don't just give it to those we like or to those we agree with. We give it to all people because they are people. And then we deal with the consequences - which we may not like. We don't search the Scriptures for reasons why we treat others differently, we take it as read that we are the same and apply the same standards to all unless there is overwhelming reason to make an exception. And if there is doubt, we give the benefit of the doubt because the equality of our standing before God brings us to that place. That grace. That glory.

And in the meantime, as the bishops decide what next, I implore them to sack all the lawyers! Inspire us with your vision of God. I can live with not getting what I want (for now - because what I want is to be as much a person as anyone else, and ultimately I don't see how you deny that Scripturally) as long as you inspire the Church of God - which this last report signally failed to do.

Every Bishop I know is an inspiring person. Be who you are. Sing your song. Sing us some hope. These are the songs we have for every person in our land. Sing them for us.

I promise, I'll take note when you do.

A Day Later
And, to keep my word: Archbishop Justin published this comment after the Synod vote. It's about as far from the tone of the original Report as it's possible to be, and has that edge of intention and inspiration that I am asking for. Thank you. Much more of the same, please.

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