Thursday, 24 January 2013

Adam And Eve Or Adam And Steve?

I have listened to the latest 'it's ok to be a gay Christian' conversations with Steve Chalke, hosted both times by the fabulous Justin Brierly! Steve has also written for Christianity Magazine on his affirmation of same sex monogamous long term relationships.

One of Chalkes arguments is that we have moved on from the position in the Bible that women must be silent and not take part in church services, so we should now move on and accept that when the bible talks of relationships it refers to both gay and straight. But there are also positive accounts in the Bible of women who are prophets and teachers and highly regarded, so that doesn't really stack up with  moving on to accept homosexuality, which is always looked at negatively in the Bible.

So lets look at a subject in the Bible which similarly to homosexuality is never portrayed positively.......say 'gluttony'.  I know many many more fat Christians than gay ones, they are afforded the same rights within the church as the Christians with the perfect BMI.........

I have to say four or five years ago my views were very black and white, there was little room for movement, or even listening with an open mind in some cases. I would very much have said 'you cannot be a Christian and be gay'. I completely believe now that is entirely wrong! The only thing that prevents you from being a Christian is rejecting Christ. Some people may interpret being gay as having rejected Christ because it goes against what he taught.  

But that is not the case, Jesus never mentions homosexuality; he mentions a lot about loving each other and helping the poor and needy and not judging each other, not holding grudges, not to worry, how to pray, being wise and thoughtful, not to be greedy or jealous, not to be proud or boastful, to stay faithful in marriage..........are you keeping up? Anyone ready to throw a stone yet? John 8:7

So maybe if Jesus didn't see the need to teach specifically about it, maybe we don't need to be coming out and stamping our position on it? Of course within our churches we need to be able to hear the small percentage of people who are attracted to the same sex and counsel them accordingly - that does not mean counsel them into straightness, that means counsel them into accepting who they are and what that now means for their life, and that they are loved by God and a most precious and unique individual who is worthy of the same respect as anyone else......and that goes for fat people too! 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

It's OK to Be A Gay Bishop.....As Long As You're Celibate?

I am not sure I should be venturing into these muddy waters, because I have only ever been in a Church of England service for four reasons: Weddings, Christenings, Funerals and school end of term services. Also I don't want to come across as a Christian homophobe! 

I know a lot of genuine C of E Christians, I also know of C of E members (including vicars) who do not actually believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ; but I don't know a lot of how the C of E church operates, I don't understand the difference between the different people at the front wearing the white robes - or even why they wear the white robes, I'm not sure what the significance of the big hats are, does your hat get bigger the higher up the ranking you go?

I am not sure where in the ranking the Bishops come, but no-one could have failed to miss the news last year that women were not going to be able to become Bishops, for secular folk this seemed like out-dated sexist nonsense.  

The Bible does say about 'women being silent, covering their heads' etc. but it also has women as prophets and leaders and teachers and servants of God, you always have to look at the cultural context of whichever passage you are reading, (that does not mean anything I don't agree with, I pass off with 'that was for the olden times, it doesn't apply now!).  

Some churches would not have women taking part in any way, I myself was brought up with that view, and it still holds in many religious meeting places today. But I have since made my own studies and think that it is acceptable for women to take a full part in services, some of the best sermons I have heard have been from women!

Anyhoo, that's by the by, what has got my interest stirred up now is that the C of E will allow gay clergy to become Bishops.......if they remain celibate! 

Now in light of the women ruling, that just does not make sense to me! If you won't allow a woman to be a Bishop, I'm assuming because of Biblical readings, how can you allow a celibate homosexual to be a bishop? Women in the Bible kind of go both ways (if you'll pardon the pun!) I mean, it can be read that they must never even speak, yet some are teachers, so there is an area of studying and learning to go through, in order to come to the decision your church takes.

But homosexuality in the Bible is a big no no! Please keep reading before you misunderstand me entirely! I am not here to judge gay people, I think they look like a lot of fun! One of my favourite gays is Cam on Modern Family! 

But sorry, you can't be a Bishop. How can you be in a high ranking position within an institution in which homosexuality is unacceptable, and be gay?  That's like having a drugs baron as head of the prison service as long as he promises not to deal! 

If you are in a loving relationship, an expression of that love is to have sex. I think the C of E are being quite patronising to gay people with this ruling. Either they accept homosexuality and all that comes with it, civil partnerships, sexual relationships, or they don't, and then make their Bishop judgements accordingly.

It seems to me the C of E are all over the place with trying to be PC, and have thrown the Bible out and are basing their decisions on entirely personal reasoning, not doctrinal study. In which case they shot themselves in the foot with not going ahead with women bishops, maybe they could back-track and say, it's ok for a women to be a bishop, so long as she doesn't wear a bra, or as long as she promises to have a sex-change, they'd be well up for that, a transgender Bishop would really tick the PC box.