I recently found out another Church in my town is going for Inclusive Church status. That will make three, out of well over fifty. A small step, but a significant one, and I will be joyful about it. Next week, I am going to be hosting a guest blogger, who will be sharing his story about reconciling his identity as a beloved son of God with his identity as a gay man. Now seems the right time to get into things a little bit.
I was brought up to be wary of gay people, but I didn’t really know why. The only major argument I ever had with my Dad was because a friend had come out as gay at school so he wanted me to cut off contact with him. Cue an outraged, and rather confused, teenage me. I guess I knew there was something in the Bible but because it was never really talked about, and I never really went looking, I never really found out more.
Until I made it my business to find out more. I got into my 30s and realised I had to stop hiding behind the fudged lessons I had picked up in my youth. When a same sex couple I knew adopted and that made me feel uncomfortable, I had to challenge that. I couldn’t accept that in myself. They were lovely people and they deserved their dreams of a loving family just as much as the next person with a safe, comfortable and nurturing home to offer. My judgement was more sinful than their adoption.
So I read the so called ‘clobber verses’. I read stacks of books, articles, tweets. I spoke to people, I prayed. I got close to the issue on a personal level and I grappled with my responses which I came to understand were actually echoes of my parents’ responses, and theirs before them, and didn’t have to become my own if I didn’t chose them to be. And I didn’t. So in the immortal words of Elsa, I let them go …
I now stand in full support of Gay Marriage, Gay Adoption, Gay Clergy, Gay Bishops, Gay Sex, Gay Worship Leaders, Gay Youth Leaders, Gay Children’s Workers. Gay People. Because that is who they are. People first. Humans, beloved children of God, of whom They are Well Pleased. Humans of whom one aspect is their hair colour, one aspect is their blood type, one aspect is their sexuality. Mine is brown, mine is AB+, mine is het. None of those things make me more beloved of God than anything else and none of those things make me more able or worthy to lead in Church, be a spouse, be treated with respect, with equality, be treated as Jesus commands in Matthew 22:39 (Love Thy Neighbour).
Over the next few days I’m going to blog about the clobber verses and share my reasoning very explicitly. I’m going to talk about some of the texts that really transformed my thinking, and organisations that do amazing work around this issues. Then next week, over 5 days, we’re going to share one man’s story, the hurt that the Church causes people and the joy acceptance can bring when it works out.
I invite you to share the journey and with an open heart and mind, and a prayer for God to keep your views the same or change them at Their will at the journey’s end. I’ll be praying over you and at the end of an email or DM.
Peace be with you.