Later this afternoon I’m attending the reception at 10 Downing Street hosted by the Prime Minister for members of the LGB&T community. In advance of the meeting, Jeffrey John’s video message for the Out4Marriage campaign is making waves, and Jeffrey may be one of those invited to the reception.
Jeffrey is very glad the government is proposing to legalise gay marriage.. He says the church doesn’t deserve to be listened to on the subject because it doesn’t speak with integrity. Of course God blesses and sustains gay love, says Jeffrey, just as much as God blesses and sustains any other marriage.
Of course God does, just as God blesses the calling and ministry of women and LGB&T people equally. Of course, we who are gay (most of us) know that God does not discriminate and carries no prejudice, no prejudice against race, colour, gender or sexuality.
The policies of the Church of England have become more and more intolerable over the past two decades, policies that are presented as based on theological conviction, tradition and scripture. The trouble is, the majority of people in this country and in congregations everywhere in the UK have seen through the theological convictions as a result of which a small minority on right and left have held the church to ransom, claiming protective clauses in legislation and opt-outs in Christian teaching about love, truth and justice.
There is nothing Christian in the arguments that demand a uncontaminated male-bishop-in-authority zone in the Church of England. There is nothing Christian about teaching which maintains prejudice in this country and rampant homophobia in other parts of the Anglican Communion against LGB&T people.
Jesus whole life and teaching exemplifies love and justice in action, transgressing barriers to love and justice in community, society and personal relationships. The Church of England prioritises unity and maintaining space in the Church for those who are prejudiced. It has taken us a long time (or me in particular a long time) to get to the place where I can see that the Church is now totally losing it’s way, conforming to un-Christian rather than Christian values because a reactionary minority has held the Church and Communion to ransom since the late 1980s.
It’s time to campaign for more than equality for women and LGB&T people in the Church. It’s time to proclaim with passion and spiritual enthusiasm Jesus’ gospel of unconditional love and welcome for all. Love alone can transform our lives from addiction to false gods, false religion, false certainty, false judgements about who is inside and outside the Kingdom of God
This afternoon’s reception, the government’s equal marriage proposals, Jeffery’s Out4Marriage video, Changing Attitude’s campaign for a dramatic change in attitudes towards LGB&T people across the Anglican Communion, all are part of the zeitgeist. We are now living into a new reality, where women will be bishops soon and LGB&T people will be married by the state, and eventually by the Church.
Changing Attitude is praying and living and loving into that new reality NOW!