About Me

Sunday, 16 May 2010

differences of opinion

I write this after reading both Lesleys blog about how others view the church and Sue's over at 'Significant Truths' about Mary Glaspool being consecrated as assistant Bishop of Los Angeles.

Although I am not a believer in lables, I guess I am probably more on the Conservative Evanglical side of things than anything else. However I very strongly believe that it is not our place to judge, there is only one who can do that. It is our place to love each other and accept others as Jesus would have done. Lesleys blog yesterday gave an alternative version of the parable of the woman pouring perfume on Jesus' feet which actually really touched me - really made me see why this was so significant. Jesus dealt with all sinners with love and compassion (and after all, we all sin, there is no 'well that sin is worse than this one'...) he met with them any way he could, how they came to him. He didn't say, 'you must purge yourself of sin before you come any where near me.'

However where should the line be drawn? Whilst all should be welcome, is it not going against our beliefs to just let anything go? If the church has particular core beliefs or doctrine then surely they should be reflecting that? But at what level? Is it ok for them to preach on contraversial subjects in church but not to confront people themselves. And at what level should it become unacceptable to go against those core beliefs. For example if a vicar is known to be cheating on his wife, but is about to be made a bishop, should the issue of adultery be addressed by his/her superiors before the appointment. If a lay preacher has a violent temper towards his family, but wishes to go for ordination, who should decide whether this is ok or not? Whilst we do not have the right to judge, at what point does the church say, 'that is not accpetable? '

Now at the risk of going down a difficult path, something I struggle with (yet another thing...) is homosexuality. Different churches have very different views on it. Prior to my renewal of faith I kind of felt that anything goes. I am a very tolerant person, and it didn't bother me one ounce. Now though, that is being challenged. I am not becoming homophobic, I have several gay friends who I love as much now as I did then (in fact we went to a civil partnership celebration on friday). I also feel that people should be welcome in church whatever their background or sexual chosing and I am not about to start preaching on the subject, I just want to get it straight in my own head. So... the big question is, is it right? and if not, then where should the church draw the line? - I have to admit to feeling rather doubtful about homosexual priests or as in the case of Mary Glaspool, becoming bishops. But I still feel very torn as to what I used to think. But who has the right to say so and at what point? (other than in death at the pearly gates...)

I'm sure I will get plenty of comments on this and I just want to make clear I am not being judgemental or declaring what I believe is right or wrong, I really need to hear others opinions to get some clarification so please do comment away.


Lesley Fellows said...

Hi Red,

I don't think this answers any of the above but I would be interested in your take on this post:

I think both of the examples of poor behaviour that you cite are abusive, and abusive behaviour needs challenging - Jesus challenged the Pharisees because their religion was abusive..


the_exile said...

As someone who was a possibly-homophobic, definitely hard-line Christian and now finds myself unable to accept the majority view inside the church that a loving sexual relationship between two people of the same sex is inherently sinful, I can say that there isn't only one opinion about what is 'O.K.' or 'normal' or, importantly 'sin'. If you are interested in how people like me reconcile our position with what the Bible has to say there are many places for example this one to read about it.

Lesley Fellows said...

Me again.. Thought this was interesting today..


Alan Crawley said...

This made me want to write more than I could manage sensibly here - so I did this instead http://revdalan.blogspot.com/2010/05/differences-of-opinion.html

Alan Crawley said...

And these http://revdalan.blogspot.com/2010/05/what-about-extra-curricular-activities.html

Red said...

thanks all, will post again shortly. as alan said, too much to write sensibly in this tiny box...

Suem said...

As you'll gather from my blog, I have come to believe that morality is about what you do with your sexuality (love, respect, commitment) and not what your sexuality is. I am a part of inclusive church and several of its LGBT partner organisations and I have heard so many stories.

I also believe that we have to accept within the church a range of conscientious opinion ( and practice) on this issue. I don't want to see people, whether gay or straight, who have really thought, prayed and decided same sex practice is wrong to be condemned - as long as they are not hateful in expressing this. I also don't want those in same sex relationships to be ostracised, I think their decision should be respected (even by those opposed.)

It is a complex issue, as everyone says, there isn't room to do justice to it in a comment box.