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.