Sunday, December 19, 2010

Religious tolerance

OK this is going to be a difficult post. One of my major stumbling blocks in fully committing to christianity is the church's treatment of homosexuals. When I started this blog a year ago this was uppermost in my mind. I had been going to St. Matthew's Church and spent an hour and a half discussing this issue with the vicar. I remember saying "It's easy to tell a church full of people that those who have homosexual sex will go to hell but try sitting in the sauna at the gym with me and try out your argument". I never went back to that church. I just could not believe that God would make a group of people and then say "Ooh, yes I know I've made you with all the normal drives - to want a sexual relationship etc but you know what - if you want to get into heaven - you can't have sex". A christian friend said to me "God didn't make homosexuals, the devil did". So...where do I start?

I get the feeling this could be a lot more than one post - such a big topic. I am going to start with a couple of links to various sites on both sides of this argument.

If you read Nicky Gumbel from Holy Trinity Brompton - founder of the Alpha course - then you'll know that he believes that someone can pray not to be gay and then get married and live happily ever after. You can even find websites with testimonies.

Or for an alternative point of view you could have a look at;

It's all so confusing and it's making my head hurt.


  1. Have a look at Inclusive Church. St Brelade's Church is affiliated to Inclusive Church. The website notes:

    We acknowledge that this is Good News for people regardless of their sex, race or sexual orientation.
    We believe that, in order to strengthen the Gospel's proclamation of justice to the world, and for the greater glory of God, the Church's own common life must be justly ordered.

    To that end, we call on our Church to live out the promise of the Gospel; to celebrate the diverse gifts of all members of the body of Christ; and in the ordering of our common life to open the ministries of deacon, priest and bishop to those so called to serve by God, regardless of their sex, race or sexual orientation.

  2. Ah yes - St. Brelade's. Christian friends tell me they practice "woolly theology" and not to be side-tracked.

    Of course, it appeals but then one of the challenges of surrendering to faith is the admittance that I don't know best.

  3. The question is: are you being asked to surrender to faith, or to a particular brand of Christianity, which is not the same thing? This is always a danger, especially with evangelical circles, who tend to regard themselves as "true Christians" and who fail to see that their own interpretation of Christianity is one among many and is not "plain" or "value free".

    By the way, here is part of a service on Trade Justice used at St Brelade. I'd say it was challenging, and not woolly!


    As we come together across the world and stand before the Holy God, the voices of the people rise in lament and confession:

    We acknowledge that we are on the land of our Indigenous people. We honour their care of this part of the earth, their capacity to tread lightly over God's creation and to share its gifts.

    Right: We weep, 0 God, for the lives of our people. We toil day and night
    and still our children go hungry. We sow the fields, planting your seeds of abundance and bringing in the gifts of your harvest. But this is torn from our hands and all that is left are the crumbs from tables of the rich. The gap grows wider and wider as we die from lack of health care and fall back in life without education and freedom.

    Left: We bow our heads in shame, 0 God, for our tables groan with plenty. Our only questions are about which good thing to eat, and how
    much is too much. We puzzle over what more we can choose to add to our clothes, our homes and our style of living. As we hear the cries of the suffering people in the distance, we know that we have betrayed your dream. We have failed to live in your just community.


    Lord have mercy.
    Response: Lord have mercy.
    Christ have mercy.
    Response: Christ have mercy.
    Lord have mercy.
    Response: Lord have mercy.

    O God, in grief, we cover your dream for creation with this purple cloth - the
    colour of preparing, of waiting and of longing for the life of Christ to be seen
    among us.

    Hear our prayers, O God.
    Hold in the hollow of your hand those who cry out to you. Forgive those who come to you in grieving confession and bring us all to your abundant life, we pray, O God. Amen.