l See Gay People

There have been many comments over the last few days on the House of Bishops guidance with regards to Same-Sex Marriage (SSM)

Thinking Anglicans have been doing the usual round-up and are always good for a wide range of responses:

and then Linda Woodhead's painful wit

I was particularly touched by Rachel Mann's contribution

And I was reminded again of the stories found in the journey of Benny Hazlehurst and Accepting Evangelicals


I'm not sure why the HoB wrote this particular statement at this particular time with this particular flavour.  It did seem a little odd and reactionary.  But on the other hand this is the moment I suppose.

I have to say I remain bemused by the Church of England as a whole on this.  The guidance says that gay
clergy are not allowed to marry, or have a committed, faithful, sexual relationship.

But I see them...with my very eyes!

I know many clergy who are gay, I know some who are in CPs, at least one with a child (there will be many more than I know).  I've only just realised that they are expected to live in a kind of purgatory in which for their life to be named publicly, or become open, rather than just an open secret, would be to cross a line which is known but never drawn.

And yet they exist - there will be no way in which their congregation is unaware, they are a couple, or a family.  There they are.  What will you do with them?

If I were expected to hide my family, my best beloveds, keep them a dirty secret, in order to obey my calling to God, what would that do to my psyche, my mental health and overall physical wellbeing?

Simon Butler who announced his sexuality and his openness to being in a relationship, in General Synod last week, has done something unbelievably brave in saying all this out loud.  It will be recorded in minutes, it cannot be unsaid, denied.  Perhaps there was a sense of relief, a level of integration which has been impossible up to now, but the cost of this into the future must not be underestimated.  Where we seem to have been intent on wandering around with our eyes and ears shut, and have thought that we're doing people a favour, what we've been doing has been unutterably cruel and abusive.  To ask people to live invulnerable lives, closed, guarded, defended, hidden lives.  This will inevitably lead to unhealth in all manner of spheres of living.  And then we can point and say 'see, we were right all along'.  To be one who refuses the parameters leading to this end, is courageous.

But it is astonishing is it not, that those of us who follow Christ have gotten ourselves into a situation where shadows and 'lies by omission' are the acceptable, even compelled, option.  Where truth, honesty and integrity seem to be thought politically naive and optimistic to the extreme.  How did we get this so upside down?

Surely, we need to find a way to enable gay clergy to come out openly and safely, without it being a dreadful ordeal.

We have gay clergy, single, in couples and families, ministering with us and to us throughout the Church of England this very day.

I see you.


Stanmore Blokey said...

Were those last few paragraphs blurry, or was it just the tears in my eyes?

UKViewer said...

What you say is true and the CofE HoB statement is cruel, unkind and unnecessary and utterly un-pastoral.

Why should couples hide their committed long term, loving relationships, whether straight or gay? It's a scandal and disgrace that the HoB has taken this route - in my view, to appease the Global South, just before the ABC visited them in Cairo last week. Their statement affirms the HoB preservation of the status quo, and goes on to describe the Holy Spirit working in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada as gross?

I'm offended that the HoB seeks to speak for me and many others who, like you "See Gay Relationships as intrinsically normal" and part of life.

If the HoB has chosen to be critical of promiscuity in relationships, I'd have understood and agreed - but instead they chose the vulnerable clergy and laity (and why two different standards anyway?) in a quite unwholesome way.

Utterly, utterly foolish and out of touch and a another 'foot in mouth' episode for the media to pillory.