Tonight I went over for my surrogate Mum and Dad’s house for dinner with a few people they have ‘collected’ over the years, some of whom are in church some aren’t. Tonight we ended up with a very heated discussion about a variety of things, but as usual it ended up with a discussion/argument about homosexuality and Christianity.
There is one couple there that really, really irritate me, especially the woman, who I will call Julie. She and her husband don’t currently attend a local church because the one they really like is too far away. They have been to various local churches, but always have complaints about them because they just aren’t the same as St. Too-Far-Away – in fact they are utterly unwilling to give anything else a chance because they have expectations of their own. Of course, it is never their fault that the church isn’t right; it is too unwelcoming, too liberal, too unfriendly, too big, too small, too this, too that.
Anyway, tonight they started off a discussion about Jeffrey John and how if he is ever made a Bishop they will never be a part of a church that supports him. To be honest, I can cope with that as it is their choice. What really offends me thought is their insistence that they actually have no problem with gay people, just those who are practicing gays. For a start I find this quite an offensive term… most of my friends aren’t practicing, they are experts. Secondly, it is none of their business what another person does in their bedroom. I did ask Julie whether she thought it was acceptable for me to question her sexual behaviour. Of course she wasn’t happy about this comment, but by this time I was on a roll.
Julie also commented that she had no problem with someone who had committed other types of sinful behaviour (her words not mine) becoming a Bishop, just those who were gay. It seems to me that this is a very hypocritical attitude to take, regardless of what you think of the individual.
This whole subject makes me very pissed off. This couple are unwilling to be educated. They come from an ultra-conservative background and will only listen to preachers that they know are going to say things they approve of. I suggested a few different speakers they might like to listen to, such as James Alison, but I suspect they would not even entertain the idea, firstly because he is gay, but secondly because he is a Catholic .
Having discussions like this sadly reminds me that we have a huge mountain to climb in trying to address these issues amongst conservative Christians. It is so difficult to try and educate people who have no interest in trying to see things from another person’s perspective. And, yet it also makes me sad. I still think the church misses out by not being opening and accepting to those people who have different sexualities, genders and identities. They still see them as a threat, when really they should be seeing them as a gift. A great and glorious gift which brings true diversity to a church which needs colour, life and most of all, a church that is a reflection of God’s gloriously random Kingdom.