Over the past week, since my excommunication from my church, I've been trying to gather my thoughts and feelings about it. I'm still a bit speechless, stunned, and numb but also incredibly sad and a little bit angry.
But I think somewhere in the big mess of emotion I am lost in, I have located where that niggling feeling is dwelling.
It's the fact that our country has an issue of inequality on their hands. You would expect that the church would be leading the way in any issue of inequality, that it would be the Christians who push for justice and equality, that we would be able to rely on churches, at least, to be accepting and loving among our selfish society. It's all we bang on about in sermons, when we tell people about Jesus, when we go about our outreach work; we tell everyone about the love, acceptance and fellowship that Christianity offers.
But in reality, the Church is perceived by society as a barrier to LGB equality. By producing petitions against same-sex marriage, by kicking people out of church, by condemning all LGB people, Christians are not practicing these values they teach. Instead, the acceptance and love is being promoted by secular groups and fellowship is hard to find for LGB Christians.
Thanks to the media, and a few influential religious bigots, our country has become a society of 'us' and 'them', there is an increasingly bipolar view of the church being collectively against homosexuality and the rest of society being for. It doesn't take a genius to see who comes out looking bad.
'Society' has no reason to accept LGB people, yet it does anyway. Christians have many reasons to accept LGB people, yet it doesn't.
So that is what bothers me the most, it's the fact that society is one step ahead of the church, it's standing there encouraging the church to move forwards, like a mother encouraging her child to take its first step. All the while the church is standing there, like a stubborn child with its arms crossed, refusing to move, thus frustrating everyone and making itself look like a defiant so and so.
The church needs to stop preaching about things it doesn't practice. Which sounds harsh, but I spent 2 months at a church, listening to endless sermons about loving others, celebrating the people God made us to be, being encouraged and built up, and affirmed in my identity as a Christian, only for every word they preached to become empty words the moment the church failed to put them into practice.
Can we please end this massive hypocrisy in churches? Can the church please stop pretending it is something it isn't? Can we turn churches from places that exile you to places that unconditionally accept you?
And to those of us who want to be Christians who practice what we preach, who love and accept in the same unconditional way that Jesus did, it's time for us to take a stand, to let the rest of the country know that Christians do lobby for equality, and that there is a place for everybody in God's family.
Disclaimer: in my polarisation of views I have obviously omitted mention of the positions of other religions. This is because it's the church that seems to have drawn all this attention to itself, and intervened with politics on the premise that we are a 'christian country'. So I'm not saying Christians are responsible for all opposition against equality for gay people (or that all Christians are responsible!), but just that their voice of opposition is coming across worryingly loudly.