Today I went to church.
Today I was told I am no longer welcome due to the fact I do not see a problem with same-sex marriage.
I was welcomed at this church, I joined a small group, I was offered opportunities to serve.
Then I told them my views.
Then my eligibility for membership was invalidated, my beliefs were undermined and my integrity questioned.
Last time I checked, there wasn't a vetting system for who is allowed to be a part of the Christian family.
Last time I checked, people weren't kicked out of church for sinning. However, yes, I am unrepentant of intending to have a same-sex relationship, but I'm pretty sure the woman bishops are unrepentant of being bishops. God convicts me of things I do wrong, I could list a thousand sins I've committed this week, I know they are wrong even when they seem right, because I have a relationship with God and he shows me the things I need to turn against.
I'm a strong Christian, I will find a new church which is more accepting... but what about the people on the fringes of church? This is the impression we are sending out to everyone that doesn't fit in our box, or doesn't live up to this invented Christian standard- we are telling them that they aren't welcome, that they are confined to the outskirts of our community. And then we complain, as Christians, about how corrupt and promiscuous the gay culture is... and we forget the role we played in pushing them to it.
The vicar at this church vindicated himself by allocating blame on church structure and politics- "it's because we're a Church of England church" he said. But it's not, I attended a church in Sheffield where the vicar supported me, and all other same-sex couples, and he was Church of England. Yes, there is contention in the CofE stance on the issue but it does not have to be used as a veil for individual homophobia.
We are sending out a sad, sad message to the not-yet-converted of the world, and not only is this message sad but it's contradictory and conflicted. What I know of God, and what I am taught of about him (by Christians, vicars, church leaders, Jesus himself) is his grace, his acceptance and his love for us. I am taught to love others, to love God, to serve him and to help the poor and needy. I am taught of joy and forgiveness, of heaven and hope. Christians have this wonderful parade of God's amazing characteristics, and then they go and piss all over it with their condemnation and judgement.