Saturday, 5 January 2013

naughty churches

So it's been a while since I blogged, mainly because I wanted to take a break from being immersed in debate and getting repeatedly exasperated at the ignorant views bandied around the world wide web. But I have been watching all the discussions from afar and formulating opinions, as ever.

I read an article today which I would love to link to, but I don't want to point any fingers, not in this instance. But it was written by a guy who works now at a church I left many years ago and it reminded me of a lot.

I'd say instinct made me leave, but really it was the insidious pressure that was inflicted on members of the congregation, slowly and painfully squeezing everyone into a very small and very conservative box. This was within the era where I was a good little Christian girl, not a foot out of line and dynamically 'Christian'. If I didn't fit that box even then, then heaven knows what they'd make of me now.

But the church remains, having squeezed out all members who had opinions that didn't meet their hefty standards (and I mean, hordes of people, I could name at least 10 couples/families), and now it is reformed with its own set of box-fitting members.

It makes me sad, as this is the church I spent a large part of time growing up in. The one who welcomed my family as a decent measure of pew fillers, and then spat us all out as soon as we didn't fit. And regrettably, 'fitting' in this church isn't even simply based on religious views, it's based on social position. To be a member was to be a reasonably affluent, tea party holding, clean shaven, Brady bunch.

Their views haven't changed. They are stagnated as ever, whereas the rest of us who dared to move have found freedom which was so impeded. It makes me proud to see a former co-attendee now a woman vicar.

So the article, is almost irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. It's not about one ordained member writing a scathing review on homosexuality which takes pride of place on the church's website (at least that's one way of letting any potential members know who is and isn't welcome!), it's about the whole attitude of the church which is so sadly shared by so many.

Yesterday I learned that the church of England has decided to allow celibate gay bishops. Which makes me ponder... that day when I declared myself as being in a celibate same-sex relationship, and I was turned away from a church. It was above one vicar to allow me, but it is not above the Church of England to appoint gay bishops. It shows the homophobia veiled by religion yet again. It is not a debate of religious morals but of personal ones.

So now I suppose it would be hypocritical for the C of E to disallow celibate same-sex partnered congregation when we are allowed to be led by people in that position. I wonder if any of those vicars I've met in the past who would take issue have even realised this implication.

So that is all I'm saying for now. Yes I am excited by the same-sex marriage proposals, and yes I think that it is probably best that the Church of England is left out of the mix, if they're gonna act like babies then they should expect to be treated as such. But these are all stories for another time...

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