Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Jeffrey John Affair Again
The news reports of just what exactly happened appear to be shifting by the hour. The only thing all the accounts seem to agree on is that John was a candidate to be considered for Bishop of Southwark where he served as a canon and is well known. The accounts differ on how serious a candidate he was. They all seem to agree that he is very qualified to be a bishop but for that nasty little gay thing. Most of the accounts appear to agree that ++Williams lost his temper over the breaking of the confidentiality of the selection process. There is disagreement over who leaked the story. ++Williams seems to blame over-eager liberals. The Guardian reports that it was right wing evangelicals out to scuttle John's nomination. Whatever happened, it has become a public relations disaster for the C of E and its hierarchy. It is a big disaster for ++Williams who appears to have caved again to bullying from the right.
Instead of doing the usual American thing and measuring the C of E and England by our own experiences and polity (not that the English would ever do such a thing to us), I would rather express my sympathies and solidarity with England's population of LGBT Christians.
Being LGBT and Christian is always hard. Our gay friends think that the very idea of gay people embracing Christianity is like David Ben Gurion kissing Hitler. They see us as trying to embrace a religion that is out to destroy us. And the really sad part of it is, that we can't really blame them for feeling that way.
Because so many of our fellow Christians make it very hard for us by acting like the love child of Savonarola and Torquemada. An awful poison of supremacism has leached into American Christianity, that says "we are God's chosen, we are the faithful remnant, we are those bearing the sign of the saved, we are the right believers and right teachers, everyone else is so much hell-bound trash, the world is doomed and why bother." American money and fanaticism internationalized and metastasized this poison. The Great Commission becomes a license to conquer and exploit.
All the more honor to those who cling to the Gospel of Love, Liberation, and Resurrection, who try to live it out, even as those who claim property rights to the title of "Christian" work to turn the Gospel into another instrument of domination. All credit to English Christians, gay and straight, who try their best to live out the Gospel, who keep alive what is best in Anglicanism, despite the machinations of fanatics, hierarchs, and church bureaucrats.
I don't need to tell LGBT English Christians, ordained and not, that asking us to repent of our sexuality is like asking us to repent of being carbon-based life forms. We've all walked that Via Dolorosa in ways that our enemies have not. Sadly, we have real martyrs and the witness of their blood and sacrifice. We cling to the faith that the Lord who made us and pronounced us good, reminds us that we are good even when the world reviles us. The same Lord who was rejected by his own kin, who was betrayed and murdered, walks with us in all of our suffering to the Resurrection. Our Risen Lord is there with us in all of our hard-won joys and victories. Keep proclaiming the faith of Lazarus who is poor no more. Keep fighting the good fight, and remember that in all things, even in this, Christ is glorified.
To give you an idea of what one has to bear as an LGBT Christian, check this out:
"The LGBT “inhabit space in the church” in the same way that sawdust or insect parts or other adulterants inhabit poorly-made sausage. If you don’t notice it you might wonder why you feel a bit ill. If it’s present in enough quantities to be prominent and unavoidable, you’ll be disgusted and might be severely sickened. The right thing to do at that point is to get your stomach pumped" - one Doug Stein, commenting on Jeffrey John at Stand Firm.
Hat tip to Lapinbizarre who has an iron stomach if he can read through the comments threads on that website.
Posted by Counterlight at Thursday, July 08, 2010