Archive for the ‘Christian Ethics’ Category

da71e9dd7c1b9138c9a4631e8924344d.pngThe Christian church has always been filled with differences of opinion on some amazing topics.

The truth of the matter is we have faith in God, we base our faith on a rough understanding of a book written over 2000 years.

So it’s just arrogant to expect to think that you are right about everything and even worse to start judging other Christians on their beliefs in the very same words you believe in a different way.

The truth is that EVERY Christian takes the bits of the Bible they like and majors on them. Christians use those scriptures to hate people like me. They feel better by using virtue positioning. Not realising that doing that disobeys even the most *BASIC* Christian Teaching of Love your Neighbour as yourself.

I reckon the way to treat scripture is like this:-

Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength.

Love your neighbour as yourself.

If anything you do or say goes against this, guess what, you’re wrong. I’m not saying you’re wrong, the basic scripture is.

The truth is Christian, you love yourself like this.

  1. You do something wrong
  2. You let yourself off
  3. Go to 1

But with others its….

  1. They do something wrong
  2. You judge them which makes you feel better
  3. Go to 1

Sort it out, have you not read “Love covers over a multitude of Sins?”.

There you go.

 

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I’m a funny old thing. (as my friends will confirm). Normally when the Church of England does something that makes us LGBT people feel like second class citizens, that we don’t matter, but lies do. I get upset. But I’m so resigned to it that I just move along and keep fighting to have the CofE realise that it can’t control people’s lives.

Let me explain. So the CofE have published this waste of time document from a “Shared Conversations” group. Basically a bunch of people discussing my life without actually consulting me, well thanks.

Click Here to read it if you’ve got a few hours to spare.

Really, it’s achieved pretty much nothing. Except perhaps confirming what everyone knew.

  • There are many LGBT  people in ministry in the Church of England, both Lay and Ordained clergy
  • These people including bishops etc are sometimes in same sex relationships, the church expects that if you are clergy that is to be a celibate relationship, because obviously God only approves of straight sex. In other words, if you are in  a straight relationship, you can get the whips out and do what you like, including anal sex (sorry to be graphic) but if you are in a gay relationship, some how God doesn’t like it. Did you know sodomy is technically any sex that is not pro-creative?
  • Vicars who even PRAY FOR or pronouncing a BLESSING on a same sex couple may find them selves hung drawn and quartered still,  because obviously God doesn’t want Vicars to pray with or for people in those situations.
  • Whilst the Church of England is happy to take my money and time, it will continue to frown on me as  a second class member of the church. It will acknowledge that any relationship I have can’t possibly be loving.

But what about the Bible?

I used to be an Evangelical Christian, but I just couldn’t cope with the inconsistencies of believing that way, the Bible, is full of things that are pretty impossible to live by. Even know reader you are probably wearing a poly cotton blend that breaches the laws of Leviticus, or if you have long hair and are a man, you are unnatural, in breach of the teachings of Paul. I can’t cope with Christians who say “oh but that’s cultural”, no, it’s YOUR culture you are applying to scripture.

Very little is said in the Bible about gay relationships, most are talking about abusive sex within the CONTEXT of idol worship (the Leviticus passages for instance), these are mainly the domain of temple prostitutes, Jesus had only good stuff to say in Matthew 19, I have written a lot on all this stuff which you can find throughout this blog.

My main problem actually was nothing to do with being gay, but the simple fact that Christians appeared to ignore even the basic commands of Christ. Lending and expecting it back? Selling everything and giving to the poor? People in positions of leadership don’t seem to do this but seem to think it’s ok to control my life.

Sorry Church of England

I refuse to abide by your rulings on same sex relationships. I think they are not only unfair but oppressive, Jesus wouldn’t oppress a minority or make different rules up for different people. So don’t you start doing it.

Am I going to leave the church?

Maybe. I’m still thinking about it. I struggle with the whole “Same sex attraction” thing. The call to live a celibate life is although I do it, not  one I feel is from God, denying that I can even have Christ in my life as  a gay person is going a bit far to be honest. I put a lot of time, effort and love into my church and yet the CofE pushes me once again to the edge, to the fringes.

Funny thing is, my local church that I attend is the epitome of acceptance and love, and I suspect the views of this report, yet again, do not reflect those of the believers there.

I love Irish music. I don’t care what it is, everything from the Dubliners through to Goats Don’t Shave (yes that’s a band name). I spent a few years playing in an Irish band in Irish pubs. I made a good few friends. The band I now play in, we play a lot of Irish numbers.

I’d like to to tell you about the “terrible” behaviour of the Irish football fans in Euro 2016, so far they have Fixed someone’s car roof, putting money in the car to pay for the damage caused when an Irish fan jumped on it to get extra height, they have sung quiet lullabies to a baby on a train and shushed other people. They have sung in support of the french police when they came to move them on. So different from the terrible attacks of the Russian and English fans. They always sing, you can’t stop them singing about what they are doing.

If you see Irish fans with their Green white and orange flags you know that they are up to good. They are charming the world and they are coming to clear up your litter. Their song is “Green Lad’s picking up Litter”, “Stand up for the French Police” and “Twinkle, Twinkle little star” along with others.

Orlando Shootings

The small LGBT Christian fellowship I am honoured to be part of it had  a vigil for the Orlando victims, we read out each person and their age and remembered all those who suffer because the are LGBT, sometimes at the hands of people that call themselves “Christians”.

We had a visitor to our group, a trainee Baptist Pastor, he wasn’t gay but he was upset with the way that the Baptist church had dealt with the whole thing and in fact was dealing with LGBT people. He prayed at the end that the church would learn to be like our group, welcoming anyone who needed a safe place.

To Love.

So what, might you ask, have these two things in common? Both groups have  a binding interest, faith, and simply being Irish, simply being.

I hope that the church will learn from both the wonderful Irish about singing and doing good and from the wonderful members of the LGBT group about being accepting. Imagine a church who’s colours and song was that it was a safe place for all people and that when they sang you knew they were helping someone out.

1 Cor 13.

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 
10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Love.
Paul (not the apostle)

Well since my last post I thought I’d share some of the responses I’d had and how things have moved on.

Firstly, I was really surprised about how important people at my church actually regard communion and those who take it. A number of people knew my story and said how really happy and touched they were I was joining them. There has been a lot of hugging (which I’m not actually good at).

What is more amazing is actually how I feel in myself. Since joining the rest for communion I noticed that one or two others have started taking communion who would sit out. I didn’t realise, in fact, until someone pointed out that they didn’t take communion because I didn’t that feeling excluded actually can effect those around you. I thought, in honesty that it was where I was at and people in my church were cool with it. Which, to be honest, they were, but that didn’t mean they didn’t deeply want me, as a gay person to be part of the family.

Communion, is, in fact a family affair. I have learned that actually with all the liturgy there is much love, coming together an saying those words, although prescribed for us is actually about our unity, our oneness whatever our sexuality, the colour of our skin, our gender or any other difference you choose to mention.

Something else I also realised is that sometimes people don’t feel included, even when they are. They don’t feel equal even though they are equal. But to experience that equality often only happens when we join in.

I learned that the people at St John’s do regard me as an equal. That in their view I’m not a second class Christian, even if the upper echelons and primates of the church may regard me as one.

This weekend our wonderful vicar Alan is coming to share communion with the LGBT group that meets once every fortnight at the church. I’m sure this will be a powerful and moving time.

We are family, we are communion, paid for by the blood of the risen Christ, and it’s good, it’s very good.

Ok this is a pet hate of mine and it’s getting worse.

Social media has become the crowd of people shouting “crucify”. The amount of Amen’s I see to things that are either unbiblical or slightly dodgy but sound good is amazing, shockingly I have joined the fray, till I had a big wake up call.

Let me give you an example from yesterday.

“You should boycott Starbucks not because some crass fundamentalist dislikes their cups, but because they are serial tax evaders.”.

Sounds good doesn’t it? Boycotting, social justice etc etc. But I started asking questions. The person making the statement was a member of the Anglican Clergy, a Bishop (and someone who I actually really respect, he is a brilliant Christian, although in a high place in the church he is really down to earth).

Terrible Starbucks. But wait a second… Tax Evaders? Well technically they just have clever accountants, what they are doing is not illegal and in fact they have committed to paying more tax but they don’t legally have to. But what did boycotting really do?

  • It put low paid staff out of jobs (can you hear them saying “thanks for boycotting Starbucks, now I don’t have a job”)
  • it did the job of the UK Governments HMRC, they should have been the ones dealing with the tax not us
  • it told Starbucks that we think they should pay more tax, even though they are not legally required to do so

The problem is, in my view, boycotting Starbucks was the wrong way to do it, we should have gone after the Tax man (that makes a change, he’s normally after us!), we should have lobbied the government to take action to get in all the money large corporations legally use to avoid paying tax. In my view, boycotting Starbucks was simply fighting the wrong battle. Change needs to happen at the highest level. Then when we levy tax from the big corporations we GIVE IT TO THE LOWEST PAID in the form of tax credits.

What if we had lobbied Starbucks to give loads of money to charities? Wouldn’t that have been better? How much of our tax is wasted on needless bureaucracy, on expensive lunches or quangos writing huge reports no one is interested in?

Now to carry on beating up Starbucks I thought I would turn my attention to the Church of England. The Church of England is ofcourse a charity, that means that things we call profits in business are called surplus in charities, charities pay no tax (sorry Starbucks you should have set up as a charity). But wait. The church of England has  a massive property portfolio, they also have some huge investments which they make a tidy 65 million pounds from. But ofcourse this is not profit this is surplus. The legal structure is different.

So maybe if the Church of England want to wave the paying tax finger at Starbucks first they should pay tax themselves. “Ah”, you say, “But they don’t have to, they are  a charity”. To which I reply. Neither does Starbucks because they have a structure that ALLOWS them to legally not pay tax. Starbucks however have recently said they will pay more tax, even though they don’t legally have to.

Take the plank out of your own eye before you take the speck of wood out of someone else’s? If you want Starbucks to pay more tax than they are LEGALLY BOUND TO PAY, you have to do it first. If you want Starbucks to have Christian themed cups for Christmas, make sure every mug or cup in your home has a Christian theme. It’s basic Christianity. Don’t be a plank head.

Today, I saw someone post something about how it was better being Holy than Happy. So I asked the question, what do you think it means to be Holy? ofcourse people carry on going Amen often without a real understanding of what it means.

The time has come to stop saying “Amen” to things and start questioning those who post them. Be the one in the crowd who does not shout Crucify, but instead asks the question “What has he ACTUALLY done wrong, and am I doing exactly the same thing?”, “What do you mean by Holiness?”, “Why can’t I be happy and holy?”.

This article (Click  Here) is a brave but incredibly sad account which describes in a way my experience as a gay man growing up in the 70’s.

I am one of those people who used religion to beat myself up. I remember when I was a teenager being besotted with Tucker Jenkins from Grange Hill (a TV program).  By the time I was in my 20’s I was homophobic, a friend of mine asked me once if I’d hire a gay person and I just quoted scripture at him. Scripture I had learned by rote but not really understood. Ofcourse Grange Hill had it’s own gay teacher.

I regret terribly how I forced myself to be straight even though I spent most of my life completely cut up inside. Deeply hating myself.

For anyone brought up to believe these things about themselves it is a huge journey to actually get yourself to the place where you understand just how much God loves you as you are. That being gay, bi or trans, is not some kind of condemnation but in many ways a blessing.

Being gay, you see, is not just about who you are attracted to, it’s about how you see the world. When you find someone you actually love, you’ll know it. Whatever gender they are.

When you are “out”, when you don’t hide who you are any more it’s like you are finally set free. You can finally, when out with friends, discuss “that guy on Hollyoaks“.

I did have relationships with people of the same sex growing up, from the age of about 15. But these were not  loving relationships they were relationships that happened in an environment of fear and shame.

I hope that in these modern times we can learn to live alongside each other.

I believe the glory of God is the human being fully alive and that this includes people who are gay.

If Ireland votes Yes, it will be about much more than marriage. It will end institutional homophobia. It will say to gay people that they belong, that it’s safe to surface and live fully human, loving lives. If it’s true that 10 per cent of any population are gay, then there could be 400,000 gay people out there; many of them still living in emotional prisons. Any of them could be your son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, father or best friend. Set them free. Allow them live full lives.

(Ursula Halligan)

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/teenager-found-hanged-after-fears-8299328

Not something we NORMALLY hear about hear in the UK. You see the problem with theology that is spouted in front of people who you don’t know it affects, is while the onlookers look on and nod in approval, the LGBT person is secretly dying inside.

We must think more about the verse “What you did to the least of these, you did it to me”, Jesus talking in the parable of the sheep and the goats.

“But the Bible Says” is all very well. But the Bible says a lot of things. This Christmas, instead of putting ourselves and others down maybe it’s time to focus on building up and not destroying, on creating a safe environment for everyone.

The theology of hate perpetrated by so many Christians is not the teachings of Christ at all. He never once lifted a stone against anyone, or put them down, sure, he challenged people but his whole life he built people up.

Happy Christmas everyone!