Posts Tagged ‘church’

Well I’m excited.

Often it feels like there is a huge gulf between the LGBT community and Christianity, one that if you are a Christian and gay, can be hard to deal with, you live in a kind of no mans land.

But that gulf is getting much narrower. I remember the first time I ever bought a Gay Times magazine. It was in Tesco. I still have it. I bought it and I didn’t try to hide it. I took it home, read every page. I had been outed by someone but I had finally accepted who I was and it was connection to the gay community which I had just started to experience again.

I was SO happy to see some amazing LGBT Christians actually being published in interviews in the magazine for December. The articles are warm and inviting. It is so nice seeing LGBT publications doing something positive for LGBT Christians rather than the constant slating.

You get persecuted by the church for being gay, and by the gay community for being Christian. But that is changing and it’s fantastic.

I wanted to add. If you are gay and Christian and feeling alone please get in touch and I’ll try and help.

If you are near Hillingdon, UK, check out St John’s Hillingdon hill where you will be loved and welcomed. What’s more we even have an LGBT Christian Fellowship.

Thanks for being their Gay Times! I wonder if we could use the articles to produce a flyer for church? Hmmm.

http://www.gaytimes.co.uk

http://www.stjohnshillingdon.org.uk

Love to All

 

Paul

Advertisements

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?”.

I have for some time been thinking about the whole Communion thing. Not only Communion but Marriage, priesthood etc. and I am about to say something shocking…. but when you get a handle on it it gives us freedom.

Communion

In the church of England a Priest has to bless the bread and wine (consecrate it), ofcourse this has caused a bit of a problem where you don’t have a Vicar. Now ofcourse this would cause a bit of a problem for Jesus, ofcourse he was not ordained, or the disciples, or apostles.

The Breaking of Bread belongs to the Church world wide, but we could actually drop the ritual and make it much simpler, we could lose the “requirements” of hundreds of years of history that are not only, not in the Bible or practiced by Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the ritual sometimes, but we must not be bound by it, Communion belongs to Christians, not to ritual.

The Priesthood

Ok  given there are elders, and priests in the Bible, but these people did not dress differently from the common man, in fact the original purpose of robes was so that the priest looked like the common man, but it somehow got lost. Ofcourse, we are all priests, Jesus created the priesthood of all believers, the priesthood belongs to every Christian.

Now, we do need elders and apostles. We need people to manage the church. That’s very important.

Marriage

Marriage was around LONG before there was church, and Christians to make rules about it. Gay Marriage, sorry to say for those who think it is quite a modern thing was practiced well before the church was established, a number of Roman Emperors married Men, marriage has had many many forms over the years and to think that the Church some how has a right to define what it is sadly leaves a lot to be desired.

Money

Why on earth does some organisation think it has a right to demand 10% of the income of those who are probably struggling themselves. While Bishops live in palaces it is immoral to demand a tithe from the poor.

Jesus wouldn’t do it, even Paul the Apostle was a tent maker and welcomed gifts, everyone gave “as he was able”. Making people feel second class because they can’t give is wrong.

A fixed percentage is unfair on the poor.

Someone who earns £1000 a month but gives £100 to the church will find life much harder than someone who earns £10000 a month and gives £1000.

Remember the woman who through the small coin into the offering and Jesus said how she gave more than all the others.

I often see TV adverts for charities and I’ve got to the point where I say to myself, if you can afford that TV ad. you don’t need my money.

(I’m such a rebel)

Baptism

Here’s something else that the churches love to  take over. Baptism, it doesn’t belong to the church but every believer. Many many baptisms are performed in rivers and lakes, all you need is Water, a confession of faith and believers.

I do love church though….

I have been thinking a lot recently about the Kingdom of God, the one described by Jesus in the Bible, a Kingdom that is not of this world. I am challenged that, in fact, this Kingdom is NOT the church as we know it.

His Kingdom is open to anyone who pushes the door, it is not closed by “you’re not good enough, you’re gay, you don’t meet our standards”, it is held open by Jesus and by letting his Kingdom in, the other Kingdom’s in our lives have to give way. There can be only one Kingdom.

His Kingdom is not the Church of England or any other denomination of “Christianity” or any other faith system, in his Kingdom, the top people are the greatest servants, in his Kingdom, the first is last and the last is first. Your value is not on how much money you have, or if the word Rev’d is used when your name is spoken. In his Kingdom, the smallest child with an open heart to God is greater than the miracle preacher who is furnishing his earthly Kingdom, even if it is in Christ’s name.

His Kingdom, is not run on the money of the poor. Instead, the poor are rich.

His Kingdom, is an everlasting Kingdom, it will never end, it does not need you, but if you want it, it will take you over and set you free. (Although the Kingdom’s you allow to rule you may fight to keep you, they have no power over him).

The people in his Kingdom do not dress in a certain way, say special words or observe religious festivals, none of these are a requirement of his Kingdom, only freedom, love and forgiveness.

Unfortunately the people that think they preach his Kingdom, may not, have, actually, experienced it.

Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (NIV)

John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (NIV)

The Coming of the Kingdom

20 And when he was demanded by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with outward observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you. 22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when you shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you shall not see it. 23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24 For as the lightning, that flashing out of the one part under heaven, shines unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. 26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

31In that day, he who shall be upon the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two *men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wherever the body is, there will the vultures be gathered together. King James Version.

*Incidentally a lot of other translations remove the word MEN and use people or just leave it out.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/04/21/senior-anglican-clergy-church-should-rejoice-over-equal-marriage/

After me having a rant about only those against us Gay People standing up, some other leaders in the church of England have stood up on our side. Happy days!

Along with these leaders, I’m sure others will stand up now, and in fact, perhaps the dialog that we have needed between LGBT people and the church is to move forward a step.

Praise God!

Read more and watch the video: http://www.towleroad.com/2011/07/levin.html#ixzz1Sw6kCiww

Oh come on people.

A jewish man has killed an 8 year old child.

RANT WARNING. THE NEXT PARAGRAPH(S) IS AN OUT AND OUT BY A GAY MAN YOU MAY BE OFFENDED
 
No one likes to see people accused of something they have not done, this guy is saying that because of us gays a child has been killed, did we kill the child, no, had we any part in his life, guess what, no. God is a just God why would he take a child’s life to send some kind of weird message that gay marriage is wrong, that we are wrong.

Perhaps, the truth is, the child was killed because a man IN YOUR COMMUNITY has committed a terrible crime. You, as the leaders of the community need to deal with it not palm the responsibility off to a group of other people. When we are grieving over something we often want to find someone to blame. Be careful you do not do another group of people a terrible terrible injustice.

Perhaps the real truth is, that you want, like a lot of so called Christians to use anything to back up your own insecurities instead of trying to understand and dialog with us. We are not monsters, we are human beings.

RANT OVER, RESUMING NORMAL SERVICE

Pray for this Rabbi and that community that they are able to take responsibility and to deal with their grief in a real way. Not palming everything off to another group of people, because injustice,  as we know from scripture, is something God hates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have this pink paperclip in my wallet.

A good friend of mine gave it to me and ever since I’ve used it as a reminder to think about and indeed pray for those who are LGBT for whom the freedom to live their life as the person they really are is not possible. Also for those who have committed suicide because of their sexualty and their families coming to terms with it. For those for whom being LGBT is just hard. Bullied or hated.

Every time I see a person who has been executed, bullied or committed suicide in this way, I wear this paperclip on my shirt as a reminder to me to pray for them. People ask why and I tell them.

I’m not saying that you should do the same as me. But you know sometimes something simple can carry a huge message.

I hope, one day, this paperclip will stay in my wallet and not come out. But until then. Here it is.