Monday, June 23, 2008

Lambeth, Gafcon and all that jazz

Look forward to plenty of headlines about bishops and homosexuality for the next few weeks. We've got Gafcon, the C of E's General Synod and the Lambeth Conference ahead of us. Having worked for a few years in a Higher Education post, it all sounds rather odd and grating to hear Church people being so critical of gay Christians. It has certainly made me understand more of what must sound like to the world at large.

That's not to say that Christian theology should change, just because it sounds weird to non-Christians, but this issue makes the Church sound judgemental and even cruel. What has always puzzled me is why homosexuality has become the dividing issue. There is a huge diversity of opinion in the Anglican communion on all sorts of fundamental theological questions.

For example, you could find Anglican Bishops with views about the theology of communion that match both sides of the conflict in the time of the Reformation. Back then in the 1540s people were burning each other for heresy and blasphemy; now they are brother bishops in the same church. So why is sexuality more divisive?

I can't help thinking that it is precisely because it's about sex. Somehow the debate touches a human nerve in many people, which sends it up their theological priority scale. My guess is that all of our theological views are rather more determined by our emotions, personal experiences and prejudices than any of us are happy to admit.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I agree Mike. I think that sexuality has acquired a special status over the years, linked to its taboo nature in society at large.

My only hope for the whole situation is that the people concerned recognise the need to discuss these issues. The burying of heads in sand is something for which the church has a reputation. This issue will not go away, and the only way to deal with it is through sustained discussion and argument (in a constructive academic sense).