With everything that kicked off on Twitter involving Calvin and Rachel Held Evans recently, this seems like a good time to re-post a little piece I did back in June.
There are many blogs and articles on the internet, putting forward arguments for why God does not disapprove of loving same sex relationships and why he does not have a problem with women pastors/vicars/bishops. Hearing these messages come from the pulpit of a church however, seems to make you sit up and take notice. That is what happened this Sunday at church.
A woman, who is going on to be ordained at the end of the month, explained that during her studies she had come to realize that context was vital. In that contextual study, she did not see anything that suggests God has a problem with loving monogamous same sex relationships; or anything to suggest that he has a problem with women teachers. She went to tell the story of a woman who had been through a lot of pain but was clearly filled with love for God and his spirit, studying the scriptures to be ordained…..but she will not be for 1 reason; she is gay. She described it as a tragedy, I describe it as a disgrace.
It was quite simply the best sermon I have heard; not because I agreed with every word of it but because it was a sermon that said things that actually need saying. The vicar was obviously displeased when he said “thank you for the challenge, I don’t completely agree with everything but thank you for the challenge” I was not bothered by this point, I was pretty much on my feet in applause. During the peace where we greet each other, I went over to her and thanked her for what she said. She had rattled some cages and knew she had upset people. Having been embroiled in both these discussions for sometime, I knew what she could expect. No one though, said standing up for what you believe in would be easy.
To say that a woman or someone who is gay cannot serve God, is to say they are not good enough to. This is the message being given out by the church and this was the point of the sermon; we need to look beyond these things and the church needs to as well. It needs to stop putting people down and stop getting in the way of God. This is the message that needs to come from the pulpit.
First published 2nd June 2013