Depends upon what you think religion is really

My husband and I rock up every Sunday to church. Sure, we are barred from preaching, we are excluded from all meaningful leadership positions, and I have lost count of the number of times we have been made to feel deeply ashamed of our very presence. But this week we, along with our strongest allies, have finally been asked to leave, and by none other than our own archbishop, Glenn Davies. Why? Because we are those who have found deep beauty in the blessing of gay and lesbian marriages and we long for others to share in this joy.

From his address, it’s hard to discern whether he is ousting individuals or those dioceses that have made moves to bless same-sex marriage, but ultimately there is no difference – if an entire region is blacklisted for pursuing something we hold dear, what message does that send me? Needless to say, his words have a deep impact, and I am, all things considered, exhausted.

If you think religion is something to make you feel good, perhaps to foster that community feeling, then sure you can be pissed that there’s no support for gay marriage. The answer is also obvious, go found your own community that fosters that inclusive feeling you desire.

If you think that religion is in fact the revealed word of God then you’re pretty much stuck. Because if God says “Nope” then you’re pretty stuck, aren’t you?

Which gives us the third possibility, you agree that it’s The Word but that it is being misinterpreted by those currently doing the preaching.

OK, that means off you go and preach the correct Word.

Err, yes, without the cathedrals and churches and all built by those who believe as you don’t. But then to be as the lilies of the field is to be rather religious, isn’t it?

24 comments on “Depends upon what you think religion is really

  1. And if they rocked up at a socialist club insisting on the righteousness of free markets they’d be shown the door too.

  2. Not really a simple choice.
    If you profoundly accept the Word of God, and support the traditions of the Church in nearly every way but one, then leaving to found your own church isn’t easy. That one disagreement becomes the definition of the new church, not a part of a complex and beautiful edifice.
    He seems to be doing the right thing; campaigning for change from within, as did many before him over the centuries.

  3. And if they rocked up at a socialist club insisting on the righteousness of free markets they’d be shown the door too.

    Given socialists’ propensity to violence they’ll probably get their heads kicked in first.

  4. ” If you profoundly accept the Word of God, and support the traditions of the Church in nearly every way but one, ”

    Then you don’t profoundly accept the word of God.

    Pandering to the 2% of people who are gay and alienating the majority of churchgoers is not a sound policy.

  5. From my early life as a registeted philosopher 🙂 the usual requirements to be called “a religion” are:
    – a creation myth or metaphysics – where did we come from
    – a set of moral and ethical rules – how should we live.

    This has the interesting effect that 2 major faiths are discounted: Islam (no creation myth) and Buddhism (neither).

  6. [Archbishop] Davies is not acting in isolation, nor is he entirely unreasonable. In fact, he is acting wholly consistent within his belief system.

    A belief system some bishops adhere to, called “Christianity”.

    It has on its side the weight of history and a simplistic understanding of the Bible

    “ACTUALLY, bigots, a sophisticated reading of the Bible proves that God is chillaxed about Keith Vaz hosting drug-fueled rentboy orgies!”

    The words of this archbishop have caused immense pain because they demonstrate a total unwillingness to learn from the experiences of LGBTQIA+ affirming voices.

    See how this works? If you give a nice, sympathetic gay couple an inch (naughty Missus), the LGBTQIAWTF+ crew drags you a mile down that slippery, slidey slope of degeneracy that leads to Hell.

    If that ain’t so, how come – only five minutes after legalising gay marriage – we now have people openly encouraging children to inject tranny hormones and destroy their genitals? Why do “drag kids” even exist, and why aren’t their parents in jail? Why have progressive media outlets already floated several trial balloons about “pedophobia”?

    MB – He seems to be doing the right thing; campaigning for change from within, as did many before him over the centuries.

    Imagine if Jesus had told the adulteress: “Keep sinning until God changes his mind lol”.

  7. Steve
    ‘Pedophobia? I’m okay there. I’m not frightened of kids.
    Can’t they at least be etymologically correct when lecturing us?
    Serious question: when a new thought crime is invented, how do the nutters decide whether it’s going to be an -ism or a -phobia?
    ‘Racist’ tends to just mean you’re supposedly anti-black, so what’s wrong with ‘negrophobia’? Why not ‘homo-ism’? ‘Homophobia’ means ‘fear of the same’ after all. Not many people are actually frightened of them. Well…

  8. I don’t know what Jesus is reported as saying about poofs. Anyone?

    (Come to that, what is he reported as saying about abortion?)

    I do know he boasted about coming with a sword – so no meek and mild rubbish, please – and that he inveighed against what are now called “Christian family values”. But about buggery – nope, I plead ignorance.

  9. firefoxx,

    Islam essentially teaches the Jewish creation myth with minor tweaks. Adam and Eve and all that.

    And various forms of Buddhism definitely have sets of rules and guidelines for a moral life. Japanese Pure Land Buddhism is arguably an exception in that all you have to do to achieve salvation and be forgiven of all your sins is call upon some guru. Now, what major western religion does that remind you of?

  10. Swabby – I’m not afraid of my own house either.

    dearieme – Jesus didn’t say a lot of things. For some reason, LGBTQIAWTF+ apparently wasn’t a controversial topic in first century Palestine.

    He did tell us that he came to fulfill the law and the prophets, mind. The law and prophets couldn’t be clearer about buggery – don’t do it.

    Re: cloaks and swords. Absolutely correct, Christianity is not, and never has been, a religion of peace. It’s a fighting faith for men of courage and self-discipline. If it were not so, we’d all be speaking Arabic or something.

  11. The sooner everyone realises there is no god or gods, the sooner we can work out how best to live our lives.

  12. Dearieme, the biblical teaching is to kill homosexuals.

    Leviticus 20:13

    If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    Nice.

  13. Tim, this is the same as yesterday’s piece about trans-folk in sport. These people don’t want to go off and start their own institution from the ground up; they want the existing institutions to dance to their tune. It’s the long march through the institutions. Not only will they have captured your institutions, they’ll set up rules preventing you from setting up your own heterosexuals-only church / women-only sport / WASPs-only golf club / intellectuals-only university / gammon-only political party / etc.

  14. @ Andrew M
    Thirty-odd years ago a couple of friends of mine used to frequently attend a “Gay Christian” congregation in London.
    The couple in the Grauniad are just troublemakers. It isn’t necessary for them to go off and start their own institution from the ground up as it has existed for dozens of years.
    My friends used also to fairly frequently attend mainstream churches (separately because one was “High Church” and one was “Low Church” so they went to different ones). They didn’t want to stop the majority maintaining their own preferences as to Theology but I don’t think they read “The Guardian”.

  15. Andrew M
    Agreed
    Part of it is wanting to destroy what exists. A BIG part of it.
    Part of it is to avoid the difficulties of setting up a new structure from scratch. Stealing the credibility, finances, membership and status of the existing organization is much easier.

  16. In my (albeit limited) experience. Teh gayers tend to like Anglicanism ( and its American counterpart) as it has nice music and lots of dressing up, without the inherent guilt complex that papists have to have. All the other Protestant churches are a bit dull by comparison.

    Religion is a personal thing, as long as one can put with regular reminders of what happens to Sodomites in Hell and that it says in the Prayer Book that marriage is between a man and a woman, then there’s nothing stopping LGBTQetc attending services, is there ?

  17. “the biblical teaching is to kill homosexuals”: OK, but don’t Christians claim that the NT replaced the OT as a covenant with God? Or all three thirds of God. Whatever.

    ‘He did tell us that he came to fulfil the law and the prophets, mind.’ Good point, though I’d expect an Anglican Archbishop to be able to argue his way around that one, if so moved. I mean, he presumably feels no need to dash out and perform genocides, does he? Or stone adulterers? Or indulge in human sacrifice or sex slavery?

  18. we are excluded from all meaningful leadership positions

    I am not on the Board of the company I work for, nor am I in the Cabinet. I wouldn’t say I was “excluded form all meaningful leadership positions” on that basis, however, as that would involve a certain level of self-regard and paranoia I don’t possess.

  19. JS,
    It’s about power, nothing more. If you set up your own institution, you have no power (except over the handful of adherents you might manage to gather). Commandeer an existing church, and you can persuade millions that lesbianism is as valid a choice as Ready Brek. Get a national newspaper column, and persuade millions that socialism just hasn’t been tried hard enough. And so on.

  20. I’d expect an Anglican Archbishop to be able to argue his way around that one, if so moved

    Sure, but if they believe in God (big if), they probably shouldn’t expect the Big Fella to be impressed with undergrad debate society tricks. Contra the Talmud, I doubt the Creator of all space, matter, energy and time wants to ‘aggle.

    I mean, he presumably feels no need to dash out and perform genocides, does he? Or stone adulterers? Or indulge in human sacrifice or sex slavery?

    I’d settle for Making Witches Incandescent Again. James VI and John Knox did nothing wrong. I mean: Angela Merkel, really?

  21. I find that the gay crowd also massively simplify the churches position, there’s a difference between the sinner and the sin for a start. There’s plenty of Christian churches that are more liberal if they aren’t happy.
    As religious marriages still need the state marriage certificate to be legal I’m all for churches deciding who can and can’t have a ceremony as the ceremony is not the legal rights part anymore.

  22. @Steve

    3 x +1

    @john77 October 17, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    +1 round here there are High, Low, Matins, Sung Matins Churches and at least one LGBTxyz welcoming Church

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