It was a simple question.
I gave a simple answer – “The same as anybody else,” I replied.
There was a question behind the question, however. As the topic of same-sex marriage rises to be the star turn at this weekend’s Australian Labor Party conference, anxious attention from both the anti and pro camps tests the waters for support. I have continued to maintain a mugwump’s perspective, described a few months ago here. I might elaborate further, however, and say that anybody within the sphere of our congregation’s influence who experiences discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation is entitled to our advocacy. No mugwumpery in that regard.
The unasked question, though, is “What will you do when a gay couple asks you to officiate over their union ceremony (whatever nomenclature is granted or not)?”
I will do as I have often done with those who have shared the uniqueness of their journeys through a variety of circumstances that cover the range of life’s disappointments, hopes, fears, and possibilities. Listen carefully (with the ears of the crucified and risen One) and respond accordingly. As with hetero couples, the result may be “Wait.” It may equally be, “Let us design a rite that honours before God where you find yourself to be.” I have no idea where that might lead. I do know that our congregation is mature enough and confident enough to hold such couples and individuals in their journey with respect, love and compassion -and, as with anyone, make room for them to become full participating members of the church community.
How do I know? I’ve see it happen before.
- PM under pressure over gay marriage push (news.smh.com.au)
- ALP delegates accept gay marriage petition (news.smh.com.au)
4 thoughts on ““How would gays get on in your church?””
Great answer – just what I would expect from you
Wendy – I knew you would approve! 😉
Being in the middle is a brave place to be. Well, at least I hope it is because that’s where I find myself. I appreciated your earlier post too.
It’s easy to be dragged along by the conservative Christian arguement but I am wary of simple solutions to life’s great questions. In Jesus we are called away from the ‘simplicity’ of obeying the law to a much more challenging, ‘love your neighbour’.
I don’t wish it on you too soon, but I’d be intrigued by whatever solution you arrive at.
The other question is a gay couple taking up a leadership role in the church?
Thanks Ian, don’t know about brave – temperamentally, I’m heavily into self-preservation! However, on matters of core faith value, especially Jesus’ love commandment, I (and I suspect you) will not budge. It leads us to see beyond the sexual or political or ideological orientation of another. We are so much more than the label that identifies us as belonging to a particular group. So gays seeking marriage or church leadership? Let’s remove ourselves from the heat of battle, spend some time talking and listening to each other, and see where our individual and collective stories lead us.