Friday, 11 March 2011

Fight the Good Fight?

Was talking to a friend from the east today, a Church of Scotland minister, who just so happens to be gay and in a same-sex relationship. He and I know each other well, and speak often, although at the moment there is a lot of angst about the forthcoming General Assembly and the position he may find himself in shortly. A Church that is rejecting him and his ministry, however beautiful and effective that ministry might be.

We had a laugh about the recent blog stuff over gender issues, he agrees with where I stand and what I'm saying,  after all it's only my opinion, but then we got serious. I think we got serious because we love the Church and share a common concern about the way things are at the moment.

There are so many individuals, loud people, opinionated people who know they are right, people with a sword in hand, people, sometimes with great chips on their shoulders, who want to fight the fight. LGBT issues? Bring them on! Gender equality, bring it on! Let's fight to the death for the freedom, or the crucifixion, of brothers and sisters in Christ. (Whether it is to be freedom or crucifixion depends on your standpoint). The Church today is being seen as a Church which has big issues. Issues over sexuality and gender imbalance. We are getting so upset by this that our Churches, our Communions are falling apart.

Meanwhile, the outside world looks on and thinks, "What the hell is that stuff all about?" "This Church is getting so screwed up with issues that don't bother us ordinary folk at all. We have already dealt with this stuff and it's not the most important thing in our wee lives"

Why is the Church not getting its knickers in a twist about cuts to services, unemployment, abandonment of the poor, the indifference towards the folk on the edges of our communities, those in debt, those in the throes of addiction and their kids? Why are we not angry about poverty and starvation in Africa or elsewhere? Why are we not campaigning that bankers are being allowed to do it all again?

Why are we not angry that our town centres are being decimated, that the rich are getting richer and we are NOT all in this together? Why are we not fizzin' about kids stuck on metadone programmes with little chance of getting into treatment centres?

Because we're too busy arguing about how many women Bishops or Canons we have, or who somebody goes to bed with.

And Jesus wept.


ali said...

couldnt agree more Kenny - and i think I've said the same on my blog in pretty much the same anger at the same situations, a year or 2 ago. the sooner we stop beating each other up and start loving the world, the better.

Fr Kenny said...

The loud and the opinionated who think the Church's salvation somehow rests in their hands, from either camp, will not reply to this anyway!

Or maybe Anon will turn up again!

Janet Mac said...

So right Kenny. Some people are allowing their prejudices to destroy any feelings of Christianity or goodness. What's missing from them is empathy. They only feel fulfilled when they can seek out someone to belittle. It's the hallmark of insecurity. Often the person they love least is...themselves. I feel that they leave God behind in the church on a Sunday. Wonder how often we would find them with a charity collection can or helping out at a home for the elderly. Matthew 7 - 16.

renzmqt said...

Father K, you seem to be directing your ire at members of oppressed minorities, telling them to shut up and sit down, that there are more pressing issues to focus on.

I was mildly sympathetic to your point earlier. For the moment I am no longer. For the moment you sound like a typical insecure privileged white male heterosexual, using the troubles of the world as an excuse to silence dissent.

Perhaps this is not your intention, but to this queer Yank, that is how you sound.

Fr Kenny said...

I am indeed a white male heterosexual. I still say that the Church should be more concerned with poverty issues. I support your stance, but it's suddenly become the be all and end all issue in today's Church.

In my ministry when I sit in the midst of poverty and addiction issues my people don't give a damn whether I'm queer or male.

They simply need Jesus.

Morag said...

As a Christian sitting in the congregation on a Sunday, I personally don't care about the sex or sexual orientation of the clergyperson in charge. What I care about is how much of Christ they show me in their teaching and behaviour.

My worries at the moment are not about how many male vs female clergy there are or what their sexual orientation is. My concerns are more about the serious problems of a friend that were brought on by drug addiction, how her family and the many thousands in similar situations are coping with these types of problems and what the church can do to help them!

renzmqt said...

Jesus said that the poor will always be with us (and over here they are making sure it will be in abundance). I think we are coming at this from different views that are not exactly contradictory. From your position of white, heterosexual male privilege, you find the energy spent on gender equality or GLBT issues is "too much" and feel it is taking away from the true work of the church, yet these are also social justice issues.You reveal in your posts and responses your near complete lack of understanding for how it feels to be an oppressed minority - to live in a world where you are powerless and invisible or visible as the other and actively persecuted. You are typical in your attitude that all is well so stop your whining. Heck, plenty of white folk here think racism is all behind us. I'm sure there folks who try your patience, but don't discredit their passion - it's not like they're spending time arguing about the color of the curtains. The church's mission shouldn't be a limited pie, divided up over key justice issues, and now theres no pie left. It should be limitless. So, Kenny, how will you ensure that poverty issues are properly addressed this year? Use your passion for this, let others work in ways that they feel they are called. I don't see any openly gay bishops over there yet, I don't see queer married priests welcomed, theres plenty of work to be done on many fronts. Peace.