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.