Pub Theo happened again last night, although the conversation never got on to what we planned to talk about. The initial question was asking something along the lines of ‘what do the recent calls for prayer surrounding Muamba and his cardiac arrest say, if anything, about our nation?’
Instead … the hot topic due to the news and quite a long conversation on my sons facebook page (now at 122 comments) was that of gay marriage and the effort being placed by some churches in the signing of the coalition for marriage page to ‘protect’ the traditional view of marriage.
The conversation was pretty one sided last night …. as a number of the conversations I have sat in on seem to be around this topic over the last few weeks. To be honest, I have been surprised how there is a much wider acceptance of gay marriage in parts of the Christian world where I had assumed the traditional view would have been held. I don’t know what this is saying, if anything, about the general view of people or whether this could be seen as a moving of the Holy Spirit or even whether we are drifting into liberalism … but we are in interesting times and this is a hot topic!
One of the frustrations voiced last night, and in 2 or 3 other conversations I have had over the last few weeks, was that a section of Christians were heavily advocating one view as the only biblical view, when in actual fact we know there are Christians, both young and mature, well known and anonymous, on both sides of the discussion. There are Christians that disagree with gay marriage. There are Christians that agree with gay marriage. Is one right and one wrong, both right, or both wrong?
I was struck by these words in guidance to the Methodist church regarding the coalition for marriage petition: The Methodist Church itself is not a sponsor of the campaign or the petition. This is primarily because we believe that the best way to engage with the proposals is through a reasoned response to the consultation. There are also concerns that some of the views evoked by the campaign do not affirm “the participation and ministry of lesbians and gay men in the Church” (statement on Human Sexuality, 1993). As such, for some people, this will be a contentious petition, even though many Christians will choose to support it.
So … whatever our view, it is important, I think, to look at both sides of the issue, engage and discuss and try to make some choice after than engagement and discussion, and so I attempt to give some links below to outline both sides:
We have there four very well known Christian leaders and amongst them sitting on both sides of the discussion. I am sorry I have chosen 4 men, but I have not been able to find views from others reported so easily online.
I hope my choice of interviews and post tries to give a balanced view to help people that come here to consider both sides of this issue. I have my view … but I respect the view of others who disagree with me. I think as ‘church’ we can disagree, hold differing opinions in tension, and continue our Christian faith journey’s together. What I am very wary of is if either side of this view tries to impose their opinion on the other side or, worse still, questions the faith of those who express a different opinion.
We don’t all have to believe exactly the same …. when we can live together in that tension I think that gives a pretty powerful message to the world.