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RESPONSE 2

I’ve received some nasty letters in my life, but I must say that this last week takes the cake. For the first time I have rejected some of the retorts because their level of personal invective and incivility I deemed inappropriate for public consumption.

I do not resent honest and reasoned criticism. Far from it. I learn from such criticism.

I do not for a moment believe that these writers represent accurately the feelings and beliefs of the gay and lesbian community anymore than I believe that some of the more purple prose from the anti-gay lobby represents the true beliefs of traditionalists.

Of course there should be no “anti” lobbies. Nor, if we take the example of Christ, may we as Christians, in pursuit of our mutual vocation, resent the way of the Cross. It is in dying that we live. If we can’t embrace this basic vocation, as a church, as liberals or conservatives, what hope have we to bring in justice and peace in the world? How dare we lecture Israelis or Palestinians, Iraqis, the Irish for their factional wars and divisions, for their putting their own tribal needs before unity and concord, if we as a church divide? The Archbishop of Canterbury is not being weak when he fears we will come apart. He fears, rightly so, that the work of Christ and the witness of the Faith will be torn apart by our ranting and raving, self-love and self service. “See how these Christians love one another.”

One Response

  1. Don’t take it personally; whatever you say if you take a stand anywhere will offend someone on the left or on the right.

    In a sense you are right, of course: homosexuals in some provinces of the Anglican Communion are standing up to be counted as such, and if they had not done so, there would be no problem like the one the Communion has.

    And you might well be right to ask what has changed–why now? What does it mean and portend? I do not know.

    But I have a theory: the notion of blessing gay unions is a red herring. It is not “the main thing” but an after-effect or a ripple in a much larger pool. For in the notion of a blessed gay union is still the idea of permanent exclusivity, and it is that idea which our culture is increasingly hostile to wherever it takes form.

    It may well be that permanent, exclusive unions of any type–gay or straight–are less and less on the agenda, and will come to seem more and more unintelligible.

    There may come a day soon when the church finds itself having to justify the idea of a permanent, exclusive union to a growing body of people young and old simply uninterested in such a thing.

    And what will we say if it came to that?

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