Monday, 15 February 2010
TV highlight of the week apart from Nurse Jackie was a religious/moral 'question time' which airs on a Sunday morning. Yes I realise most of you reading this are either in church or listening to the Archers omnibus but just think what you might be missing!
To be honest it can be quite depressing. For example this week the programme asked the question 'Why should the Anglican church stay together?' Ummmmm - it soon degenerated into a full scale battle between evangelical fundamentalists and what seemed to be the rest of the world on the issue of same sex realtionships. Even women Bishops had to fight to get a hearing with this group of people. The actual and vital question about unity within disagreement - which the world desparately needs to see modelled somewhere - was quickly dispsensed with as Reform types summarily consigned vast swathes of the population to hell whilst others, including a gay priest and even Anne Atkins, (not renowned for her liberal tendencies), sought to bring moderation and even Jesus somewhere into the melee. Ah well..... see how these..... etc etc You'd think on National TV some people might even think first about how others might view them - and how they might view themselves when they get home!
Where am I going with this? Met up with a dear and respected friend during the week. This guy who is a pastor from the Baptist tradition is firmly eveangelical, a committed charismatic, a bit of a Biblical theologian and a great expository preacher. But he reminds me every time we meet that whatever 'label', tradition or ecclesiology we might be committed to - it all has to be within the wide and open spaces of the Love and Kingdom of God come in Jesus.
He described a gay couple he had got to know and how for him it wasn't about judging them and seeking to change their lifestyle but asking 'what sort of church would we need to be to enable the love of God in Jesus to connect with people where they are - whatever their lifestyle, sexual orientation, addictive patterns, materialistic and secular worldview'. I like to be with people who really believe and are passionate about the truth that it is God who forgives, transforms lives, heals, judges and restores - if any person is open to that happening. Churches that leave God to work with whoever he chooses (even me) and in whatever way he chooses are communities that understand and live in Amazing Grace.