They've done it again. Those busy bees at the centre of my denomination, the Church of England, have published another document that underlines their understanding of marriage:
And reading it it makes me angry, and sad, and more anger, then a little despair, pushed aside by rage, and levelling out at somewhere between livid and seething.
Theirs is not a faith I recognise. They seem a stubborn child, who has gone via it's own convoluted logic to come to a conclusion, and refuses to listen to actual reason when it's pointed out that they've made a mistake or twenty, by those with more experience and understanding, refuses to see how they're just simply wrong; instead, sticking with their viewpoint on the principle that of course they're right, if they've been right up to now, how can they be wrong?
What are we, CATHOLICS??
Sorry, I don't mean any disrespect to the Catholic church and community, but a fundamental difference between Catholic and Protestant thinking - and however some parishes use incense and Latin, the CofE is still philosophically Protestant - is that Protestants left behind the belief that the Church never got things wrong. Protestantism accepts that the Church is a fallible institution, like anything human, and therefore accepts that the Church is perfectly within it's nature to change it's blinkin' mind.
This document reads like it was written by a medieval arsehole. They have no concept of what humanity actually is! Humanity is an infinite collection of combinations - sexuality is on a sliding scale, gender is on a sliding scale. I mean "persons are not asexual, but are either male or female" is just so outdated, it's embarrassing. Like so often when dealing with the church, this makes us cry out yet again for modernisation - get with the times, our understanding of what the human condition is is not longer the constricted, binary concept of yester-century that you guys seem to be working off. Get out in the fresh air guys, muck around with us grunts and you'll see, a) your categories are way off the mark and b) sometimes it isn't possible to define all the aspects of a person and c) you don't HAVE to define everything. They even state "The Church guards a common traditional understanding of marriage as a human, not only a religious act." Then guard the understanding that humanity is complicated, so marriage is not a set-in-stone, just-one-option thing, why don't you?
I'm going to get religious now. You have been warned.
God made a vastly complex universe. At least you've acknowledged that, Church of England. Yet God is vastly more complex. And a person is made in God's image ie just as complex; we don't understand God, so why would we be able to pin down that which is made in Her image?? The arrogance of thinking that the people of this planet are as easily confined to a 'proper ordering' of two boxes is astonishing.
To glory in God, to love His creation, to see the divine in all things and relish in the splendour of creation so that we can be the best that God made us to be, means to accept that an individual's gender, sex, and sexuality are separate things, to accept that God purposefully made an individual whatever combination of gender, sex, and sexuality they might be - the combination nor the components are not a mistake, something to be fixed, or anything wrong - and to accept that an individual may not be able to figure out who they are and what God means for them to be, and you have no right or authority to decide that they have only two options; accept that they may change their minds, several times, while figuring it out. And accept that this is natural, it is human, to be a minority and different to what is usual is in NO WAY unnatural, or wrong, or something to aspire against.
I am angry at the arrogance. I am angry at the stubbornness. I am angry at the illogical, unreasonable, and downright out-of-touch thinking. I am outraged at the clinging to words from Genesis, literal acceptance of an ignorant and bigoted understanding of humanity written by people with over two thousand years less experience, knowledge and understanding than the people sitting in the pews every Sunday right now. Listen to the people in the pews! Listen to the people visiting the church, to the people on the street, the people next door, people in every corner of humanity.
I agree that marriage is important; in fact, I agree with a lot of this document, but the thing is, anything you say about marriage, including most things about parenthood, is entirely applicable to any marriage, whatever the combination of gender there is between the two parties. Marriage is about complementarity, but two people complement each other, it's not the complementarity of gender that creates the bond of marriage.
And I agree that "marriage is a form of committed Christian discipleship for those who understand their own love as part of God’s love towards the world" - direct from the document, and yet, they cannot see the hypocrisy of not including some people and their love as a form of committed Christian discipleship, when Christian discipleship is grounded in an open arms policy, and the obligation to not exclude anyone. It's sickening.
So ultimately, same-sex marriage is a legitimate, natural, and divine state of two people. So why refuse same-sex weddings? That's all the church has to do. The church isn't involved in marriage - that's between the spouses and God. The church's part is the wedding, a celebration and commitment ceremony, not some vehicle for binary, blinkered meddling. Sure, we'll probably have to continue to change attitudes so that the church can give "pastoral help to those who seek to engage with the challenges of life responsibly" to same-sex married couples too, but that's the next battle. We don't need that yet. For now,
stop being stupid.