Monday, January 21, 2008

A homophobic institution

"An institution that discriminates against homosexuals is without moral credibility"

Here's an interesting article from Saturday's Guardian about the decline of liberalism in the Church of England. It's an assessment that I have some sympathy with. I left the Church of England at least partially because I believed it was institutionally homophobic and I was pessimistic about the possibility of that changing any time soon. I think I can more fully live out my calling and fight against homophobia away from an institutionally homophobic church.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Me and Jesus: Episode 9

I went to see my mentor yesterday and the sitting on the train I managed to get a lot of reading done. I finished 'Take this Bread' by Sara Miles and I've also been reading 'Christian Voices in Unitarian Universalism' for the third time, hungry for those stories of struggle that speak to my condition.

(As an aside, my only criticism of the Sara Miles book is that the cover describes her as a 'lesbian' when in the book she openly says she has had relationships with men as well as women. Again we see the relunctance for anyone to use the word 'bisexual.' To be fair I don't think she labels herself any way in the book)

Anyway there were a few passages that really spoke to me yesterday.

Erik Walker Wikstrom captures why I still have this weird relationship with God, when the existence of God doesn't really make sense to me intellectually:
'I became aware of experiences - direct, personal experiences - that I could not fit into my hand-built theology. An impersonal force does not love, yet I felt loved. It does not call you into relationship, yet I felt such an invitation... None of this made sense to my well worked-out life philosophy, yet none of it could be denied either.'

Carol Stamatakis describes for me the feeling I have that there's much to be gained spiritually by wrestling with a particular spiritual tradition:
'I respected other spiritual paths, but I was most likely to achieve spiritual growth by choosing and following one path with deligence and an open heart and mind.'

And finally Sara Miles describes the place I have come to, where I feel the need to move beyond mere intellectual investigation and to submit to the power of God:
'Christianity wasn't an argument I could win, or even resolve. It wasn't a thesis. It was a mystery that I was finally willing to swallow.
I was loved by a big love. In the midst of suffering, of hunger, even of death. Alleluia. What was, finally, so hard about accepting that?'

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Is it time for British Unitarians to support same sex marriage?

A couple of months ago I wrote a piece in the Inquirer about same-sex marriage. My point was that the current civil partnership legislation creates a two-tier system that when you get right down to it, isn't equality. One of the major rights that are given to different sex couples, the right to get married in a religious ceremony, is not given to same sex couples. A civil partnership ceremony has to be in a registry office or hotel, whereas a different sex wedding can take place in a church. This means that a religious community is prevented by the state from performing same sex weddings, even if they want to. It creates the impression that all religious communities are conservative and homophobic and don't want to perform same sex marriages, denying the possiblity that some religious communities will want to perform same sex weddings.

I support same-sex marriage, not a two-tier system, although it's difficult to say civil partnerships are a bad thing as they have given legally security to thousands of couples and are clearly a step forward.

As I was hoping there is talk of a resolution at the Annual Meetings in March. The resolution I have seen calls for the right for civil partnerships to be performed in a religious place of worship, which again, is a step forward, but it falls short of calling for same sex marriage. I'm also not knowledgable enough about the legislation to know if it's possible or practical to amend it in this way. Not that I believe the government will pay attention to us if we just pass a resolution. But I'm glad that the national Unitarian community will have this dialogue. And I hope it will be possible to build coalitions to get this message out there. It would be good to get a progressive religious voice out for once. We'll see.

This made me cry

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Achievements of 2007, aims for 2008

Last year I wrote that my aims for 2007 were to get a relationship, to learn to drive, and to get spiritual director.

To update you: I am in a relationship now, I am learning to drive, and I still haven't got spiritual director.

So for 2008 I need to:

Pass my driving test.
Get a spiritual director.
And get a job, like being a proper minister and thing.