RADICAL INCLUSION .UK
please do not erase our lives, our love, and precious parts of who we are
'Life shrinks or expands, in proportion to one's courage'
THE HARM BEING DONE
Imposing a conservative 'status quo' on the whole Church of England is not just a matter of theological debate: it is people's lives, and it's causing grave harm now, today, and every day: to individuals, to the Church, and to people outside the Church who become alienated from the gospel.
The harm being done includes the following:
-> Telling gay and lesbian couples they should live in celibacy all their lives... defining their relationships as bad... and surrounding what is so precious and personal, with shame.
-> Causing gay and lesbian people psychological conflict, unable to reconcile who they are and how they naturally feel, with what the Church tells them is God's disapproving view of their sexuality. Worse still, a significant number will experience internalised shame.
-> The status quo is homophobic in effect, even where people deny it is their intent.
-> Gay and lesbian partnerships frequently don't get the open, public affirmation given to heterosexual ones - their intimate covenant with their life partner - reduced perhaps to hidden, almost furtive blessings, when really your church should be unashamed to 'come out' and openly affirm their love before everyone and, of course, before God.
-> In some churches gay and lesbian people may be questioned about their private lives in the context of baptisms, communion, or involvement in church tasks (such as youth leadership).
-> Gay and lesbian ordinands and priests who does not 'hide' their private lives may face sanction.
-> The teaching of the Church alienates people from opening to the Gospel.
-> Even Inclusive Churches, and inclusive priests, resort to the half-light of discreet, unpublicised blessings, for fear of sanctions and harm to their wider ministries.
-> Gay and lesbian people face abuse in their wider lives, that can flare up on the street, just because you are holding the hand of the person you trust and love. And the doctrine of the Church says 'Yes, that is perverted.' We live with socialised shaming of who we are, and compromised message and practices in the Church can impact on people because even compromise is the beginning of shame. Inclusion is not just 'being nice'... goodwill and welcome being extended on the Church's own terms... the actual practice of a church matters very much. There comes a point where churches decide they can no longer just do nothing, just ignore conscience, when they are part of a Church that is doing harm.
-> A final harm is what a local church community misses out on itself, because it is denied the opportunity: to open up, to grow, to expand experience and inclusion, to live it out. How good that feels when a church community dares to do that! In the end, there needs to be a time when priests, and PCCs, and church communities decide collectively to be the churches they know they have to be, to grow, to repudiate harm, and to do what they deeply recognise is right.
In all this, grace, love, and mercy.
Two parallel sites have been created:
radicalinclusion.uk - the site you are visiting right now - is the 'quick read' version if you are in a hurry
radicalinclusion.co.uk is the in-depth site for reading more deeply on any section and to reflect further
~ click on any of the links below for more detailed versions of the pages available here in quick-read form: