Monday, May 19, 2014

Thank God I live in a Post-Christian Country

Church people, including my own vicar, wring their hands that the church no longer has the influence it had in the past.  I am very thankful.

The Church has always opposed any move to make life easier for LGBT people. The Liberalisation of consenting sex between males in the 80’s and same-sex marriage last year were passed in parliament despite the opposition of the churches.
I know that not all church members were involved but very few had the guts to stand up and say so.

Back in 2006 the then Bishop of Dunedin, George Connor, was willing to ordain a gay partnered man, Juan Kinnear, despite opposition from both within and without the diocese.  I never met him but congratulate him.  He did not wait for the Province to be of one mind and despite a few protestors, the world did not fall in.  He was not even taken to church courts.  The present bishop, at that time archdeacon,  believed it was right in principle but also believed it should not go ahead until the Province allowed it.  That is still his view today.  He continues to license Juan, and others in similar circumstances but no names no pack drill, but will not ordain such a person.

He says he shed tears of joy at the bill passed by the General Synod of Aotearoa/New Zealand this week, I do not know why.  Any tears I had were of frustration.

The discussion of the Me Whea report was put down for Monday.  It was extended to Tuesday and then a small (9, 3 from each house) committee was chosen to fine tune the bill to which all agreed on Wednesday.  The discussions were all in private but I had some hope that there might be something worthwhile, better than Option J which is what I expected all along.

I was mistaken. They have apologised for the past but changed nothing. They might as well have said: "Sorry you have had to sit down the back of the bus in the past but just stay there 2 or 4 or more years and we might possibly find a seat a bit nearer the front".

A committee will be formed to develop a liturgy for blessing of same-sex partnerships which will be discussed in 2016 and sent to diocesan synods to come back in 2018 and then something MIGHT be achieved.

I do not expect marriages to be performed. I do not actually believe churches should be in the marriage business. As in France, marriages should be done by the state then those who wish can have a church blessing. I think the last wedding I attended was in the late 1970’s. I have never really appreciated flaunting of heterosexuality.

We all know some churches, not in Dunedin to my knowledge, have carried out same-sex blessings. There is already a liturgy, of course not official.

This bill says same sex marriages cannot be blessed but can be acknowledged if the local vicar wants as long as it is authorised by the bishop and the vestry.

I like what Bro David wrote in a comment on Liturgy.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today among the announcements to recognize that so-and-so and this other so-and-so were united in state sanctioned civil matrimony the other day in the presence of family, friends and just about everyone here, at the local rental hall around the corner and down the street. A good time was had by all!”

We have to find some humour in the whole tragic situation.

As I expected, and despite the measly concessions, the main comments have come from the conservatives, those Apostles of Hate.  They will never be happy unless the State reimposes jail sentences, perhaps even a flogging or 2.  I know from experience they preferred I went somewhere else or, even if I stayed, removed me from the reader list.

Rev Zane Elliott commented on Bishop Kelvin’s blog.  He has long been a major apostle of Hate.  He astounded many in the diocese with his vitriol a year or so ago,  At the time he was an assistant priest at St Matthew’s Dunedin. I have discovered he is now an army chaplain in the Diocese of Christchurch. Poor army. I wonder how he lives with the fact that the NZ Army has topped a new global index ranking armed forces for inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexuals and transgender soldiers.
That vile creature probably wants to change this.

By chance I saw the vicar of St Matthews, Archdeacon Stu Crosson, in the same coffee shop as me on Thursday. I felt like pouring my cappuchino over him but that would have been a waste of good coffee.

I knew about St Matthews  before I moved here, they staged a protest at the ordination of Juan Kinnear.  I have since learnt about St Mark’s Balclutha and St Luke’s Mosgiel.  I have heard them called the unholy trinity.

Unlike in Sydney where I had to travel 80 km to find a welcoming Anglican church, the good people of St Matthews can go an extra km or so. Our parish register lists 9 families from Mosgiel although it is 16 km away. I use to wonder why.  Even the poor people of Balclutha can go 25 km to Milton.

Bishop Kelvin let slip "our church was headed for a split, no question about it. I am told that some in our province have already been eyeing up new real estate."

I would be pretty sure it would be one or more of the unholy trinity. At least they do not want to take the silver like those in the USA.
Of course his view has to be different to mine which is “Go and Good riddance”.
The Episcopal Church seems to have weathered the storm and now attracts many from Roman Catholic and other illiberal churches.

In reply to my comment Kelvin wrote:

You are a child of God with an absolutely equal right to your place in the church. If that place involves marriage or ordination, sadly, it will be some time before we can shift the church to where we believe the Holy Spirit will eventually move it. Yes, that time may be too late for you. It will be probably too late for me, also, but it is coming, and it is coming as fast as we can possibly make it.

After much struggle, I came to the belief in the early 80’s that God loved me as he created me.  I do not even need to go to church to know that.  For some unexplainable reasoning I feel the need for regular attendance at communion so will not follow my gut feeling to steer clear of church altogether. My concern is for unchurched LGBT people today. I would never encourage a young person to go to church today. If they are gay that way lies misery.  I do not support church evangelisation but do support social welfare.

I find much more support amongst the other social groups with whom I mix.  They are straight, mostly over 60, but completely accepting.  Of course, most of them never go near church so are not tainted.

I am going to leave my local parish but attend Eucharist at another church which is far more open in acceptance of LGBT people. It is 3 km further but that is hardly here nor there.

I am also looking forward to worshipping in the USA over the next 2 months.  I will have Sundays in Denver, Salt Lake City, Washington (the National Cathedral). On the other 3 Sundays I will be in national parks or travelling.

I wish we had a gutsy Episcopal church in New Zealand.

Comments (something happened and the post was deleted)
Leonardo Ricardo commented
"After much struggle, I came to the belief in the early 80’s that God loved me as he created me. I do not even need to go to church to know that. For some unexplainable reasoning I feel the need for regular attendance at communion so will not follow my gut feeling to steer clear of church altogether. My concern is for unchurched LGBT people today. I would never encourage a young person to go to church today. If they are gay that way lies misery. I do not support church evangelisation but do support social welfare." = Noble Wolf
Powerful, yes, it's true. Imagine ANYONE deciding anything about OUR morals (after all we have been through to sort our character and conduct out over the years and SURVIVE). The haters have just begun the path that leads to soul-self-searching then forgiveness (themselves and from others) 70 years old I no longer have patience for the yammerings and the silly press interviews of Justin Welby, ABC, or the cowardly posturing of the ARchbishop of York...both are caught in the confusion/time-warp of the continued exclusion of LGBTI at Church (no matter how rescrambled to look *welcoming* to ¨Gays¨). Tiresome lot...where have they been for lifetimes? (and what is with +Victoria Matthews?) 

Anonymous commented
I read your comments about St, Matthew's, St Mark's and St. Lukes with some interest, being that I'm a member of St. Mark's. If you really want to find out what we think, come down and meet us. It's really easy to demonise those who don't agree with you when you base your view on assumptions formed from a distance. The ball's in your court.

Cheers - Chris

My reply
I am hardly likely to drive an hour to Balclutha to worship. Friends who know more about the diocese have given me an idea of waht it is like. I moved 3000 km from Sydney to escape evangelical Anglicans. All Saints will suit me much better thank you.


Chris Spark (different Chris to the person mentioned in this post) said...

wow, as somneone who knows Zane, and has chatted to him about his feelings for all people (including those in the Army), and also as someone in one of 'those' conservative churches (
not in the Dunedin dio though) who knows and loves people in my church who are same sex attracted (even if they may not share your views about what that means for how they respond to this experience of attraction), I am astounded at what you have said here. I don't know the churches you mention, but hope and trust they would extend love and care in keeping with the gospel of repentance and faith of Jesus.
Love to you in him mate, who is the only one where real ultimate love is to be found, as far as this saved sinner can work out.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JCF said...

"I wish we had a gutsy Episcopal church in New Zealand."

It's not always gutsy (and then, only recently), but thanks for your acknowledgment, Brian. If you make it to Northern California ("national parks": Yosemite, perhaps?), would love to welcome you personally to St Michael's, Carmichael (greater Sacramento).