The book I wrote about in my last post reminded me that we (people with differing views within the church) have some similarities in how our every day theologies are shaped and in how we relate to one another…
…but we are not experiencing the debates about the place of queer people within the church from equal positions.
Quite often I have heard comments implying that the debate about queers in the church is characterised by two opposing groups, both equally extreme in their views, with ordinary people in the middle just wanting to get on with being the church.
We are not equal.
The current Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa NZ law denies congregations the right to call ministers who they are led to call. It denies people the right to follow God’s call and offer their gifts to the church as ministers and elders.
Those of us who oppose this rule are not telling other congregations that they have to call gay, lesbian or bisexual ministers. We’re not even telling them they can’t call homophobic ministers. We are just saying that we want the space to be able to call our own ministers, and to follow God’s call in our own lives.
There are people in the denomination who want a ban on ministers officiating at same-sex weddings.
Those of us who support same-sex marriage are not going to force any minister to marry a same-sex couple. We are asking for the space for ministers to be able to discern for themselves who they should marry… and for Presbyterians in same-sex relationships to be able to have their love affirmed and celebrated in a church ceremony led by a minister if that is what they want.
Some people are debating. Some of us are debated.
There are some of us who are at the heart of this debate. It’s not about abstract issues, it’s not about theology, it’s about us. Our lives. Our identities. Our right to be believed when we speak about the ways God is working in our lives. Our right to offer our gifts to our church. Our love. Our right to experience the gift of sexuality and the joy of a loving relationship.
As well as the “two extremes” line, there’s the “why do people have to keep bringing up this issue over and over? We just want to have a peaceful time at General Assembly…”
Some of us can’t stop bringing up this issue. It’s about our whole lives.