I guess the Anglican Communion must be feeling fairly battered right now, as the “schism” widens over the Gene Robinson affair. He was consecrated as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. And as he had been open about being gay, it caused a big flap. Well, the story is well known. But Robinson has said at least one interesting thing about this controversy. He has said that in the Bible, loving sexual relationships between men, or between women, go unmentioned. So in his view, the Bible has not condemned these relations. An interesting take on things.
A quote from the press:- At the end of August, two U.S. priests were consecrated as Anglican bishops in Kenya, the latest in a string of priests who are defecting to African congregations because of the American Church’s liberal stance on gays. Quite a few American congregations have joined the Kenyan Church. In Kenya, homosexuality is illegal. Other congregations have found sanctuary with Nigerian, Ugandan and Rwandan bishops.
Some recent statistics on Rwanda:- The infant mortality rate is 1 in 10. 70% of the population exists below the poverty line. Life expectancy is 40 years for both sexes. In a population of 7.3 million there are 400,000 living with HIV/AIDS.
In other words, it’s yet another African nightmare. And yet some bishops in Rwanda apparently think that homosexuality is a major issue. I think not. Homosexuality should be a major issue for homosexuals, but a minor one for others. Rather along the lines of your mum’s and dad’s sex life………a major issue for them and their business.
In addition to homosexuality not constituting a major problem in Rwanda, it is not a great problem in the UK, unless you want to make it so. Bishops on the other hand can be a major problem, especially in developing countries where they argue against condom use.
Therefore I conclude that in this current controversy, the real problem lies with conservative congregations and their conservative priests. What’s their problem? I think they should try to solve it. Get help.
I am not sad about this, I am angry about it. But it IS sad for those involved. Those two lesbian friends of mine in Wales for example – devoted churchgoers and just good people, by any reasonable standard you care to apply. One of them is my second oldest friend in this world. A wonderful, wonderful woman. She wanted to become a priest herself, but the bishop does not allow it. And so I get angry, because when this whole issue has been gone through, all you are actually left with is the ruined lives of people who were just wanting a bit of love, like we all do.
And in writing this, I see that I have a problem too – anger, and what to do with it.