I mentioned in a previous post that the Sahara harmattan dust is affecting us here, and how it is a reminder that we’re all connected. And that is of course true of the church – maybe, especially true of the church, because of our claim to be ‘one’.
However, this belief has come home to roost, with the advent of gay weddings and all the associated ballyhoo.
We’ve all been so obsessed – well, OK, the media is obsessed – with the Anglican church in this country and its reaction to gay marriage, that we frequently lose sight of our ‘oneness’ and its meaning. What happens in one part of the church, affects the rest worldwide.
When I talk about the Anglican church, I’m not talking just about the million-odd in this little island of ours. There are roughly 77 million Anglicans world-wide, which makes us here in Britain a very tiny part of that. And we have to listen to the rest of ‘the body’, instead of just listening to ourselves here and to the people immediately around us.
The law approving gay marriage has had very far-reaching effects. As Archbishop Justin has said this week, he has very recently visited a mass grave in southern Sudan where 369 Christians are buried.
They had been killed by local people, who believe that being a Christian encourages homosexuality which is illegal in their country. They connect Christianity with us in the west, and what we do.
Here in UK we are astonished and appalled at this ignorance. Nonetheless, this is happening. What we decide here affects fellow Christians throughout the world. Our decisions can put them in danger of their lives. They look at us, and believe that we are a ‘Christian’ country, and that being English means we are automatically cultural Christians and we are approving something which appals and disgusts them.
At the same time, gay people here have been discriminated against for far too long, and have suffered too.
Sometimes the answers are not simple.