"I say to you, forgive not seven times, but seventy-seven times" Matthew 18: 21-35

lgbtq inclusive: never an assured thing!

Today was meant to be a great Sunday… A day about Forgiveness, its main Theme in the passages of the Gospel of Matthew that so poignantly refer Humanity generally and Christianity more specifically to an inner introspection into how we apply the principles of Forgiveness and compassionate Mercy to everyday relations among us, supposedly echoing in real life what we recite in the Lord’s Prayer, when it comes to forgive others as we are forgiven, or expect to be forgiven by God.

As it turns out, my Sunday ended up a surprising one, although not in a great sort of way. I was humbly reminded that Christianity remains largely as homophobic and discriminatory as ever, still uses the same ghastly practices to find a way into pushing LGBTQ people aside, or at least raise non-issues to satisfy a sickening desire of condemning LGBTQ people, see LGBTQ agendas even where there aren’t any and just create the desired awkward atmosphere. Such are the “saints”, whose actions are fortunately limited to malevolent little actions, backdoor politics and other low hand methods to bring about a false House of God, where there are no sinners, except the greatest sinners of all, themselves; for it is thanks to this bad habit of self-righteousness, that churches are empty, people stay disenfranchised and generally, sadly, away from God.

LGBTQ and Christianity issues are so many and varied that they rarely fit in the limited space of an article, and even less in the brain of Internet readers, statistically only able to absorb written content the size of a petit-pois. The choices thus are limiting. If I write too much, nobody reads it and of those who read it, only a small handful will fully appreciate what is being said. If I write too little, the forced short format eliminates detail, making the text more blunt and direct than is intended to be. But short it will have to be. And what was said to me this morning is not really deserving of more, just the essentials will do nicely.

And so it happened that this morning was greeted with an interesting statement, which I transcribe in its entirety, because it saves me the hassle of conveying all the garble in the third person:

“Lewis why do you need to mention LGBT because this isn’t the place to bring your own agenda. Like me, it just winds people up, and they’ll not want to take part because of the politics and people’s different belief sets. I’m not homophobic and I try not to be judgemental but you can’t base a seminary on sexuality and gender because Lewis it will not work it just brings division .and arguments”.

I was startled initially… St. Catherine’s Seminary does not have anything biased towards an LGBTQ agenda… Any kind of agenda. It is neutral in fact, because it is based on a purely Academic Syllabus, the first of its kind within the OCAC, to focus solely on the fundamentals required for formation of ordinands.

Also – I wish to state this crystal clear – the site, design, page content, Syllabus and literally everything else was subject to verification and approval by the Presiding Bishop Patriarch of the OCAC, during each stage and again a final approval before going LIVE. Furthermore, the Presiding Bishop Patriarch of the OCAC has always had since the very beginning Administrator Powers and Rights of Access to the entire site and its contents. I know my Ethics. The Seminary does not belong to me, it belongs to the OCAC, I am simply a tool in God’s Shed, put to work for the benefit of God’s Kingdom. The simple role as a tool in God’s Shed fits me perfectly. I’d rather be in my Oratory, running the Canons Regular of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But if God’s will points me in a different direction from time to time, whom am I to say no?

I was also surprised because I report directly to the Presiding Bishop Patriarch, as that has always been the case, punctuated on occasion with dealings with the UK Vicar General. That is enough for me, I can’t report to a multitude of chiefs, when there is such a demand for working indians. Let’s face the facts folks. Resources are at a premium and have to be managed wisely.

Having said that, agendas do exist within the OCAC. The Ordination of Women is a well known agenda, mentioned almost daily, so I am not aware of the fact that “agendas” are not welcome somehow. Or at least an LGBTQ agenda is not welcome perhaps?… It is difficult to know because the OCAC at least officially, declares itself to be inclusive, regardless of sexuality, marital status, and so on. It says so on the Official Website Ordination and Incardination Page:

“The Church ordains both men and women to Holy Orders equally. It does not discriminate on the grounds of sexuality or marital status, and does not require celibacy from its clergy. It does not impose any upper limit for the age of ordinands. It affirms the ministry of people with disabilities”.

Could it be perhaps the Rainbow Ribbon on the corner of the Introduction Video? But why would that be an issue, if the Rainbow Ribbon basically summarises in one image, what is already said in the Official Website quoted above? It is true that this matter was discussed previously, but only because being inclusive, the OCAC does not single out any one group. But that is not what is being said in the message received this morning.

It appears “it” (ie the purportedly existing LGBTQ “agenda”) winds people up. Who?… Where?… How?… At least I don’t need to ask Why. I know fine well Why! It is not because the said wound up people do not wish to take part. It is because homophobia is present. Are people who push for Women’s Ordination also advised their alleged “agenda” winds-up people who only want men in Holy Orders?…

Is this all about the Bible and the literal – and misinformed! – interpretation of Biblical Scripture, that wound-up people remain presumably anti-LGBTQ?… Yes! I know! Leviticus says men sleeping with men is an abomination and they should be put to death. Does that lead people to treat LGBTQ people as if they were mongrels? Leviticus (25: 44) also says that owning slaves and buying male or female slaves is totally okay. Shall we just proceed with revoking abolition of slavery on account of that then? There are around 400 references to Slavery in the Bible, of which 90% are accepting of Slavery in one form or another… Should that serve as an excuse to conclude Slavery should have never been abolished in the first place? How wrong would that be?… Well, at least as wrong as it is to use the Bible to persecute LGBTQ people!!!

I mean… Is Christianity so devoid of a minimal sense of wisdom, that it reads literally when it is convenient, and then reads with a pinch of salt, when it suits?!… Where exactly is the Christianity in that? I read pure hypocrisy. Sorry but I do. It sounds like the Pharisees blurting stuff to Jesus, according to their prejudiced conveniences. Not good, is it?

The bit I like the most though, because it is such a well known classic of underlying homophobia, is this:

“I am not homophobic… but…”

Yes… I am not gay either! My boyfriend is! There are only two states in this discussion. One either IS or ISN’T. Just as there is no such thing as “I’m not racist, but”. Or “I’m not xenophobic, but”. There is no intermediate stage in this. If the OCAC is indeed inclusive, then mentioning LGBTQ should really not be a problem, as there is no problem in mentioning Holy Orders for women, pretty much on a daily basis. It is virtually impossible to say “I am not against Women’s Ordinations… but”. But what, exactly? Does it wind up people because they would not be able to dedicate as much time to housekeeping?!… What century are we in?… The FIRST CENTURY?!

A Roman Catholic Priest friend of mine elsewhere summarised the LGBTQ issue beautifully: “When it comes to LGBTQ, the Mother of Fools is always pregnant”. Sadly, it is true. There is never any peace for LGBTQ people in Church, ANY church. It is a permanent hassle. Which explains why tending to LGBTQ people is part of my Ministry. And I will never abandon them, in this Church or any other Church for that matter.

Let me put this to everyone clearly and publicly, for avoidance of doubt. To be LGBTQ is not a matter of choice, or lifestyle option, as being straight (heterossexual) is not an option either. A person is either LGBT or straight, as imprinted in the very core of their unique Being Human. If it was true that these things are somehow a matter of choice, we would find straight people who suddenly decided to become gay, and gay people deciding to become straight, without any further issues attached. But that is just NOT true to the facts. Straight people never turn gay. Why should they? They are not gay! LGBT people never turn straight either. And when such attempts are made, the results are disastrous, as they would be equally disastrous if we tried to turn a straight person into becoming LGBT.

Focusing on Jesus, there is something remarkable in all of this… In all FOUR GOSPELS, there isn’t a single instance where Jesus condemned same-sex-attraction and love. Yes, I understand the Gospels are not a Treatise in Moral Theology, but that did not stop Jesus from issuing clear moral guidance in regards to Divorce for example. Which, by comparison, adds considerable weight to the fact of Jesus non-issue with same sex attraction. Perhaps Jesus knew better, as I suspect He did, when he mentioned in Matthew 19: 11-12, regarding the Eunuchs, that some were “born that way”… Given the fact that penile agenesis occurs only ONCE in every SIX MILLION male births, I think it is quite safe to conclude that Jesus was referring in fact to gay men, which many Eunuchs were indeed, anyway.

But these arguments will never be mentioned by the bigots and homophobes gracing our Christian churches. For them, it will always be a matter of reading Sacred Scripture, shaped to their intense hatred of people who are slightly different, through no fault of their own.

I love Jesus. During Last Supper, John rested his head on Jesus’ chest. Jesus did not push him away. So I wonder why some so-called “Christians” arrogate themselves the right to override Love with hateful bigotry, homophobia and discrimination. I long and hope for God’s Kingdom. Humanity for the most part is a terrible disappointment. If churches are indeed intent on being somewhat of a representation of God’s Kingdom on Earth, they are doing a very poor job of it. They are forgiven. All must be forgiven. LGBTQ people are better than their detractors and persecutors. May God bless them and bring them to His Son, so they also may place their heads on Jesus’ chest and say “My Lord and My Saviour”.