Wednesday was a clergy day for us. Our bishop and his wife gave a presentation on their time at Lambeth. It was interesting but didn't offer many new insights that hadn't already been discussed on the internet.
Toward the end there was a time for questions. Of course the same-sex issue came up (almost exclusively so). A comment was once again made about people dying in other countries because of the west's support for full inclusion. My response to that is that there are people in the west who suffering and dying because the Church does not speak out strongly enough for full inclusion. It has not done any where near the work necessary to bring about acceptance. My more conservative colleagues will tell us that is not the individual but the actions of which they disapprove. But yet, they do not speak for justice and compassion for the individual. The words they use and the images they provoke are ones that continue hostility and non-acceptance.
Yes, we need to be concerned about deaths in other countries - but let us not forget that some of the very people that speak about those deaths are also not speaking against the deaths of GLBTTs in their countries legal systems or from outside it. How many deaths would be prevented if they would speak out for love and acceptance? Yes, deaths are wrong (and it is horrific to think that something we are doing might be causing those deaths) - but so is standing by and doing nothing. The only way to ensure those deaths do not occur is to bring about change and acceptance on a world level and that means starting in our own countries to set the example.
Yes, those deaths are tragic but so is moving backward and forcing our friends back into the closet, back into a time with little rights. That in itself is death. Our friends have just as much claim to the abundant life promised in John 10:10b and in all the gospel. Stopping now is not going to bring about that life. So yes, my heart and prayers go out to those who may die because I, a simple rural Anglican priest, support the full inclusion of GLBTTs and I truly pray that my support does not bring about a single death - but to do nothing means that no progress will happen and other people will die - either by their own hands, or the hands of others, or through the lack of life by the denial of who they are as beloved children of God.
So, while we need to listen, we cannot be ruled by the actions of those who use violence to prevent change. Instead we need to continue to speak and educate so that eventually all may have life and live it without fear or guilt. For the Anglican Church of Canada to keep the staus quo or to move backward will not bring about life for either those Christians in other lands or for our GLBTT brothers and sisters here. It may be that we need to speak further a field to bring Jesus message of abundant life to all.
Love and Prayers,