“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
I’m still a Christian despite homophobia.
I think of the URC as a liberal denomination, so it saddens me to acknowledge that in England and Wales, relatively few of our churches are registered to conduct same-sex marriages, very few are registered as Inclusive (Poverty, Gender, Disability, Mental Health, Ethnicity AND Sexuality), only a handful (5 – that’s 0.4% for people who like stats – you are loved by God too) host Open Table, and many would not consider calling a minister in a same-sex marriage. We don’t have an Assembly policy on accepting LGBT people or ministers. We decided to hold the many different views on human sexuality which means ‘traditional’ or ‘evangelical’ people feel the church is too liberal and not following what the Bible says, and LGBT people are still discriminated against, made to not feel welcome, and sometimes (as ministers at least) refused entry.
Open Table was established precisely because faith groups and churches can so often be cold or hostile towards the LGBT community, and this can leave us feeling isolated; when through the love of Christ, we should be affirmed as worthy of love, welcome and belonging.
We generally, do not read every verse of the Bible literally anymore (unless you wish to stone adulterers, keep slaves, and bash babies’ heads against rocks), so why do some take the verses about homosexuality literally and out of context? To my mind, there is only one interpretation, the commandment given by Jesus: “love your neighbour as yourself.”
There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female, there is no longer straight and gay, there is no longer, cis and trans, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
(And, for avoidance of any doubt, at the two churches where I minister, neither has any issue with my sexuality or marital status. One is registered as an Inclusive Church. Neither currently hosts Open Table)
We pray for the day when we will lose all the labels and love and accept everyone as made in Your image O God. The diversity You created, makes life wonderful. Help us to see that diversity as a gift, differences as glorious, that we can all hold our own views without hurting others. May we, like Jesus, share our meals with the sinners and outcasts, those despised by society and religious leaders, Amen
The Rev’d Naomi Young-Rodas, Minister of Christ Church Rayleigh and the Bridgwater Drive Church