|Home > News Section|
Hey bishop, follow don't edit
|March 17, 2007|
Thank God for liberal clergyman. Because if they didn't exist we would have to make them up. The stuff of humour for generations, one of the most amusing of the gang is Michael Ingham, Anglican bishop of New Westminster in Greater Vancouver.
As his church dissolves into a fringe group on the margins of North American society, the bishop has issued a statement calling for, "a more positive approach to sexuality." Of course, when he speaks of being positive he really means doing anything in bed or out of it and telling God to mind His own business.
Which is fair enough if you don't believe in Him and in Jesus Christ. But if you do, your options are less flexible. It's really very simple. Christianity and non-Christianity are mutually exclusive. If you're not a Christian you can behave as you like. But if you are a Christian you are supposed to behave as a Christian.
It would be outrageous, for example, for Christians to try to redefine atheism and declare that it now meant believing in God and attending church. It doesn't. Nor does Christianity mean making things up as you go along about the faith. We're here to follow rather than edit.
Not the funny bishop though. "We must challenge the church's condemnations throughout the centuries of such things as masturbation, birth control, abortion, and homosexuality." When I was a boy we had a word for people who approved of masturbation. Mind you, I think we also had a word for people who couldn't think straight.
Perhaps we should also challenge the church's condemnation throughout the centuries of such things as poverty, cruelty, injustice and hatred. After all, those condemnations come from the same Bible, the same God, the same Jesus that necessitates the condemnation of sexual immorality.
Issues of sexuality are complex and demand compassion. But we can declare some absolutes. We are given sexuality both for pleasure and for procreation. To abuse it is little different from abusing strength or money. So just as we reject the bully or the loan shark we reject the person who uses sex only for selfish purposes.
To misunderstand this is to misunderstand human nature and divine love. Sex wouldn't be pleasurable unless God had wanted it to be and it seems to me that those who know this best are genuine Christians with their large families and their obvious joy in life.
Abortion is about power. The power of an adult over the least powerful being on Earth, the unborn child. To take innocent life is fundamentally anti-Christian and is, again, an abuse of that power. The ultimate abuse. Not sure how anybody who claims to believe in social justice cannot understand this.
Homosexuality? Constant understanding for the individual but unwavering commitment to historic and unchanging Christian teaching. It's so easy to appear fashionable but so meaningless. If we compromise on truth we might as well compromise on goodness as well.
The most telling verdict on Michael Ingham and his friends is that their post-Christian dance is irrelevant. There are now more Anglicans in Nigeria than in Canada, Britain, Australia and the United States combined. Because Christians in the Third World are orthodox and not spoilt by materialism and haven't time for tawdry decadence.
Sorry Bishop, your time seems to be up. Actually it was up a very long time ago.