Friday, 8 June 2018

My Presbyterian Ecumunication

Well today it appears to be official, I am no longer allowed to be a full member of the Church I grew up. The church that the majority of my ancestors have been members of since their families came to Ireland. The church that several of my forebears have had leadership roles in.

Today the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has ruled that anybody in a same-sex relationship cannot be a full member of the church and also that their children cannot be baptised. Even though my full communicant membership was denied when I was not in a relationship and haven't been in one since my return from Scotland it doesn't seem to make a difference. I'm that noise in the corner that causes a ruckus.

I get quoted the texts from the New Testament about temple prostitutes/bed mates, the Greek/Roman tradition of pederasty or puer delicates as being the same as homosexuality. Yes there are cultural references to the verses that are quoted from the New Testament which leads us to the Old.

Of course we have Leviticus and again some of these were ceremonial in a similar way as worship to Baal or other pagan gods. But of course in the New Testament Jesus said he  had not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfil them. By that he meant to provide the grace and forgiveness. Peter in his vision saw that all the unclean regulations from the Old Testament were not unclean under this fulfilment of grace. Even the Presbyterian Church doesn't come down hard on others who break the law in other ways. As one minister pointed out in this morning discussion they are picking out one group.

The church itself had set up Pastoral Guidelines which would have included a safe space for LGB members to discuss matters with the church. None of the recommendations at the end of that have ever been implemented. Very little, if any formal consultation has taken place with LGB Presbyterians ahead of this decision. Judging by my Twitter and Facebook feeds from many of the LGB Christian and indeed Presbyterian influencers none of us had any input apart from with individual ministers.

The Presbyterian Church itself has been a major contributor to the state of my mental well being. Its exclusion of me, its judgement of me are things that the Chaplin of Ulster University Rev. Cheryl Meban pointed out when raising the amendment to remove the policy. It is something I have talked about in the past, I don't want to go into it again here.

Just before the formal vote was taken, some light-hearted banter happened between the moderator and clerk about needing a resolution for a cup of coffee. Earlier in the debate someone had warned that the world was watching, by their insults at such a serious time in the live of some Presbyterians you shall know them. Making today even worse with how light heartedly they appear to take this decision.

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