Letter in Today’s Church Times
Canon Blyth complains about the “weekly psychological onslaught which is so highly damaging to lesbian, gay and bisexual people”. May I suggest to him and others that it is often when one is in the position of fighting against the clear teaching of scripture that someone places themselves under spiritual stress. [As Kierkegaard so clearly said, “The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers.” Or perhaps the words of the teacher (Eccl 12) would be more to his comfort – “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”]
In contrast to those who have seemingly dedicated their lives to rejecting the words of Scripture and are therefore obviously troubled by those who might call them to a holy life, many of us with same-sex attraction have lived simple, celibate lives in the full knowledge that the surrender of our desires to God is not “psychological onslaught” but rather the path of grace. Some of us have then, by the mercy of God, moved from the single life to one of marriage as the church teaches and others have remained unmarried but content in a singleness that glorifies Christ in its surrender to him. Such a path is not without its struggles, but ultimately it is the journey that the Archbishop of Canterbury himself commends when in a recent interview he clearly stated “Our jobs mean we have to adhere to the bible, gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practicing homosexual relationships don’t.”.
The Church’s statements about healing, wholeness and pastoral care only ring hollow to so many because countless clergy up and down the breadth of this country do not in any way support the ministries of those like myself who seek to come alongside people struggling with issues of homosexuality and other sexual brokenness. Perhaps now is the time therefore for the Church and its Bishops to put its money where its mouth is and make specific diocesan stipendiary appointments of men and women who can encourage those with same-sex attraction to live a life faithful to the teachings of Scripture?
Peter Ould (Revd)