Bishop Alan Wilson looks forward to the General Synod just starting up in Church of England. He calls on the members to decide between two visions of unity, “cheesy or real.”
Bishops sat on the fence for the sake of unity in the name of even handedness, trying to slow everything down and keep order. The result was disunity, frustration and chaos.
In reality there was no fence to sit on. In effect, doing nothing was siding with the decreasing majority who believe gay people are wicked, stunted, sick or disabled, or the one that believed women were made by God for non-leadership roles.
As the numbers who believe gay people are just people and women are equal grew and became a majority in England, even the Church of England, the game was up.
You can’t build unity in a family by excluding any members of it. If your children fall out it is not even handed to ignore the one who’s stepping out of line, to build fellow feeling between the others who aren’t, sacrificing the black female, or gay member “for the sake of family unity.” Doing that actually destroys the family, not unites it. You can only parent a family on the supposition that all its members are equally valid. Thus Bishops, by trying to be nice to gays whilst siding with anti-gays have not been a focus of unity, but have actually stoked a bigger crisis over gay people in the church than was experienced in education, politics, the military, the law, commerce, or any other area of life.
If bishops want to be real focuses of unity they have to stop trying to be nice, in effect siding with anti-gays. Both sides act out of conviction. Good. It’s time to stop trying to calm everybody down and synthesize them. A working model is actually in the New Testament, and we need to wake up and follow it.
Romans 14 deals with Meat sacrificed to idols. This mattered to early Christians not as animal lovers, but because meat came from pagan temples. Eating it was either subsidizing idolatrous cults or defying them by proving Christians were immune to their products. Eat or refuse, you can’t do both. The issue was black and white. If St Paul ate meat he sided with those who think their faith is strong because they eat meat. If he refuses he sides against them with those who refuse, on grounds of conscience. There is no middle ground.
At this point St Paul could come running on, saying “Calm down, dear! Nobody eat anything because that will upset the vegetarians! Let’s all discuss what we all have to do before we can do anything! And then when we’re ready to move, we can al move together!”
What St Paul recommends is the exact opposite. He tells every Christian
to be convinced in their own mind, each one personally.
to get on with doing whatvere they do, meaty or veggie, 100%, but to do it for faith reasons, for Christ, not fear reasons. What comes from faith is faith.
When doing this produces passionate disagreement, to view it as an opportunity to accept the other as is and love them, not an opportunity to tribalise
To judge nobody else before the time
When people see you doing this, they will be amazed, and God will be glorified. Nobody has to pretend. Every particularity praises God’s works, not its own, in its own language. Nothing is judged or synthesized before the time.
Fake Unity is basically about what’s going on among the officers on the bridge. Its aim is keeping everyone as happy as possible. Driven by fear of everything falling apart, the captain becomes what Walt Disney called Mickey Mouse, “a little guy trying his best.” Its aim is a world tamed and homogenised, where everybody calms down, and each particularity curbs its enthusiasms whilst every anomaly is synthesised out.