I have recently written about how Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, pictured above, stands beside his lesbian and gay sisters and brothers in Christ. Then I was really impressed by this comment by DaviGoss:
In this week’s Church Times ‘Diary’ the Revd Sister Rosemary, of The Convent of the Holy Name in Derby, describes a recent visit to a local Arts Centre to see a Dirk Bogarde film when, turning aside form romantic comedy, he gave a riveting performance in Victim, a story of lives destroyed by blackmail. She writes:
We saw how homosexual men were forced to hide their sexuality, and how they lived in constant fear of discovery, loss of livelihood, and disgrace. The film was so powerful that when it ended I sat still for some minutes, unable to return to normal life. Then I got into conversation with a young woman near me. She said: "You can't imagine it, can you?"
"I remember it," I responded.
In the face of her incredulity, I could not find words to add that in the Church we do not have to imagine it: we are living it still.And this from Susan Russell's Blog:
I’m remembering this morning a particular evening in Advent. The boys would have been about twelve and fifteen. It was after I had come out and their father and I had separated and while we were working away at what my therapist called “reconfiguring the family on the other side of the marriage.” We were at the dinner table together with the Advent wreath in the middle and -- that particular night -- my younger son, Brian, was on about something he couldn’t live without and his father and I were ruining his life by not getting it for him. I think it was a dirt bike.
He didn’t want to hear reasoned explanations that dirt bikes were not in the budget for newly ordained parish priests. “So how long do we have to wait until there’s some money in this family?” he asked. “What about those big jobs at those fancy churches? Why don’t you go be in charge of one of those?” And I must have run out of patience at that point for I remember saying, “You have be ordained longer than I have been to get those jobs, Brian – and besides, they usually go to the straight, white men.”
“Well, so much for that idea!” he said. And then, unable to resist one last parting shot added “I just hope you know I always expected my mom to be straight!” And his father, without missing a beat, piped in, “So did I!” And we all laughed … and Brian did NOT get the dirt bike.
Another thing Brian did not get was the family he expected – but that didn’t mean we quit being family to each other. And that’s because the values that made us family to each other transcended even the expectations we had for each other.
And the icon of what that family looks like for me is my mental picture of the year both of my sons and their father joined my partner Louise in the pew here at All Saints Church on Christmas morning – after a Christmas Eve dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding the night before! I looked out at them from the chancel with deep gratitude for the family we had become.
We may not be a family James Dobson focuses on but that doesn’t make us any less family. And it doesn’t make the values that bind us together any less holy.