Tuesday, October 5, 2021
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The complexities of faith

Mary, the Mother of Christ, is a virgin! How can that be? And how did Joseph, her husband, feel about that? How can God join humankind as a man anyway? We can either see all of this as unbelievable or as part of the wonder of a Creator who engages with our world in all manner of ways and chooses to walk the way of life with us. The variety expressed in creation is far beyond our imagining and probably every generation and parts of humankind see it differently.

In the light of this, maybe we are invited to see people who are same-sex attracted as another part of that amazing creation. Those who see them as sinning in expressing their love for each other could well enter genuine dialogue with them to see how they are simply expressing ways of living which are true to them. As their rate of suicide is six times higher than that of heterosexual people, it could be because they are being persecuted for being true to how they’ve been created and for their attitudes.

The recent discussion on the equality of same-sex marriage, and the result of the vote about it, indicates that the majority of the community can see the authenticity of the relationships involved and the beauty of love for each other, even if there are differences from earlier perceptions about its validity.

If we hold open to new possibilities, could we see a God who is far more imaginative than us and who loves to create all manner of people, inviting in each form of humanity that which lies at the centre of life – love for each other?

Could we remember how we learn all sorts of things from people of different races and cultures, various faiths, languages and histories? The SSH is now interfaith because we respect and welcome the gifts people of other faiths have to offer. Let us look at the wonderful creativity in the Creator’s gifts of so many different creatures and environments. All of these parts of our reality expand our lives and challenge our certainties and the use of inappropriate power over or judgement of others.

I remember a little three-year-old girl saying to her grandmother, “Grandma, are you and “N” (the name of her grandma’s lesbian partner) married? Her grandmother said “No” and the little girl said, “Why not?” Obviously, this three-year-old could see that the loving relationship which her grandmother had with her partner was the same as that which she saw between her mother and father.

There are many passages in the Bible which we reject as not a valid part of our faith now. For example, “Slaves, obey your masters” and leaders with multiple wives. Those who wrote the Bible would have no knowledge of many aspects of creation, such as the existence of planets, various processes of medical healing, issues related to climate change and the equality of men and women.

It therefore follows that the reality and equality of loving and committed relationships between people of the same gender can be seen as part of God’s good creation and one we can celebrate in its authenticity. People of faith should join and include these people in our life together with our God.

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