Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Sheer and unmerited grace

"Nobody has a right to be ordained: it is always a gift of sheer and unmerited grace" Tom Wright.

And what amazing grace that is, I am truly awestruck and grateful to be called into that ministry.

This phrase leapt out at me from an article reflecting on the recent vote in the American Episcopalian Church to ordain people in same-sex relationships. Is there a reason why same-sex relationships can't be blessed by that grace?

I'm aware that I am still vaccilating on many topics between the open liberalism that wants to accept everyone in their individualism because everyone is created and loved by God, and a sense that along with gifts and variation comes responsibility to the wider society; individual balanced with society, rights balanced with responsibilities etc.

On the one hand is the puritan voice in my head that says we are safer and healthier in our fallen world if we resist those desires that we have that are not good for us, no matter how innate/natural they seem - a point that Tom Wright also makes further down in the article in reference to sexuality.

But on the other hand, how do we decide what is good or not good? Proof texts aren't the answer, but God's theme of self-giving love and respect, compassion and self-respect is a good place to start. For that reason I don't see committed same-sex relationships as wrong, but I am concerned about some of the protection and exploitation risks in power-exchange relationships, and casual serial monogamy, whatever the gender of the participants.

Generally I prefer the view that when we focus only on the good, the bad doesn't have a lot of space to work in, but when we start to look into ourselves for moral guidance rather than to the Divine, we go round in circles. But that's an embryonic thought and I'll leave it there for now.

Jumping back to ordination. Rather like a power tool, it is to be used. That means that when I am asked to limit the use of the gifts I feel prfoundly uncomfortable, and I wonder whether we are at risk of not doing good for the majority due to the risk of upsetting the minority? And that takes me back to the question of ordination and who is eligible, and what it means when we accept that call, and why some people don't accept my ordination?

No answers to this one, just lots of questions and more pondering to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment