Friday, November 07, 2008
Michael Bird gives his okay to same-sex marriages
That's right, you heard me. In a move that is likely to provoke outrage, shock, and perhaps even death threats, none other than Michael Bird himself is prepared to sanction gay marriages in churches. If ya don't believe me that it's all true, then read this article in the Hamilton Spectator. As you all know, in addition to my duties as NT tutor at the Highland Theological College I also moonlight as the Bishop of Niagara in Canada (great view of the waterfalls from my Cathedral office by the way). After a limited period of biblical reflection and watching Priscilla Queen of the Desert on DVD (I wept!), I have finally told my Diocese that they have my consent to prepare liturgies for gay marriages. However, being the gracious churchman that I am in the Banglican tradition, I've told them to wait a few months before doing any services, so we don't offend the bible believing brothers in Africa and give them time to get with the program.
This is a sarcastic προσωποποιία because some chappy in Canada with my name is doing a very, very naughty thing. Let me add a few comments. (1) Along time ago when I was in the Army me and some of the troops were on a boyz-night-out in Sydney. We were walking down Oxford Street when a gay couple walked towards us. One of my more inebriated and less compassionate colleagues lunged out to attack the couple. Sensing that violence was imminent I stood between him (and him was built like Arnie Schwarzeneggar) and the gay couple and was shielding them out of the way. I felt ashamed and embarrassed by my colleague's action (and by colleague I mean boss). Moral of the story, I'm not some homophobic fundy with a God-hates-fags theology. (2) I've had contact with groups like Exodus and I've seen the good ministry that they do. I'm not saying that you can necessarily cure homosexuality - it's a complex social, psychological, and (perhaps even) genetic phenemenon, but I have seen people transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ and lead lives of godly celibacy or fulfilled heterosexuality. It's not the same for everyone, some struggle, some backslide, some go back and stay, and some never look back. (3) Everyone should read Robert Gagnon's book about the Bible and Homosexual Practice. (4) Everybody is invited to my church and come as you are: gays, prostitutes, ex-cons, even people who vote Republican! But no-one is allowed to stay as you are, and if you have to do business with God in the area of sexuality, well, so be it. Because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and need to know the transforming power of the gospel. My view is to advocate Christ-like compassion with a Christ-centred gospel (5) Finally, given all the problems in the Anglican communion now, why the heck would any sane bishop go ahead and do something like this? Why violate the moratoria now! I mean, give Rowan Williams a break, the guy has a hard enough job as it is between TEC and GAFCON without a junior bishop throwing another iceberg at the good ship S.S. Anglica. (6) On the upside, with the name "Michael Bird" becoming famous now I might be able to finally sneak into the Anglican Scholars reception at SBL and score a couple of free drinks!