Love does not discriminate
This months guest blog for 'pictures of love' comes from Revd Ric Stott who is a Methodist minister, artist and art psychotherapist. He works in Sheffield as a Venture FX pioneer for the Methodist Church exploring new ways of being church based around the visual arts. More information on his ministry can be found at www.iaskforwonder.com Please feel free to leave your comments.
I don’t often make images from a place of anger but recently the way the church has been portrayed in the media has made me angry. Particularly statements made about the church’s attitude towards gay marriage.
So often in this area the church comes across as bigoted, homophobic and deeply unloving in its prejudice against same sex relationships. There is a little truth in this of course; like any organisation made up of imperfect human beings we will have our fair share of those who exhibit prejudice and close-mindedness. Furthermore, many gay and lesbian people have been deeply hurt by the church, myself included. But, this is far from the whole story. There are many people in the church who reflect the love of God shown in Jesus: a love that is open, inclusive and that celebrates life giving human relationships.
In the Orthodox tradition the icon is a window through which we can catch glimpses of God. I wonder if we can catch glimpses of the love of God if we look beyond the headlines that proclaim, for example, that the Pope sees gay marriage as a threat to humanity (A statement that would be laughable and ridiculous if it didn’t have such serious implications for those who believe what he says). Then we may see that love of God expressed in the relationships of gay and lesbian people across the world and celebrate it; just as it is rightly affirmed and celebrated in the love of a man and a woman. Where people love each other and give themselves to each other then Christ is present regardless of the gender of the individuals involved.
Recently the United Reformed Church in
Britain has decided to allow blessing ceremonies for civil partnerships on its premises. Unfortunately the public policies of many churches still discriminate. I hope that one day soon other churches will be able to follow that lead and realise that the love of God is far more expansive than they had previously realised.