The Sunday Times has published a letter, and an article about it, in which over 1600/1700 (depending on when you read it!) people who are members of the Church of England and deeply involved in it, have written to their Bishops expressing some concerns. If you aren’t a subscriber to the Times, you can read the letter itself online. When the guidance that has prompted this letter was released, I blogged some thoughts on why this particular issue represents an invitation to everyone to actually think about what they believe and why they believe it around issues of identity, sex and sexuality.
It did amuse me, however, that the Sunday Times suggested it was ‘a revolt’. Arguably, nothing could be further from the truth. The worlds most perfunctory attempt at definition-finding (A quick google) produces this:
It’s worth noting that no-one is calling for violent action against the House of Bishops, or arguing that the guidance or the people it seeks to serve, is disgusting.
Arguably, this is not a revolt, but a thoughtful and careful attempt by a significant number of leaders and members of the Church of England to ask the Bishops (As one of the signatories wrote on Christian Today) to at the very least listen to and hear their theological concerns.
I was glad to see that the letter, in my view at least, demonstrates clear concern and compassion for those identifying as Trans* and/or engaging with issues around Gender Identity, Expression, or Dysphoria:
“Gender dysphoria is an emotionally painful experience that requires understanding, support and compassion. Because it has affected a very small proportion of people, evidence from the medical and social sciences is often conflicting and of poor quality… We, the undersigned, are unreservedly committed to welcoming everyone to our churches and communities of faith, so that all might hear and be invited to respond to the good news of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. But we do not believe that the Guidance is the right way to do this, since it raises some significant issues for the Church’s belief and practice.”
As someone who is part of the Church in England, but not the Church of England, I can’t sign the letter. If you read this, and are a member (leader, or whatever) of and in the C of E, I’d encourage you to sign this (scroll down the letter to a form), at least so that the Bishops recognise that they cannot simply issue guidance and pretend nothing has changed. Regardless, I think this is a good prompt to pray for people this will affect and is affecting, regardless of your theological convictions.