One of the joys of being a Christian, and of being a member of St Chrysostom’s, is that we celebrate the wholeness of who we are.
Sr Rosemary CHN has recently commented in the Church Times, on Archbishop Welby’s statement that “The Bishop’s sexuality is completely irrelevant to his office.” The Archbishop was commenting on the fact that the Bishop of Grantham is in a same sex relationship.
Rosemary finds the Archbishop’s remark astonishing. She cites the Bishop of Repton’s marriage as bringing great personal happiness and of adding effectiveness in her ministry as a pastor. She goes on to say that it would not occur to us to suggest that her (the Bishop of Repton’s) married relationship is irrelevant to her office.
Indeed. There is no one job description for being a Christian. There are no desired or required qualities or experiences. We are all called whoever we are. Our personality, our sexuality, our background, our culture, our brokenness are all part of who we are. All are part of our personal identity, and help define who we are.
To be a Christian is to bring our whole selves before God. We are social people, and our Christian faith is revealed to others in the ways that we react with others. Being called involves our whole selves, our personality and our sexuality. Our Christian discipleship and witness goes beyond our personal prayer life into the whole of our lives. Christian leaders, hopefully, are good examples to others in this witness and discipleship in all aspects of their lives.
Openness and honesty by the Christian, not least the Christian leader is part of the Christian calling. Our brokenness – be it alcohol, drugs, physical or mental health, poverty, relationships etc – coupled with our faith, speaks to others in a way that were we to be “perfect human beings” would seem futile.
Our whole self in all aspects, called by God, is totally relevant to our calling.