The battle lines are what they have always been. The world wants a church which endorses what it wants to do and is impatient with talk of sin; the Church is the custodian of the ‘faith once revealed’. As the current fracas in the Church of England over gay relationships shows, once again, the world will be satisfied with nothing more than capitulation: love is love, it says, so allow it. Of course, at this point it does not accept that ‘love is love’ when it comes to what the rigid among us call incest or adult child sexual relations, but those barricades will be the next to be stormed. In the mean time, those Christians with a same sex inclination who adhere to the teaching of the Church and resist their temptations must sometimes wonder why they bother?
Make no mistake, it is not that the Anglican Church, or any other Church, is obsessed with sex – the pressure on this comes from those who are – that is those who want their sexual preferences to receive acceptance from the Church. There is no stopping point on this journey, as the Anglicans can bear witnessed to. The world will have its way. That there are those in the Church who have broken their vows, gives the world an easy target at which to aim its cries of hypocrisy – with the implication that if a few break their vows that should, somehow, justify everyone having the right to do so.
As a society we are not big on our duty, preferring, instead to assert our ‘rights’. But the plain fact is there are no ‘rights’ that inhere to us as human beings. What goes by that name are hard-won concessions which could easily be lost. Having eaten of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, we do, alas, think ourselves as wise as God, when we are simply fallen and fallible creatures. It is one of the devil’s better tricks to make us think we are at the centre of the universe, and that all that matters is our feelings and what we want; the egotism of the infant is encouraged – the self-restraint usually associated with adults is not. Indeed it is frowned upon – who, after all, in this one brief life would want to pass up on a pleasurable feeling? There is no tomorrow, so eat, drink and be merry, for it is then that we die. Children? Why bother? They cost money which could be much better spent on yourself. Take no thought for the morrow, as it takes no thought for you. We are taught we are alone in the universe, although the ‘proof’ for this is, at best sketchy; it is, in fact the new faith, based solely on our mistaken estimate of our wisdom.
To none of this can the Church assent. We are passing through here, this world is not our home, it is but a preparation for it. We are citizens of an Eternal place and, of course, the World hates us, as it hated the Word.