Commitment-Phobe: Love or marriage
Choosing a church is a personal thing. The questions you might ask yourself are: Do I feel the Spirit here? Is it near enough to where I live? Can my friends get married there? I was excited to hear that the United Reformed Church, the friendliest of all the local churches I have explored in this quest of mine (Reform, April 2014) was going to vote on same-sex marriage at its General Assembly in the summer; it seemed to be the only Church addressing this publicly. I was hoping for a “yes”. I was hoping to be able to say to my friends: “There is a church where you can get married!” I thought, if any denomination was going to pass this it was the URC. After all, the Church of England have only just agreed to ordain female bishops whilst the URC have had female clergy in the equivalent high office for many years.
As an outsider, I found it frustrating. I just don’t understand (and I’m happy to receive explanations – I’m trying to learn!) why it is so difficult for many Christians to accept same-sex marriage in the first place. What frustrated me more was to hear on the radio that it failed to pass because of consensus voting. How can seven people override 393 people saying yes? I am amazed that consensus is ever found on any subject!
From the little I understand of the Christian perspective, marriage seems to be the ultimate symbol of the commandment to love your neighbour. When you marry in front of witnesses, you make the promise to love your partner despite all that life throws at you and despite marrying a faulty human being; it is seen as a sacred ritual. Three years ago, before I started this church search, when I went to a traditional Anglican church wedding, I found myself missing the embarrassing vows that most people now write for themselves. I felt like the 28 instances of the word “God” kept on getting in the way! I wonder how I would feel now…
Commitment-Phobe is trying different churches in the search for God
This is an extract from the September 2014 edition of Reform.