Posts Tagged ‘Gay priests’

The Church and Homosexuality

January 10, 2010

I watched a programme this morning which discusses the big issues of our present day in relation to the Christian Church. There is one lady whose views we often hear, as though, because of her presence on the Church Synod, she stands for the voice of the Church laity. I have always found her views flawed. She happily quotes from the Bible as the Word of God, but like many others with blinkered vision, she quotes only what suits her own position. But this is nothing new.

Throughout the centuries, ironically, the Church has done many cruel things in the name of God — supposedly according to His Word. Yes, I know many Christians over the years have given all — including their lives — to serve their Lord in extreme circumstances, but sometimes it has been an opposing section of the Church that has brought about their suffering. (Some other religions are just as guilty).
Interpretation, not the Bible itself is the problem.

Back to our Laity lady. She happily ignores what the Bible says about women and authority, and puts herself in a place of authority to speak as regards homosexuality. She is far from alone with this homophobia. (I understand she is against women priests too.)

We cannot use the Bible as a rule book to pick and choose what suits our prejudices. Over the years, a considerable amount of serious Biblical study has taken place, in the wider context of religious belief, and using all the tools of modern criticism, to get closer to the words of the original texts and thoughts of the various writers. Certainly the Bible inspires, comforts and aids our understanding of man and man’s view of the world and of the Divine. But using the Bible as Divine truth without our God-given intelligence, has been the cause of suffering, terrorism, and wars throughout the ages. Using it to suit our prejudices is little better.

Some people may squirm at sexual practices that offend their sensibilities, but we must accept these also take place in male-female (loving or otherwise) relationships. They are not confined to males only. Also, every day we see on our TV screens the promiscuous sexual behaviour of youngsters, as well as adults, and they are seemingly encouraged to be so by society in general. These days, it is nonsense to speak of sex as part of marriage only, or of relationships that lead to marriage. That was the accepted morality of when we were young. Marriage often ends in divorce too. What place vows? Even clergy have no better statistics. We are but human.

It is a fact that people are born with sexual leanings. Some boys and girls may have been influenced towards homosexuality, BUT it is totally wrong to stigmatise those who are born what they are – men and women who fall in love with members of their own sex. It seems to me that homosexuals tend to be gentle sensitive people and quite suited to clerical life within the Church. They have the right to perform their ministry with the support of a loving partner.

The love of God and neighbour sums up the Law of God. The fruit of the Spirit reveals who and what we are within a community. What consenting couples do in private is, literally, their own affair.

How to bring a book to public notice?

January 4, 2010

When Angels Lie video.
I wrote When Angels Lie a while ago. Those who read it were surprised and found it a jolly good read, even though most of them would not normally read a book with this church setting. These readers have included a newspaper reviewer, a bookshop manager, students (male and female) a professor, in fact a whole spectrum of readers from all walks of life aged from 16 to 80 with a with range of taste as regards reading matter.
Ah, but how to get it to the attention of readers everywhere — National Newspapers will not review a book unless it is freely available in every major bookshop. And major bookshops will not stock books unless they are certain of sales — reviews get the sales! At least I have the pleasure of knowing I have written books that are enjoyed.

It is published here in the UK under my pen name Richard L Gray (When Angels Lie, all hell is let loose and Demons Fly!) by my own Magpies Nest Publishing. (Can be bought on line. Free delivery in the UK) and in the USA by AG Press. It is also an Ebook published by Mythica Publishing and can be bought from Amazon (Kindle books – but they show the UK cover there).

When Angels Lie: An Award Winner

Gladys Hobson (aka Richard Gray) has written an award winner with ‘When Angels Lie.’ Daring to take on a subject guaranteed to make some readers squirm, Hobson boldly explores the life of handsome Anglican priest Paul Stringer as he takes on an impoverished parish and pursues a loving affair—with a neighboring male priest. The author follows him as he struggles painfully with a commitment to his church and his desperate need for acceptance and companionship.

Although the two priests determine to keep their personal affair confidential, they learn that suspicions are quick to arise in this small community. Confused by the rebuffs of the parish’s most eligible bachelor, local women begin to grow increasingly suspicious of his often repeated vow of bachelorhood. Worse, the enmity of the church warden, the jealousy of a woman spurned and the sexual escapades of two teenage lovers in the chapel are twisted into a scandal that threatens to expose not only the relationship of the priests but destroy their many accomplishments in the church.

Smoothly, expertly written, the author captures the essence and conflict of human love and religion as they struggle to coexist in a judgmental world. Hobson reveals a church hierarchy attempting to compromise with a nervous reality, and walks the reader ever so beautifully through the torment of a young man deeply devoted to his vows and wanting fervently to serve his parish–with the support of a loving partner. As the story unfolds, however, his options grow more desperate and his torment ever more intense.

Hobson is a writer of the first class, able to build a story quickly and maintain excitement throughout the book. Her characters are full and multidimensional—at times, the reader is torn by compassion and empathy for one and then the other. Such is the making of a fine novel and a book well worth reading. It is unfortunate that books such as these, so worthy of recognition, go unheralded by the literary establishment. I, for one, give it “tens” across the board.

Andrew F. O’Hara, editor, The Jimston Journal
author, The Swan, Tales of the Sacramento Valley

And another full star review:
Young, handsome, and driven, Paul is completely devoted to the practice of his faith as an Anglican priest. With all that he has going for him, it should come as no surprise that he remains square in the sights of many a single woman scattered throughout his doting parish. Unfortunately for them, Paul’s heart is set solely on the pursuit of someone he finds quite special – little does anyone know, though, that someone just happens to be a fellow male priest…

When the two fated lovers eventually surrender to their desires, they begin a passionate, loving – albeit completely clandestine affair – but despite the pleasure of their physical indulgence, both men struggle greatly with the inner spiritual torment stemming from the juxtaposition of their flesh and their faith. Even worse, as suspicions regarding their relationship begin to grow throughout the surrounding community, Paul and his lover soon face the very real prospect of having to contend with the disastrous consequences of their actions – however well-meaning they may be. In light of all the looming controversy, each man is forced to engage in a fierce spiritual battle in order to reconcile the various conflicting elements deep within themselves…

When Angels Lie takes the reader on a piercing, heart-rending and ultimately edifying journey through the deepest recesses of the human soul. Insightfully well-crafted, author Gladys Hobson’s endearing tale does a superb job of humanizing the eternal battle between the spirit and the flesh – a battle, it should be noted, that is no more or less difficult whether centered on homosexuality, addiction, or any other spiritual affliction. In the end, we all struggle daily with issues of acceptance vs. propriety, and the manifestation of this struggle in the form of Paul’s relationship with his lover is guaranteed to inspire serious reflection within the reader on a number of different levels.

With a compelling storyline and well-rounded cast of characters, When Angels Lie is literary jewel that shouldn’t be missed. Kudos to Hobson for launching such a brave headlong foray into what remains a highly controversial topic – and for pulling it off with the utmost class, grace, and much-deserved empathy. Highly recommended.

Tracy Moore
Apex Reviews