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Disappointed in Church today. May leave.

(30 Posts)
Loonytoonie Sun 17-Feb-13 22:08:53

I'm hoping to hear some others opinions on this.

I attend, along with my whole family, a Methodist chapel in my local town. It is where I was christened, married, my children were christened there and my relatives all had their funerals there. My children attend Sunday school there. It's very much a 'community' church - mostly elderly folk attend, but we all know one another rather well and care for one another.

Today, we had a 'speaker' attend who discussed various things, but the thing that got to me was his blatant views on gay marriage. This speaker was very anti this concept and was very vocal in his beliefs that it was 'wrong' and 'immoral'.

I'm really upset by this and annoyed, really annoyed that I didn't stand up for what I believe in. I'm angry with myself for not questioning what we were being told (even if it meant standing up in front of everyone and blushing/stuttering/making my point, probably rather clumsily). I really wish I had.

I'm not an academic, I know nothing about politics and I don't speak very well, that I admit. But I do know this:- In a world where hate and violence seems to take centre-stage, why isn't my church encouraging love and unity and faithfulness?

What if everyone in my Church believes this? How can I stay? How can I let my little children stay?

Sorry for my ramblings. It's been playing on my mind ALL day, mine and my DH's minds. We feel it's somehow treating gay men and women as second class citizens; 'punishing' then by virtue of them being gay?

Mitchy1nge Sun 17-Feb-13 22:50:20

but everyone won't believe that

I have the same problem, so won't be much help but I wasn't the only person incensed by the bishops' letter against gay marriage last year - even people who are not particularly progressive where gay rights/equality is concerned were angry about the use of the mass for a long homophobic rant. Can you talk to your minister about it?

EllieArroway Mon 18-Feb-13 09:12:46

I'm an atheist - BUT.....I think there's an awful lot of church-goers in exactly the same position as you at present.

I know lots of Christians, of various denominations, and virtually all are in support of gay marriage for exactly the reasons you have given. I even knew what the thrust of your post would be about just by reading the title.

There's no question that the powers that be are out of touch with how their flocks feel about this matter - so you are far, far from being alone.

My advice would be to talk about it to some of your fellow parishioners - I bet you'd find quite a few of them feel exactly the same way, particularly the younger ones. Then perhaps you could approach your minister & discuss it in a rational way.

I suspect that, one way or another, the churches are going to have to change their views on this matter or they'll face a mass exodus from their pews.

So, be true to your own instincts & take comfort from the fact that the vast majority of your fellow Christians feel the same way.

msrisotto Mon 18-Feb-13 09:18:40

If you're not a part of the solution, you're part of the problem....You need to do something, this is how the church gets itself into such bad situations.

noisytoys Mon 18-Feb-13 09:21:35

I feel the same way. What does it matter if someone is gay. I left my last church of 10 years because my mum (who is in a lesbian relationship) was turned away at the door because they didn't want 'her sort' in the church. My new church seems just as homophobic according to the sermons, but I know a large proportion of the people are against the homophobia

MaryBS Mon 18-Feb-13 12:42:36

Speak to the minister first, see what their view is. Ask a few trusted members what they thought of the speaker. I've gradually changed my views over the years, from being strongly anti to:

God made all of us, including gays, in his image
God doesn't make mistakes
God is love, we are called to love one another.
There are gay Christians who preach of God's love and are clearly blessed by God.

Hence I no longer have a problem, except with those who preach hate.

Moominsarehippos Mon 18-Feb-13 12:48:23

I suppose you have to look at it like this - you gave him the opportunity to speak what was in his mind/heart. You don't have to agree with him. If we only listened to those we agreed with, then we would be intolerant. You showed him the respect and tolerance that he doesn't show to others.

He is, of course a dinosaur. I would speak to the minister. Maybe he can invite someone to speak from the other side of the fence.

I've heard of this a few times:

Startail Mon 18-Feb-13 12:57:09

In my opinion as long as religious organisations are allowed to follow blatantly sexist employment practices, they will be shelters for bigoted views.

The whole purpose of religion seems to be to live in the past. Not to face up to the advances in science and human rights that exist in the rest of society.

Viviennemary Mon 18-Feb-13 13:03:05

He is allowed his opinion and you are allowed yours. I think it would be a good idea to get a speaker to speak on behalf of gay marriage if that is what the rest of the congregation wants.

sarahtigh Mon 18-Feb-13 16:51:32

if he is not the normal minister it is difficult for those who invited him to know what he was going to say, if it was the minster/pastor that would affect whole ethos and you might need to move but silly visiting speakers happens at nearly every church ( not just church had some very silly speakers even in post -grad dental courses)

I would speak to someone in authority in church look for assurances he is not being invited again, say it upset you, of course some others may be saying the opposite like " oh wasn't it great that mr X came and said it like it should be!!!!"
but that's life idiots everyhere

ZZZenAgain Mon 18-Feb-13 16:59:54

Would it have been an option for you to get up and leave? I know some people would consider it rude to do this but if you quietly leave, you make your point without disrupting the speech.

I would call the minister and ask to arrange a time to discuss it with him.

Italiangreyhound Mon 18-Feb-13 20:32:43

Loonytoonie no real words of wisdom but I do know how you feel. It is frustrating. At least it was only a visiting speaker and not your normal minister. Yes, sometimes people speak from the front and we don't always agree with them! And then how do we deal with it. I don't think leaving would help you or your family or the church, better to speak to someone and make your thoughts known.

This organisation is very interesting ....

All the best.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 19-Feb-13 00:15:20

What Ellie said.

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Tue 19-Feb-13 09:05:15

The Anglican Bishop of Buckingham is vocal in his support for equality in marriage for people who are gay. His blog is here:

In that blog he quotes Desmond Tutu (retired bishop) as saying:

"The Jesus I worship is not likely to collaborate with those who vilify and persecute an already oppressed minority. I myself could not have opposed the injustice of penalizing people for something about which they could do nothing -- their race -- and then have kept quiet as women were being penalized for something they could do nothing about -- their gender; hence my support for the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate. Equally, I cannot keep quiet while people are being penalized for something about which they can do nothing -- their sexuality. To discriminate against our sisters and brothers who are lesbian or gay on grounds of their sexual orientation for me is as totally unacceptable and unjust as apartheid ever was."

MaryBS Tue 19-Feb-13 12:34:53

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts, I have +Alan as a FB friend (he's the friend of a friend) smile, he has taken a stance which has made him unpopular, but I think he is remaining true to his beliefs and the gospel message of love.

AMumInScotland Tue 19-Feb-13 16:58:59

"What if everyone in my Church believes this?" - the thing is, you don't know how many in your church believe this. There is every chance that lots of people, like, you, disagreed with him entirely but were too polite/uncomfortable/British to stand up and idsagree with him audibly while he was speaking.

I think you probably feel very uncomfortable because you knoe you could have said something, and maybe should have said something, and didn't. You are therefore feeling guilty and angry about having been put in that situation, and want to remove yourself from it.

But that would be unfair on the rest of the church membership - unless the ywere cheering and giving the speaker a standing ovation, there is every chance they were also unhappy. Talk to your minister about it, talk to others you know. Say how uncomfortable you felt at the time, and how you feel bad now about not disagreeing with him. See how many people agree with you.

worldgonecrazy Wed 20-Feb-13 14:28:34

Don't be angry with yourself for defaulting to politeness and "Britishness", it's just something we do when we are so shocked by something that we use it as a shield and support.

I would arrange a family meeting with your minister, not just you, but you, your husband and your children, and say that you found it uncomfortable that someone with such dreadful views was given a platform which meant that they were speaking from a platform of authority. Jo Bloggs in the congregation may hold the same homophobic views, but it is quite different when a guest speaker, who I presume is treated with respect and considered to be a person of standing, is allowed to express those views.

That way, you will have support during the meeting, and your children will learn that it is okay to challenge homophobia (or any other phobia) when we meet it during our lives.

I doubt that you will be alone in your views, but if you are, then you know that it is not the right church for you. There are other churches out there, I know it's a wrench to think about leaving your family church, but church is supposed to be about getting closer to your God, not further away.

Loonytoonie Fri 22-Feb-13 23:35:37

Thanks to everyone who's replied - I'm grateful to you all for your input.

We've approached one of the Deacons (we no longer have our own Minister) and expressed our worry about this. I must admit to being really worried about doing this - he's a lovely, elderly gent whom I really, really adore and trust... but he agreed with us.

He admitted himself to feeling extremely uncomfortable with the speaker's views and didn't expect such an outburst. He stated categorically, that the speaker was not representative of our Church's views but that there was one or two in our Church that agreed with him.

DH and I were really relieved about this, but during our chat, we all realised that this was far from being resolved. The speaker is well-liked and well-known in our community. I don't think I'm entirely happy that he's seen as representing our views especially since he's so vocal in his dislike towards gay people. This speaker is booked in to be with us again in a few months time.

I'm tempted to not go as is DH - a bit of a silent protest. On the other hand, perhaps I should go. Perhaps I should grow a backbone and stand up and say something, should he start talking about the 'sinners' again? sad

<sigh> sorry, am rambling. I'm not great at wording how I feel, and without a doubt, should this situation arise again in Church, and should I be brave enough to stand up for what I believe in, I'd never word it as eloquently as some could.

Loonytoonie Fri 22-Feb-13 23:38:18

The Desmond Tutu quote was outstanding. Thanks for posting it.

Actually, perhaps I should have it in my pocket, ready to read out (if this situation arises again)?

lilibet Fri 22-Feb-13 23:53:20

Oh loony I am so glad you have started this thread. I'm C of E and have actually had sleepless nights over the crap that has come out of our governing body recently. I am so involved with the ministry in my church but have no idea how to make my presence felt other than to leave the C of E, but I love my home church and the people who attend.

The Desmond Tutu quote is excellent, thenk you to greenheart

Loonytoonie Sat 23-Feb-13 00:18:05

We are not alone, lilibet, and yes, like you, DH and I have sat this week, everything on stop, contemplating leaving our church.

Since speaking with our Deacon, it won't have to come to that, but I'm not sure that I'm entirely satisfied with that outcome. It needs challenging. I can't scroll back up to name the poster who said, that if we're not part of the solution, then we're part of the problem. That really struck a nerve with me.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Thu 28-Feb-13 07:33:23

I can't honestly see a reason for ever going back to an institution which harbours this kind of bigoted attitude. I wouldn't follow a politician who had these views, I wouldn't keep friends who thought that way and I certainly wouldn't pop in every weekend and give my spare change to a group who just accepted speakers like this.

tribpot Thu 28-Feb-13 07:43:16

He stated categorically, that the speaker was not representative of our Church's views but that there was one or two in our Church that agreed with him.

So isn't that what needs saying at the start of the next Sunday service? "We had a speaker in who expressed strong opinions. Some of you may agree with those opinions but they do not reflect the views of all. We will be inviting a speaker to put the opposite point of view and church members will be free to express both views as long as it is done in a civilised way"

Oh, and the repeat performance needs to be cancelled. He's had his chance to say his piece. Unless his second speech does not touch on the issue of gay rights.

If the church leadership say nothing then it will become the church's position on the issue by default.

CabbageLeaves Thu 28-Feb-13 07:43:54

Excellent quote by Tutu. We have had one passing reference to gay marriage and I did politely confront the minister who took on a stunned goldfish look for 5 seconds before composing himself. He accepted my points and stopped there shock

I think it is wrong to walk away...that's almost accepting it.

If however my chap had fought back and refused to listen I might have expressed my outrage by leaving. As it is there are several of us standing our ground and the church is not publically opposing it.

rubyhorse Thu 28-Feb-13 07:54:34

A devout Methodist friend of mine pointed out this

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