clear view from queer eye

If you want to get a decent snap shot of how it feel to be gay around the church today, you could do worse than watch the first episode of season two of Queer Eye on Netflix.

Catch up: Queer Eye sees five gay guys come and in a week help transform some poor straight bloke somewhere in Georgia into something like the man he always thought he was. Or wanted to be.

Except...the bloke isn't always straight, it turns out. And in episode one of series two, the Fab Five help a straight woman transform her church hall from an empty shell into a vibrant hub for her community, with the bonus of working with her and her gay son...

In the truck as they go to meet Miss Tammye in Gay, Georgia (yes, there's a town called Gay) the Five talk about their response to helping a church. One says he loves Jesus - it's the church he has issues with. One says he's always had great experiences and love from the church. One can hardly bear it; his upbringing was very religious and he just can&…

Hokey Cokey

The Church of England is enjoying a period of reflection as it prepares new teaching and pastoral documents on human sexuality.

Inevitably, this means that various sides of the debate are enjoying some ecclesiastical Hokey Cokey. Some are putting their left foot in. Others are putting their right foot in. In, out, in out, everything's being shaken all about...

At the beginning of May, the Diocese of Lichfield issued a statement saying they welcomed and honoured LGTB+ people. OK, we know where Lichfield stands then. They recognise there's a national debate, but they are pretty clear where they want that debate to end up. Lichfield is inclusive. Left foot in.

The conservative evangelical Bishop of Maidstone (who, despite his title, isn't limited to Kent, but works with conservative evangelical churches across the country who for various reasons don't feel comfortable with their geographical episcopal oversight) responded to this. Right foot in.

Of the responses to that …

what they say...

News in on The Possibility of Difference, to be published by Kevin Mayhewthis autumn:  I am delighted to announce that prolific writer and former Bishop of Oxford John Pritchard has provided a foreword to the book! 
Bishop John writes:  Why another book? Because this one has the unique gift of being personal, courteous and eminently approachable.  Marcus Green writes as a convinced evangelical who lives with his homosexuality in a relaxed and thoughtful way, loving his Lord and wanting to live in a Big House where there exists the ‘possibility of difference.’  I met Marcus in the underbelly of Blackwell’s bookshop in Oxford some time ago and congratulated him on his generous submission to a Church of England report on gay relationships. I asked if he had thought of writing it up in more substantial form. And now he has...
Here are some other reactions that have already come in from those who have seen early copies of the text... This is a measured, compassionate plea for a more humane argum…

exciting possibilities!

The Possibility of Difference - the book - is to be published in September by Kevin Mayhew!
"A measured, compassionate plea for a more humane argument about sexuality in the Church - a model of debate." Archbishop Rowan WilliamsI am so excited about this. As an evangelical, and as a gay man, and being just the wrong side of fifty, I have lived through all sorts of attitudes and responses to gay people in the church... Our debates often, it seems to me, focus in the wrong places and depend upon un-knowables (what does St Paul mean by this word? Does this extra-Biblical text show us?) because we have let a mind-set become established where the whole Bible has only seven or eight texts that are relevant.

Hmm. Evangelicals don't work like that! On anything. Being an Evangelical scholar is about working with the whole of Scripture, knowing the nature and character of God, letting one thing work with another - and if it doesn't work, then it can't be right.  "The chu…

what love, what joy

The presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church in the United States of America seems to have earned the respect and admiration of much of the world with his sermon today at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Harry & Meghan.

He started with their chosen text from Song of Songs, quickly moved to Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and found his own refrain with the words "There's power in love".

He urged us to find the truth of Jesus' great command, to love God and to love each other, and took us to the cross with the power of Jesus' sacrificial love for everyone, via the chorus of a spiritual.

A quick detour to French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin brought us back to Martin Luther King Jr, and the redemptive power of love was where he left us.

The BBC's coverage had commentator Dermot O'Leary waxing eloquent about the sermon. Rugby player James Haskell picked it out as his highlight of the day in a quick interview after the service. Ed M…

space at the table

I spotted a mention of the book 'Space at the Table' on a friend's feed a while back, and was intrigued. I ordered it from Amazon, and read it with great interest.

It's the story of a father and son. An evangelical theologian father, Brad, and his gay son, Drew. It's a story of faith and loss of faith, of love and pain, of welcome and rejection, of talking and listening and not quite communicating.

It's a remarkably profound book.

You should buy it and read it for yourself. I think your response will depend on where you are in this story. I very much feel that fathers and sons will read this book differently; gay and straight will read it differently; those who hold a traditionalist theology of sexuality and those who don't will read it differently - and for all those reasons, I commend it.

As a gay man, a bit of a wanna-be theologian, and an evangelical, I fit into different bits of this book at different times.

There were moments in Drew's childhood …

ethical leadership

In his interview this week on Stephen Colbert's Late Show, James Comey describes his motivation for writing 'A Higher Loyalty', a book which (in part) attacks Donald Trump, as providing a vision for what ethical leadership might look like.

It's a fascinating interview, and if you have half an hour - go back and click on that link. 

James Comey describes an ethical leader as one who has exterior points of reference - such as a spiritual context - and he finds that Trump sees nothing beyond himself.

I've not read the book, I've only seen the interviews, but I'm left with many questions.

A few months ago, another gay cleric asked me (of the Church of England's latest version of its endless sexuality debates) - "Why should I care? In the end, it's always a bunch of straight people deciding together what I'm worth."

Ethical leadership isn't just about external frames of reference for a Christian. It's about understanding you are leading …