To steal a phrase from my placement supervisor, the Church of Scotland has managed to kick the ball into the long grass again, but they’re running out of long grass. In a ‘compromise’ motion, which I suspect the Assembly was only too happy to go for, the Church will set up a special commission to consult with presbyteries and Kirk sessions and report back in 2011.
I guess it wasn’t entirely unexpected and I don’t think that this assembly was the time or the place to discuss the matter, especially with emotions running high over the Scott Rennie situation. It is a little disappointing though that the debate continues to trundle on. That said, the debate, in reality, will trundle on forever because there will always be a group at one end or the other who will not accept the views of the other. I do hope though, that the opportunity will be taken for ‘proper’ dialogue on the whole issue, largely so that the ‘middle majority’ in congregations can actually be exposed to the understanding of all aspects of this issue and not simply exposed to the rhetoric that comes from either extreme.
I’ll also be interested to see what the implications of the second clause in the motion are. Maybe this’ll be my last blog on the issue?!
I’d been following the debate via the webcast, the online updates and Twitter (who says men can’t multi-task). I was almost tempted to sign up for Twitter when I read some of the comments appearing after the motion was accepted. Apparently the CofS is now an apostate church and all the ‘real Christians’ will leave. Apart from finding this comment extremely offensive, my concern is that this is now reflective of a growing view of the Church.
I think the Special Commission has the potential to do a lot of good, particularly if it encourages the right sort of open dialogue. I do pray that the Church will use this opportunity to put to rest a lot of the homophobia that surrounds this issue and that, even if positions aren’t accepted, they are at least respected. Furthermore, it has the potential for great education in theology and Biblical interpretation, because these are at the heart of the debate.
Anyway, off to find the correct wording of section 2 which spoke about the moratorium on press releases and other such public disclosure.
Update: I think the amended section 2 (if I’ve followed the amendments correctly) reads as follows:
Instruct all Courts, Councils and Committees of the Church not to issue press statements or talk to the media or to make decisions in relation to contentious matters of human sexuality, with respect to Ordination and Induction to the Ministry of the Church of Scotland, until 31 May 2011
Update 2: This from the CofS website:
There is a moratorium on direct public discussion until May 2011 but in a way which allows councils of the church to carry on with their necessary work.
Hmm.. this is more than a little concerning. I think I’d still need to see the final wording to know whether I can continue to blog on it – after all I am under the courts of the church.