Scottish Kirk in disarray over Gay Minister

The Scottish Kirk has erupted in controversy over the appointment of an openly gay minister. Individual churches appoint their ministers, and Scott Rennie got over 80% in support of his appointment to Queen's Cross Parish Church in Aberdeen. Those who voted in favour did so with the full knowledge of his private life.

He is now the subject of an online campaign to remove him.

The petition reads:

We urge the Assembly to support the position of those who stood to defend Christian orthodoxy in Aberdeen Presbytery, and ensure instead that the Church will apply and assert in practice its clear doctrinal position on all matters of marriage and human sexuality, by refusing to condone homosexual practice in general, and among its leaders in particular.

I was tempted to provide quotes from Scott Rennie about his long and complicated journey in dealing with his sexuality, and his heartfelt agony over it, but for me, that is not the point. For me, the point is that this is another example of a heavy handed attempt to impose top-down governance. It makes me angry that others consider it their duty to tell a local community what they should do.

I feel, however, that I have to add that it is incomprehensible to me that someone with a vocation for the Church should be hounded like this. It places the Church in a position of judgement and actually, arch nastiness. I have no problem with them having an opinion, or even telling me that homosexuality is a sin. I just do not think it sits well with the intent of their founder:

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17)

As a Christian, I believe that each of us will give an account of ourselves before God, on the Day of Judgement. Until then, let he who is without sin cast the first stone, or fuck off.


subrosa said...

Religion causes wars, kindness, forgiveness and understanding make peace. Good post WW. I was reading J Arthur Numpty's post on the same subject. His opinion was similar to yours but have a look -Lallands has an interesting comment too.

strapworld said...

I'm off then!

Indy said...

You address what seems to be the paradox in this debate. I was always under the impression that the governance of presbyterian churches was based on congregations being able to appoint ministers of their choosing. Maybe it's not that simple, not being a churchgoer I don't really know. But it seems to me that seeking to over-ride that principle would do more damage to the Church of Scotland surely than having an 'openly' gay minister who has the support of his congregation. Especially since the problem appears to be that he is 'openly' gay rather than secretly gay.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Well said, Indy. Gay isn't going to go away. Scott Rennie has the guts to present his case, warts and all, and the local people made a decision. 80% of the vote is pretty good, since you never get a unanimous one in any circumstances.

There really are more important things in Christendom than this issue. Heavy handed, top-down interference, as you say, will simply undermine the situation.

mark said...

Good people do good things,

Bad people do bad things,

For good people to do bad things you just add religion.

Aye We Can ! said...

well said, Mr Weasel

John MacLeod said...

I don't - in the context of the Church of Scotland and its many problems and failings - agree with the tactical decision of those who organised this petition and I have refused to sign it.

But to misquote the Gospel of John - Jesus told the woman in the portion you quote to 'go and sin no more' is intellectually dishonest; and to end a reasonable argument with an abusive obscenity is self-demeaning and stupid.

But homosexual acts are incompatible with Bible teaching; they are incompatible with the wider tradition of the Church Catholic and Universal; and they are on both counts incompatible with the ministry of the Gospel. If we discount either strand of authority, the Church becomes meaningless and irrelevant: nothing more than the Liberal Democrats with hymns.

There is a dimension of this case, besides, that you are missing: Rev. Scott Rennie deserted his wife for his boyfriend. It is difficult to see how a man in that position could credibly conduct, for instance, a marriage service; far less take the vows of induction to a new pastorate.

Anonymous said...

Apparently eating shell fish is also ‘incompatible’ as well as lending money with interest but the Church seem to have moved with the times on these issues, or do you not have a mortgage, support slavery and the stoning of your wave as per the ‘Gospel’?

If you had looked into this matter you would have found out that Scott Rennie did no such thing as “desert his wife for his boyfriend.” His marriage had been over for two years before he addressed his sexuality, never mind finding an understanding and caring person to share his life with.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

"to end a reasonable argument with an abusive obscenity is self-demeaning and stupid."

Sorry John. Thank you for commenting.

The "obscenity" was a conscious effort, by means of rhetoric (irony in particular)to link between the archaic syntax of translated Scripture and modern argot - the purpose being to imply that the words of Christ actually sit quite well with today's world.

If it didn't work that way for you, I crapped out.

As anon says, and as I deliberately did not go into, Scott Rennie's struggle was a long and tortuous one, (I believe, a sincere and very difficult one) and you are factually incorrect to say that he left his wife for a gay partner.