Blake wrote of the marriage of Heaven and Hell, C S Lewis wrote of its divorce. The brouhaha over the ordination of gays to the bishopric (no pun intended) is set to fragment what George Carey once called a 'big, happy family' - the Anglican communion. Seventeen million Nigerians and the view of their Archbishop is a force to be reckoned with, and they, together with their brethren in Uganda, conservatives all, are set to give poor old ++Rowan a rough ride in the next little while. His only response so far has been to affirm in 2005 that 'any lasting solution...will require people to admit that they were wrong'... Those of you who know me will recall that gentlemen - or indeed ladies - dressed in expensive flummery who are required to hold their hands in particular, sacramentally appropriate ways while dispensing bread and wine excite mild curiosity but little by way of transcendent joy. Similarly, despite my robustly nonconformist background, their evangelical counterparts hold little fascination, except for admiration for a faith which is transparently naive. Few would go quite as far as the gay Bishop of New Hampshire, upon whose saintly head much outrage has descended, when he suggested that Jesus might himself have been homosexual. Deconstructionist spin. Worked for Tony Blair.
A lady priest I know has no objection to gay priests - quite the reverse - reasons given, inter alia, is that they are often pastorally more adept and emotionally intelligent than their straight counterparts. At great depth, in the dungeon of my own soul, where the elevator descends no further, something murky rises against such thinking, although for the life of me I cannot reasonably fault it. The enlightened condescension of the mature thinker who has long since left all such superstition behind, where shadows blur comfortably, leaving few sharp edges, is both enviable and quietly disturbing. I think I must be showing my age. The image is Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin's interpretation, the Tom of Finland lookalikes give the game away nicely.