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Letters to the editor graphic by Uniting Communications.
Graphic: Uniting Communications

Letters June 2015

Why change?

I agree with all the letters in the May issue of Journey. There is nothing to talk about, God’s word is clear. He made Eve. No I am not narrow-minded, these gay people have been around since the year dot but it was always kept quiet.

Why should we change ways for them? All the publicity they get is wrong. To me they are weak people. How would the population grow? No, God knows best.

Marjorie Mourilyan
Living Rivers Uniting Church, Coomera

Love the gay community

I was very happy to read Rev Alistair Macrae’s comments in your article on marriage (“Marriage: We’re talking about it”, May 2015, page six). Discussion on this important issue should not be cheapened by reduction to our favourite Bible verses or cultural quips. These important issues require careful thought to do what is right.

However, after all this time I fear that the Uniting Church’s fear of disunity is preventing it from taking a decisive stance on this matter. The current position of neither blessing nor condemning gay relationships is easy and convenient for the church but leaves its gay members in a difficult position.

In the meantime, I hope the Uniting Church’s struggle over this issue doesn’t prevent it from actively loving the gay community. The church could gain much moral authority by showing hospitality to disowned gay youths or assisting suicide prevention services. Let’s not restrict the church’s mission to only politics.

Adam Myers

Looking forward to conversation

I support Journey’s publication of news about Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in the April edition (“Uniting Church marches with pride”, page 10). It is important to share stories about all our members and support agencies. I appreciate Bruce Mullan’s article “Marriage: We’re talking about it” (May 2015, page six). It assists us to grasp the realities of our current situation. I also look forward to continuing our conversations on this topic.

However as a senior I found the black type on a dark blue background difficult to read. Please consider the needs of readers with “old and tired” eyes when designing the print editions of this excellent magazine. Thank you for your hard work on our behalf.

Lorna Skilton
Middle Ridge Uniting Church

You are selling out on marriage

I picked up Journey in the Wesley Hospital after visiting a friend. I was absolutely amazed that your writers are “selling out” to the spirit of our times in accepting homosexual relationships as reconcilable with our faith (“Marriage: We’re talking about it”, May 2015, page six). I think most Christians would agree that, quite apart from the Bible, nature and common sense inform us of their illegitimacy. The first article seems to say that if we don’t like what the Bible says, we can supersede it with “experience”—an idea that seems extremely loose. The second article (“Free to be different”, May 2015, page eight) goes further by appealing to a Triune perspective—an argument that could be used to support polyamory as well. Where is our faith, the faith of our fathers? Instead, we are seeing our churches make such concessions to our age as to be indistinguishable from it, whereas we need to debate marriage from an anthropological perspective, I think, as indicated in scripture, “Male and female he made them”.

Warwick Adeney
Annerley Catholic Church, Brisbane

Walk with Jesus

This month we celebrate the 38th anniversary of church union. Since 1977 many things have occurred, all contributing to and shaping the church we see today.

The traditions we have known in the past are starting to give way to things we may now find hard to accept (“Marriage: We’re talking about it”, May 2015, page six). This different environment reminds us of the new world of compliance, regulation, social change and community attitudes. All these raise the question, “What should we do?”

As we mark this union of a different kind than that of marriage and approach the Assembly meeting, it is perhaps time to reflect on the words of Robin Mann’s “Walking down the road”—“Oh, stay by my side, Jesus, you be my guide/don’t you know how I trust in you/Show me where I should call/pick me up when I fall/as I’m walkin’ down the road with you.”

Allan Gibson OAM
Wesley Castle Hill Uniting Church, NSW

Consider 21st century insights

Thank you, Journey and Bruce Mullan for a balanced look at marriage given that it is a topic to be considered at the Assembly in July and it is a subject that is very much in the arena of public discussion (“Marriage: We’re talking about it”, May 2015, page six). Particularly insightful was the question about same-gender relationships asked by Rev Bill Loader: “Do new insights lead us to more differentiated conclusions than theirs (the first century Christians)?”

If we are to use Wesley’s four pillars of scripture, tradition, reason and experience as the legs of a chair to help in discernment, it will be a very unbalanced chair we sit on if we deny the reason (knowledge) and experience of the 21st century when making decisions on same-gender relationships and marriage.

What a pity that the simple definition of the word “marriage” will hold the church back from seeking equality for all in this aspect of life when a simple change such as that of the Presbyterian Church in USA could make such a difference.

Desley Garnett
Merthyr Road Uniting Church, New Farm

What’s the deal with the Uniting Church?

The latest Journey asks the question, “What’s the deal with marriage?” I would like to ask, what’s the deal with the rainbow wedding cake, and the Uniting Church participation in the hedonistic Mardi Gras? What’s the deal with bringing it all up again?

It’s not as though the Bible is vague on the subject; it is very clear. We’ve had the discussions, we put in our submissions, we signed the petitions (all ignored) and we lost thousands. I have stayed only because of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations. Does the Uniting Church never learn? Now we are in trouble—shortage of ministers, shortage of funds, shortage of members. Is this progress?  Only as we honour God and his Word can we expect his blessing.

Val Pym
Iona West Uniting Church, Mackay

This is how they were born

It gave me great pride to read in Journey about Uniting Church participation in the Sydney Mardi Gras (“Uniting Church marches with pride”, April 2015, page 10) however, the three letters in the May edition of Journey decrying this filled me with dismay. Quoting isolated Bible verses to address issues we face in the 21st century is not convincing. It is time to be authentic in dealing with real life situations.

I think of our daughter and son. Our daughter has battled challenges at work—being gay, claiming Aboriginality and coping with the results of a head injury. Our son is in the mental health unit.

Our children did not choose to live like this. This is how they were born. We love them and will always support them as they are “part of God’s plan, part of the fabric of creation”.

We are blessed with having a loving and caring community which supports us as parents and engages with our son and daughter with great respect and friendliness.

Alwyn Thomas
The Gap Uniting Church

Be welcoming, loving, accepting

I was pleased and encouraged to see the article in the April Journey on the Uniting Church floats at Mardi Gras. Jesus practised welcoming, loving acceptance and it’s great to see that message being shared.

Also, congratulations to UnitingCare NSW for supporting LGBTIQ residents in aged care.

I look forward to continued discussion on marriage as raised in the May edition of Journey.

And to those who wrote letters to the editor in May, I pray for the LGBTIQ people in your communities, especially the young people, that they will not be a statistic of those who suicide or self-harm, but that they may know and experience God’s love, as we all can, as children created by God.

Christabel Carvolth
Indooroopilly Uniting and Centenary Uniting, Brisbane

All letters must directly address articles and letters from the previous month’s edition of
Journey. Opinions expressed are only indicative of the individual writer, not their entire congregation. While direct responses to letters are acceptable, ongoing discussions about an article more than two months old will not be published.

Full submission guidelines for letters to the editor can be found at journeyonline.com.au/submit

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