Instincts, urges and conferences

Primates together

The Church will soon be having its conferences and synods about human sexuality and civil partnerships. At Clergy meetings we hear about attitudes to scripture and the importance of pastoral sensitivity. It is said—quite rightly—that the Church has got its knickers in a complete twist by having a conference about this issue, whilst having said little or nothing about the rape of the country by the wide boys of political-financial cronyism. I would go so far as to say that the Church’s knickers are now round its ankles. They are in danger of tripping it up with a Galileo-style mistake in which the evidence of science and senses is ignored.

It seems to me that all the discussions miss the most important thing of all. In case it has passed you by, girls and boys, we are animals. We are mammals. We are apes. Stand with no clothes on in front of a mirror and use your eyes. Anatomy and physiology confirm this. We are governed by animal instincts and urges that come from, amongst other places, hormones secreted by our glands, and glands that are controlled by natural rhythms.

Holy Scripture tells us that each one of us is made in the image of the Divine. Just as I am, just as you are. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. So Jesus must love my glands too. And their secretions. And the effects they have. And the processes by which they developed from the moment that my father’s sperm fertilised my mother’s egg. So how can there be an intelligent discussion on human sexuality without considering what we know about the development of sex organs, sex hormones, their effects, the development of psychological sex, emotions and the nature of sexual attraction? I ask you.

How can we be certain enough to make universal rules? Experts differ about the meaning and interpretation of Holy Scripture. How can we be certain what words in a language no longer spoken meant to people who wrote and first read them 2000 years ago? Pastoral considerations can never be wholly reliable because I am not you and you are not I—even if I know myself and you know yourself. I wonder how many of those with the loudest voices have actually looked into themselves and wondered where their thoughts, and urges, and instincts, and gut reactions come from.

If the conference displays to the world that the Church has its priorities wrong, will anyone be surprised? Will anyone care any more?

About Rambling Rector

Church of England Parish Priest
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