Mr Livingstone I presume…that was a good presumption and turned out to be right. It’s the presumptions that are a bit skewed by our own bias that can go awry.
This blog topic jumped to mind after I spent the morning in the company of a Bishop at the primary school where I’m a governor. It was a great morning, very uplifting and far more fun than I’d anticipated it being. I’d presumed the Bishop would be a bit stiff- shirty (I think I just made that up) but he really was a blessing. The kind of person you know spends a lot of time with God, he radiated it.
Thinking about that led me to contemplate other presumptions. I’ve been telling part of my personal faith story a lot of late. And I’ve been bowled over by the heartfelt response I’ve gotten to it. I’ve been really encouraged by the positive welcome I’ve received at St Agnes’s North Reddish but I do worry I haven’t done enough to stop presumptions.
I left two churches because I didn’t feel I could be really and truly myself there. The first church I left voted against re-electing me to a position purely because of what I write. I know that wasn’t nice and it was seriously painful at the time but just because they made one decision I don’t approve of doesn’t make them bad people. They’re lovely. I enjoyed the vast majority of my time with them. Much kindness and love was shown to me and my family and appreciate that now as much as I ever did.
It was my decision to leave. I couldn’t stay somewhere I couldn’t be myself. I don’t wish them anything but blessings and joy and I pray for them regularly. It’d be really easy for me to hold a grudge, to further the assumption that they’re mean and nasty. I could tell the world their name, but I won’t because that doesn’t help anyone, does it?
I’m not perfect, not by a long shot. For a long time I presumed that all the folks telling me that being gay was a sin were correct, they were people I respected and so I didn’t challenge it. Not until I got out into the world, met gay folks of all kinds and found out (shock, horror!) that they’re just like me. My assumption was blown out of the water and now I’ll campaign for equal marriage until it’s a reality.
What it boils down to is that we all have our pluses and minuses and God accepts us as we are,hallelujah! It’s a good job really, isn’t it? I know we’ll all still jump to conclusions, I know I do it all the time. Next time we do it though, we just need to remember that our conclusion isn’t always right…