Sara Gillingham writes on her experience of leaving Church after experiencing ‘Living in Love and Faith’
It is now over six months since I made the decision to leave the Church of England, and I feel far better for doing so.
I was left scarred by my experience of the inner machinations of the Church and the Living in Love and Faith Project. It was some years ago at the Regional Shared Conversations that I shared my experience of growing up as a Christian with intersex traits (also known as ‘variations in sex characteristics’, VSC). For the uninitiated, intersex traits can include variations in chromosomes, gonads or genitalia that do not fit the typical binary of what it is to be born male or female (not to be confused with transgender).
During this time I had people without invitation praying for me to be healed, ordained priests refusing to share the Peace with me, being labelled ‘disordered’ and having rumours spread through my Diocese that I was really a man with bad intentions. But I have frankly moved on from this bad experience of Church by simply leaving it.
Listening to the General Election debate makes me think of David Attenborough’s nature programmes. In species after species, the males fight. The females mate with the winners. The rest of the time they live in groups where they cooperate with each other.
We humans have evolved with two instincts: to cooperate and to compete. When we compete we want to win, and we want somebody else to lose – or at least, to go away and not bother us again. On this matter, the dominant values of British politics today are the values of the worst religious traditions, not the best.
Since another British General Election is imminent, I’m planning a few blog posts on the values of our political culture and how they compare with religious values. As a Christian I shall focus on the Christian tradition, but many of the points would apply equally to other traditions.
This post is about the relationship between the two. Modern western culture has developed a distinct theory. It has now been exported all over the world but it began in Europe just over 300 years ago for specific reasons.