There has been a lot of comment made recently about the Church of England’s General Synod failing to receive the bishops’ report on sexuality.
It is a very emotive subject because it impacts on everyone in society in varying degrees. You have those who argue for a free for all and that the Church should be permitted to perform gay marriages.
You then have the other extreme claiming that all gays are going to hell.
Given such extremes it is hard to see that there can be any agreement.
I find it very distressing to hear the kind of vitriol that is poured out by both extremes against the opposing side.
It does not reflect at all well upon them and as a consequence upon the whole Church.
A thousand years ago it was just three words that caused the split between the western and eastern churches.
The Holy Spirit was said to proceed from the Father – and the Son.
Those three words, “and the Son”, was a belief that the eastern churches could not accept and so it caused the rift.
We humans are strange creatures!
There is a quality which is so often talked about and is indeed one of the four qualities which defines Britishness.
It is quite simply tolerance, the ability to accept and respect another’s differences – even if you do not agree with them.
Tolerance does not mean that you have to say yes to everything. You can still say no to something and yet do it in such a way that it does not imply hatred, in fact quite the opposite.
I recall an elderly lady some years ago, very prim and proper, talking about one of the unmarried girls in her care home who was distressed having just discovered that she was unexpectedly pregnant.
The old dear was highly supportive of this young girl and she commented that there but for the grace of God it could have been her in that situation when she had been younger.
She understood and was able to express tolerance in such a caring positive way.
It is a quality that so many in society today appear to be lacking.
So whatever the issue that fires your blood before you jump to an aggressive stance of high indignation and start attacking the people involved with insults and vitriol just pause a moment and reflect that but for a chance combination of genes or social circumstances consider that you could so easily have been counted among the very people you are about to attack.
We all need to seek to exhibit a little more tolerance and the world would be a far better place.