Symon Hill embodies the polar opposite of the sort archetypal Christian I address in my blog post “Do not use Christianity to justify your own homophobic prejudices“. In that blog I argued some Christians used their faith as a lazy excuse to perpetuate their own homophobic views. This is stark contrast to Symon who is actively using his Christian views to question prejudice.
If some Christians are complacent in my previous criticism, then Symon Hill is there to challenge them (I might add from a far superior theological understanding to myself). On this occasion he is doing this by undertaking a walk of repentance for his previously held views on sexuality. He will walk 150-200 miles from Birmingham to London stopping at churches to raise awareness of the issue.
Symon has a powerful back story which adds weight to his walk. Earlier this year he told Pinknews, “I was fine with homosexuality and bisexuality before I became a Christian in my late teens. But after my conversion, I thought that opposition to same-sex relationships was ‘part of the deal’, even though my own sexual feelings had not been exclusively heterosexual (and still aren’t). This was partly out of a desire to fit in at the church I had joined. That church was very good in many ways, and had a very positive effect on me in other areas of my life, but I think they were severely mistaken about sexuality. Having adopted that view, I then campaigned against the ordination of ministers in same-sex relationships and spoke out strongly against Christian acceptance of
Symon is now repenting for the hurt he caused during this time. Interestingly for me, he has attracted wide-spread support from across different denominations. Symon suggests that this “is a reminder that there is growing acceptance of same-sex relationships across nearly all wings of Christianity. Church divisions over sexuality are not – as the media sometimes imply – a matter of “liberals” on the one hand and “conservatives” or “evangelicals” on the other”. In his words and actions he is giving reformers within all denominations a focal point and a voice.
I find his boldness and strength of conviction heartening. I have had the pleasure of previously attending a training session that he was running (on a completely different issue), and can vouch for his passion, integrity and enthusiasm. I would encourage anyone who is free to go and listen to him speak. I am sure he would be able to tackle the potential antagonisms between Christianity and homosexuality with more grace, composure and eloquence than I can ever hope to muster.
I wish Symon all the best on his walk. I am sure it will be challenging for him both physically but also emotionally. Let me know your thoughts if you go to hear him speak.
Lockhead is the biggest supplier to the US military
For many, the involvement of US arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin in undertaking the UK census is unacceptable. The census, which takes place once every ten years, is due to take place on March 27th 2011. Personally, I find it deplorable that a company which has been shown to arm oppressive regimes could then be tasked to undertake this sort of task.
A boycott has been organised and supported by a number of organisations including CAAT and the stop the war coalition. Interestingly, the Green Party has called for people to take part in the census despite still maintaining an opposition to Lockheed’s involvement, which is different to their previous position. Here I will link two opposing arguments about whether or not you should boycott the census. Both start from the premises that Lockerhead should not be involved. The first is by Symon Hill, taken from the think tank Ekklesia blog. The second is by Don Paskini, taken from the notorious “liberal conspiracy” blog. Let me know what you think!