On Friday, David and I decided to leave our church. It has been coming for a while, for any number of reasons.
First, and this is for me alone, I feel my own spirituality is chganging, in fact moving back towards the religious humanism of my Quaker years. Whilst the sojourn into Anglo-Catholicism was inspiring and at times enlightening, I always felt I was very much on the liberal side of that movement, and at heart, I am a liberal, not a catholic Christian.
Second, our disillusion with the Church as an institution has reached far greater proportions, and I don't feel that our congregation is in the front line of resistance to its worst elements. In particular, I feel that its position is becoming more, not less catholic, and recent piety concerning the death of JP2 summed it up, along with the lukewarm at best attitude towards women in the priesthood. There can be absolutely no excuse for discrimination on those grounds, particularly when it comes from non-celibate gay priests only too willing to sit on their hands when it comes to achieving real change.
Third, our own church faces some real problems which I think it is neither capable of facing nor prepared to take the radical action necessary. A congregation which is 70% , 70+ is not viable, and whilst there are those who want to look towards new ways of doing and being church, I don't think it will work without the enthusiastic and wholehearted support of the incumbent, and its clear enough that he is doing all he can to undermine change.
Fourth, I recognise that many ethical positions held by the conventional church are far from what I believe - in particular (obviously) gay and lesbian equality, but also voluntary euthanasia, which I strongly and passionately believe in.
So ... where to now?
I am going to meet up with a couple of clergy I respect in the next couple of weeks, go back to Quaker meeting for a few weeks, and continue to contemplate and seek direction.
Incidentally, on the voluntary euthanasia issue - if you are undecidsed on the issue, then go and see the marvellous Spanish film ' The Sea Inside'. A call for dignity, autonomy, and freedom.