“Truths to Live By” (Part 2) – “Don’t Conceal the Truth” by the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans
During most of my childhood my father had a secret alternative family. He had a longstanding affair with a woman in the next village by whom he had had a daughter. This was known, or at least suspected, by my mother, and eventually by my sisters and me, but it was never confronted or spoken of. It hung in the air for years, generating pain, anger, suspicion, and endless little lies designed to cover up the great big Lie that no one could face.
I used to think I had the stupidest family in the world, but now I know we were far from exceptional. It made me determined that I was never going to live the kind of lie that messed up our family. When I became a Christian in my teens John 8.32 was my natural motto. I started writing ‘the truth will set you free’ on the flyleaf of all my books.
I didn’t realise at the time that in joining the Church I had swapped one dysfunctional family for another – only in the Church, the lying was mainly about being gay.
Still later I discovered the irony that the same text is the motto of the Anglican Communion!
The habit of lying about gayness is ingrained in the Church and is age-old. In this dysfunctional family honest gay couples who want to declare their faithfulness in marriage are forbidden to do so by bishops of whom several are or have been secretly gay or bisexual themselves.
Truthful gay clergy and ordinands are excluded and unlicensed; the untruthful are accepted and promoted. Those in control try to convince themselves that the lying is necessary to hold the show together. The Big Lie spawns endless little lies and cover-ups and corrupts everybody.
But the truth is, only the truth sets you free and saves you.
We have seen it happen in our society, and it is starting to happen in the Church, however hard the leaders and their lawyers try to stop it. The edifice of lies is crumbling, and great will be the fall of it.
So here’s another favourite text and Voice of Hope: ‘Stand up, hold your heads high, for the day of your liberation is near’ (Luke 21.28).
Lord Jesus, you are the way, the truth and the life.
Give us courage to be true to you and true to ourselves, and set us all free to live and love in the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Tomorrow – Lucy Gorman, “The Battle is God’s”, 2 Chronicles 20: 15