Last week a book I was reading and a film I watched had an unexpected connection – the book was Richard Coles’ Fathomless Riches and the film was Pride. I would strongly recommend both; as a gay Christian who is in discernment for ministry Richard Coles’ story of conversion from pop star to priest was encouraging and fascinating. It also reminded me how God calls the most unlikely among us to become his messengers – look at Moses or Paul, both were not exactly model citizens prior to their conversion, however, God used both of them. Coles’ story demonstrates how God has not only a plan for all of us, but also that he often calls us when we are at our lowest – I know that was the case for me. I first encountered the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s grace when I was in hospital, a moment of utter despair was broken with the light of Christ.
Pride tells the story of the Lesbian and Gays support the Miners group; an unlikely alliance between this gay rights group and the small welsh mining town of Onllwyn. The connection with Coles’ book came from the group’s leader Mark Ashton who was a friend of Coles’ and both were involved in the left wing group Red Wedge. The film shows the struggles and hardship both sides faced when trying to fight persecution and discrimination. However, it also showed how unity can be found in the most unlikely scenarios and friendships formed in adversity. Pride reminded me the importance of standing up for what is right, even when that stance has personal risk, also to support those who are different and may disagree with you.
At a time when the church is deeply divided over homosexuality it is important to remember what unites us – salvation through Christ crucified, resurrected and his great commission to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.