It would be good, at this time, for us traditionalists to remind ourselves that Bishop Chamberlain’s commitment to his partner most likely involves the kinds of virtues traditional Christians have long celebrated between people of the same sex: loyalty, comradeship, kindness, and a host of others. The fact that the bishop practices these virtues while experiencing himself as same-sex attracted is no proof that those virtues are thereby diminished. And it is also no proof that he is living a so-called double life.
But maybe I could also say something about what I find myself wishing Bishop Chamberlain might say publicly someday. I find myself thinking about something another Englishman, Martin Hallett, wrote several years ago:
There are probably nearly as many Christians with homosexual feelings who do not believe that homosexual sex is right for Christians as there are those who are advocating its acceptance”¦. A friend of mine in Sweden (Erik) is a Lutheran priest who believes in the traditional biblical teaching on sexuality and has homosexual feelings himself. He determined, from the beginning of his call to the ordained ministry, that he would be open about his sexuality at every stage”¦. Ultimately, as more evangelicals make such a public stand, it will seem less costly and will, I believe, have a tremendous impact for the kingdom of God”¦. [I want to] encourage those leaders in the church who have homosexual feelings but who believe homosexual sex is wrong to be more open. People like Erik”¦ are not a tiny minority in terms of all homosexuals in the church”¦. I wish their voices could be heard saying that “We believe our homosexuality is part of our value and giftedness to the church, but homosexual sex is a sin.” What a difference this would make to the life, witness, and future of the body of Christ.
What a difference indeed.