Eva Brunne is considered a trailblazer in her home country. As the first lesbian bishop in the Church of Sweden, she established her groundbreaking credentials, whether you agree with the move or not. Brunne apparently isn’t content to just be the first lesbian bishop. Oh no, she wants to transform the church.
No, not in a good way. From Breitbart:
The church targeted is the Seamen’s mission church in Stockholm’s eastern dockyards. The Bishop held a meeting there this year and challenged the priest to explain what he’d do if a ship’s crew came into port who weren’t Christian but wanted to pray.
Calling Muslim guests to the church “angels“, the Bishop later took to her official blog to explain that removing Christian symbols from the church and preparing the building for Muslim prayer doesn’t make a priest any less a defender of the faith. Rather, to do any less would make one “stingy towards people of other faiths”.
The bishop insisted this wasn’t an issue, after all airports and hospitals already had multi-faith prayer rooms, and converting the dockyard church would only bring it up to speed. Regardless, the announcement has aroused protest.
Unfortunately, Brunne forgets that these multi-faith prayer rooms are purpose-built facilities designed for people who may feel the need be close to God as they understand Him, but can’t really leave for whatever reason. They’re not churches and never were.
Brunne would be better served by working toward setting up such a multi-faith facility in close proximity to the docks.
Instead, she is seeking to purge the perfect symbol of our faith in order to invite in others who not only don’t share that church’s faith but who aren’t going to be brought to Christ. Especially not this way.
Luckily, Brunne did encounter some pushback.
Father Patrik Pettersson, one of the priests in her diocese and active in the same parish as the Seaman’s mission church has hit back in a blog of his own, complaining there is no way you could equate a consecrated church with a prayer room, remarking “I should have thought a bishop would be able to tell the difference”.
Calling the bishop’s words “theologically unthinking”, he asked what was to be done with crucifixes screwed to the walls, and heavy items such as baptismal fonts.
“Ignoring the rhetorical murmuring”, Pettersson wrote: “The only argument bishop Eva really put forward in support of her view is ‘hospitality’… How do you respond to that? Not much of a basis for discussion, as one colleague put it. The theological, ecclesiological, pastoral and working issues are left untouched”.
Pettersson is right. Besides the logistical problems, this whole concept seems more about Brunne’s desire to be “nice” rather than doing anything at all consistent with her church’s understanding of their mission to God.
Honestly, the idea of Muslim prayer spaces at a church makes as much sense as Brunne’s diocese opening a brothel. After all, isn’t that all about “hospitality” as well?
Let’s hope she abandons these nonsensical plans and remembers her mission to Christ. Hint: It’s about serving Christ, not the Muslims who reject his divine nature.