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Photo: Abel, by Henry Vidal in Tuileries Garden, Paris, France  Credit:http://www.flickr.com/photos/proimos/4199675334/

By Luke Moon (@lukemoon1)

A low ranking Church of England vicar got rather nasty after the recent vote for gay marriage in the UK.  Rev Marcus Ramshaw thoughtlessly used Facebook to rant against the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Rev. Ramshaw publicly declared the Archbishop “a homophobic, hypocritical bigot and should not be a Christian.”  But it was not for calling his boss a bigot that made international headlines, rather it was Rev. Ramshaws accusation that the Archbishop was in fact an onanist.

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However, before he made international news for calling the Archbishop of Canterbury a wanker Reverend Marcus Ramshaw stirred up controversy for creating the Goth Eucharist.  In 2006, Marcus Ramshaw was the assistant chaplain at St. Edward’s Church in Cambridge and was looking for new ways to attract young people to his church.  As a self-described Goth, he had to look no further than his wardrobe, the church’s closet of candles, and the playlist on his iPod.

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Music by Joy Division and Depeche Mode, tons of candles, and a specially written liturgy it must have been clear to the participants that in spite of their black lipstick and baggy clothes God was in their midst.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you view such gimmicks, the annual Goth Eucharist has dwindled to just 7 or 8 people.

According to the documentary which featured the Goth Eucharist, “The structure of the service revolved around the baptismal candle and reflected a serious engagement with the darker sides of life before moving towards a position of hope and joy found in the empathy of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Hopefully the participants found more than empathy. Hopefully they found salvation.

I have engaged in countless discussions over the years about whether one can adjust the method of worship and not adjust the message of the Gospel.  While in theory I would accept the possibility, I have noticed over the years that those who adjusted the method eventually begin to adjust the message.  In the case of Rev. Ramshaw it seems to be his progression.  His affirmation of homosexuality is not consistent with the teachings of the gospel which recognizes that through Christ all people can be set free from the bondage of sin.  The path from Goth Eucharist to calling the Archbishop of Canterbury an onanist is perhaps part of the broad way our Lord warned about.