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May 16, 2009


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It seems to me the Apostle Paul discouraged everyone from bogging themselves down in the Holy Bonds of Matrimony. :)


And to think I did a wedding earlier today... maybe I'll post some of sermon notes...


a) i think that the basis is not two, but many, a large community of believers.
b) i think that the spirit of god is constantly renewing. paul did not like women talking in the church, there is a constant christian tradition, founded in natural law, that women should only be mothers, that they should not speak, but the bishop of edmonton is a woman. i wonder if views on same gender marriage is similar to that.
c) i think that we as humans are not natural, that much of what we do, and what we consider is not natural, and i think that there could be a xian ethic constructed around rising out of the muck of what is called natural.
d) i think that marriage, sexuality, and gender are much more mysterious and holy, more sacred and raptously confusing then this slot a, tab b, women are this way and men are this opposite way many conserative theologians construct that narrative, but then i am unsure how stable or how useful the category sets women and men are.
e) i think that we (liberals, queers?) have to listen and carefully, prayerfully, respectfully listen to what (conserative, straight?) theologians are telling us if they are careful and respectful (ie not akinola)
f)i will register at tiffanys


>> i think that we as humans are not natural, that much of what we do, and what we consider is not natural, and i think that there could be a xian ethic constructed around rising out of the muck of what is called natural.

So very true. And it leads to the question what is natural in the muck sense of the word and how does a person rise out of it.


a) are you conceding that Jesus is making a valid point as you shift to Paul? On what basis should the church shift its understanding?
b) there is a biblical tradition, going back at least to the book of Judges, which places women (eg Deborah) in positions of leadership. On another level, Leslie's point comes into play in much of early Christian history, where celibacy was much more of a preferred option for both men and women than it is today.
c) here is where the confusion really begins: what is "natural", and how does a Christian ethic address "nature"? In some sense, all of creation, when seen through the lens of Christian revelation, must be seen as broken - which is precisely why Jesus refers back to an intention in creation as normative.
d) that is because you fail to address the understanding that heterosexual relationship is the place within which the imitation of the creative acts of God takes place: the thing which is truly "much more mysterious and holy, more sacred and raptously confusing" is the creation of new human life - new human beings. Your statement sets up a strawman. It is precisely because of gender difference that such mystery, sacredness and yes, even confusion, can and does arise. And the goal of sexuality points beyond itself - it points to the co creation of, well, us - people.
e) agreed, and it needs to work from both sides if it is find any redemptive charity in the whole exercise
f) do you like crystal?


a) if we are to follow christ, we should construct our lives in small nomadic communities without being married, we should sepereate and not construct new families: "And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death." Matthew 10:21, MJV. I am shifting to Paul because he and the other apostles attempted to create a living ethic out of some of the more thornier passages of Paul.
b) but then we also have Naomi/Ruth, or David/Johnathon as examples of same gendered devotion. Plus, the idea of homosexuality did not exist until the 19th century. So we have to figure out what we can triangulate and what is moving to far. (like how the Amish spend time thinking about if they really need that new peice of technology.
c) But i think that normative quality is not heterosexual marriage, in fact making a Christian argument for any kind of marriage is fairly difficult. What is normative for Christ (Ephesians 1:1-23). If we are going to argue that people should be hitched, then it is a way of norming them, of taming them. The whole conserative desire for homosexuals is for them to be civilized, and what civilises us more then monogamy?
d) I think this is the sticking point. I know how important and vital your children are to you, and how they are central to being a good christian. I think that fatherhood is a vocation, and to have sex is a blessing. Some blessings lead to vocations and some move away from them. For queer folks, the blessings of sex are not a blessing of childhood, but of joy, companionship, unity, etc.
e) let's continue this conversation then.
f) only waterford


a) what your argument is now addressing is not the nature of the sacrament of marriage, but its place within an apocalyptic vision. Jesus does not negate marriage - in fact he celebrates it, as seen in the marriage feast of Cana, and the subsequent reference to that event in the liturgies of the church. Whether celibacy is better than marriage is a different question than "what is the nature of marriage?"

b) I think that the examples cited have been debunked as examples of erotic same sex attraction. Part of the modern problem (and certain attempts to eisegese the text) is that it has no adequate understanding of frienship (unlike the ancients, who developed a great philosophy of friendship). Thus to a modern of a certain bent, all same gender relationships must have an erotic undertone. Simply untrue. As to the notion that the "idea of homosexuality" did not exist until the 19th C, consider not what the theologians say, but the Classicists: "Same-Sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition of the West" - Provencal & Verstraete, 2006. Wonderful book by Classical scholars, detailing precisely the idea and practice of same sex eroticism in the classical world. The idea was there, was known, and (for better or for worse) was rejected by the early Christian community.

c) Again, see 'a'; not only did Christ participate in celebrating the wedding feast at Cana, but the very imagery of marriage feast is a continuous theme throughout the remainder of revelation - the "wedding feast of the Lamb" indicates not only a redemption/restoration, but also a renewed vision for consumation based on the theme of marriage. The wedding feast itself becomes part of the apocalyptic vision.

d) I think I would begin to frame the blessings of sexuality in much the same way, but would also add that the gift of sexuality is a gift which begets a gift. Here would be a good place for you to ask about heterosexual marriage in which parenthood is absent, either by intention or by default (eg post menopausal).

e) I think we can get a grant from the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada to drink red wine and continue this. In fact, I think we should email him tomorrow and ask for some cash.

f) sherry or wine glasses?


>>but then we also have Naomi/Ruth, or David/Johnathon as examples of same gendered devotion

There was once a time when devotion didn't involve a sexual component, though, yes? It used to be that couples in high school,for instance, went to the soda shoppe to share a root beer float as their act of devotion.

We scoff at those days, but now, it's right down to business. And it is business when you skip the soda shoppe phase. Contracts are txtd and documented on facebook with consummation to follow immediately after the lolz. And without the hours spent over the root beer float there's no history of fond memories from which to draw when the going gets rough. Txting ensues...bitterness and breakup to follow. So much intimacy with nothing to base it on. All because devotion is thought of as a lot more physical than it used to be.

The beauty of Naomi/Ruth & David/Johnathan is, in my opinion, friendship in the most Lassie Come Home-ish sense of the word.

Considering how devotion was defined in 1828, sex and marriage seem to head to the back of the line.

I'm not sure this directly applies to your conversation points a through f, gentlemen, but the redefinition of marriage, I think, was preceded by many other more subtle redefinitions...makes it tough to sort through as everything is sort of a moving target.

I don't know. Just a thought.


an attempt at a reboot.

a) queers are being disenfranchised by the the church.
b) there is a long tradition against same gendered sexual activity and a legitimate biblical context that prevents christian churches from fully embracing it.
c) christian ethics are one of inclusion not exclusion.
d) the biblical discussions of sexuality are often harsh, very rarely welcoming, and founded on an apocolyptic set of circumstances.

In addition to the questions you suggest i ask about those who are barren but married (and can homosexuality be considered another kind of barrenness? How do we reconcile these?


Even with facebook and texting boys and girls still hang out at mcdonalds and when they are old enough bars. They talk about alot of stuff, and sometimes even wait to go home with each other.


oh and sherry


I was only thinking the definition of devotion has changed. (And I submit the public school sex education curriculum as evidence). Jo seems to have covered it more intelligently than I.


a) nothing in the Church per se is preventing SSM in the civil realm; the church is simply in the position of determing the nature of the sacramental aspect of marriage as it understands and practices the faith received. Sacraments are not the same as rights, although much of the discourse seems to confuse them as such.
b) agreed; for those proposing a new understanding of the sacrament of marriage, it is important to take into consideration the tradition (in its fullest sense); it is also important for the church to discern which teachings develop/change, and which teachings remain stable. And on what basis?
c) I think the vocabulary of inclusion/exclusion is close to losing its meaning. What does "inclusion" mean in a context where Bishop Gene Robinson is on record in public interviews declaring that abortion providers "do such fine work"? How does the segment of the population aborted on the basis of genetics experience this inclusion?
d) what then would one make of the Song of Solomon?


a) but Christ has come to open and not close the church to his followers, that's why anglicans have open communion, right? So which sacraments can homosexuals safely particpate, and which ones must they avoid?
b) Gene Robinson's views on abortion are a red herring, his views on abortion are not germane to a discussion of the sacrament of marriage.
c) But we are talking about sacraments, and ordination. If homosexuals cannot be ordained what do you make of Bishop Moore's ordaining Rev. Ellen Marie Barrett?
d) Like all scriptures, the Song of Songs is an open text, that tells the lessons the reader wants. The lessons of it for Origen were different then the lessons of it for Toni Morrison. As for me, it allows the possiblity that God intended sex to be holy and pleasurable.


a) the Anglican church does not adhere to open communion (although individual parishes/priests might depart from the norm). Communion is, in and of itself, also a sacrament of committment to a set of beliefs about the person of Christ ("we proclaim in the bread and the cup that he has died, is risen, will come again"). To practice open communion, and to invite the non baptised or non believer into it, is either dishonest about the nature of the sacrament, or a lessening of what the act means.

b) I don't necessarily think so: it involves different presuppositions on each of our parts. First, what do we mean by inclusion, and second, is it legit to divorce questions of sexuality from those of procreation? I'm not as catholic as the pope, but I think it an issue to be considered.

c) The one sacrament of inclusion is baptism, by it one is made a member of God's family. I think homosexuals can and have been ordained, just as heterosexuals can and have been. The question is the exercise of sexuality, viz, "can this act be holy within this context, or is this act not holy, regardless of the context?"

d) I think the Song of Solomon presents the reader with a vision of erotic love which is not only beautiful, but is, I think, intended to leave the reader seeking that same sort of longing. On your first point, I think that meaning does reside in the text, independent of the subjective reader. But back to the text itself, I think that a Christian view of sexuality needs to be comfortable with "the body", and SofS is an antidote to gnostic tendencies, or misguided Victorianism.

e) what did you write your first paper on?

f) ps - do think bisexuality is an orientation, and if so, would it be unjustly exclusive to limit bisexual persons to only one partner in marriage?


a) as a non baptized anglican, i have been taking eucharist at mary magdalene, and have taken it in yr that not open communion?
b) its a great question. are the marriages of men and women who are barren sanctified? does it matter that in most christian traditions Christ was born outside of traditional procreative acts? Does it matter that through much of christianity did not view sexuality even w/i marriage a sacred act? If we are now willing to acknowledge that out attitudes to sexuality have changed since Paul, or Origen or Calvin, why is this the last step? I think that procreative sex is one of many kinds of sexuality, Theresa D'Avalia or Julian of Norwich were sanctified and sexual and not married to name two examples.
c) practicing homosexuals? homosexuals who are monogamous? How do single priests negoitate the sexual when they are not celibate?
d) I would agree that, and i would extend it, that our inclusion in the body of christ engages with our bodies, and one of the ways that we encoprate that inclusion is through our sexuality.
e) Darwin and issues of race, gender, etc in the 19th century, little 2 page reader response, not a big deal but it made me happy.
f) i think that sexuality cannot really be defined by gay, straight, bi, trans, etc...which makes a singualr ethic so difficult, and i grew up LDS, so i am all for plural marriage under the right circumstances.


a) I'm using it in the sense of "communion for all regardless of whether they are Christian, baptized, or not" - eg, the Anglican Church invites communion for all the baptized, regardless of denomination (rubrics & pastoral guidelines). At one end of the specturm is complete "open table" policy practiced by some churches, at the other end would be, for example, Catholic & Misery Synod Lutherans, for whom communion is only for members. From time to time I come across folks who think they are pulling one over on the Pope by going up for communion when they are not Catholics...
b) I suspect on this and on [c], JP 2's work on "the body" would be a good re-read. One way of looking at this is that there is an "ideal", with a subset of "close enough, but not quite" categories. In some ways this becomes a bit of a 'category ladder' - with a cut off point at a certain rung - eg, this, this and this, but not this. Is it the best approach to the question? I don't know. I suspect that as we now live in the comfort of an age in which procreation is a luxury and not a necessity, it would be difficult & anachronistic for us to speculate about whether sexuality was thought to have had a sacredness beyond the practical in the early centuries. I would suggest that such an element was constantly there, but like poets, only a few fragments survive.
c) That, indeed, is one of the questions.
d) Incarnation. More needs to said on this
e) Good for you. Did you have a chance to find the Provencal book yet?
f) I'm against plural marriage & agree with Mark Twain's assessment: "No man can serve two masters"


a) misery synod, that is amusing.
b) i have read his work, quite extensively, and it is useful for both the left and right, perhaps more of an ambigious text then he attends?
c) i was hoping for an answer
d) yeah, it does. Because how we use our bodies to glorify or denigrate the divine is the central truth of this, no? talk more about the incarnation.
e)i am reading it, and the invention of sodomy in christian theology, by Mark Jordan, the catholic historian (have you read?)
f) he is only serving one master ;)

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  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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