In Sexuality and Gender, theology on January 15, 2013 at 9:05 pm
One of Britain’s most prominent evangelical Christian leaders has broken ranks on the issue of homosexuality describing the traditional Church teaching on he issue as dangerous and unchristian.
Rev Chalke argued that the church’s traditional teaching on homosexuality as ‘a sin or less than God’s best’ had been deeply harmful Photo: GETTY
By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor7:30AM GMT 15 Jan 2013
The Rev Steve Chalke, a broadcaster and charity founder, likened the “dominant view” of homosexuality among evangelicals to that of those who once used the Bible to justify slavery or thought it was heretical to believe the Earth orbited the sun.
He accused Christians of treating gay people as “pariahs”, expecting them to live “lives of loneliness, secrecy and fear” and even driving some to suicide.
His comments come in an article in the magazine Christianity under the headline “The Last Taboo” which he said he felt “both compelled and afraid” to write.
Long dominant in US life, evangelicals – who place a strong emphasis on the “authority” of the Bible and believe in being “born again” – have become increasingly influential in Britain in recent years, with fast growing congregations at a time when church attendance has seen steep decline.
But although evangelicalism is often viewed as a bastion of conservative values, it also has a long-stranding association with “radical” causes dating back to the 19th Century
more at – Telegraph.
In Uncategorized on November 1, 2012 at 11:39 am
As soon as Michael Overman announced that he was gay, the Southern Baptist church that raised him, led him to attend an evangelical Christian college and inspired him to pursue ministry left him feeling abandoned.
He stayed estranged from Christianity for about six years before eventually finding his way to Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, a congregation in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood that welcomes gays and lesbians.
Reinvigorated by the church’s acceptance, he enrolled at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston and sought ordination in his new denomination.
But the United Methodist Church does not ordain gay clergy in committed relationships. That created a predicament for Overman, who joined his partner in a civil union last spring. He knew he could try keeping his relationship private as some partnered gay clergy opt to do. But that approach made him uncomfortable.
“If I’m going to be in ministry, I’m going to be in ministry as my whole self,” said Overman, 28, who lives in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. “When I look at Christian faith, it was always Christ’s mission to restore people in the community and restore people to wholeness. It didn’t make sense to me to go into ministry as a closeted person. That felt inauthentic.”
Following a number of gay and lesbian former Methodists who find themselves unable to serve in the church that cultivated their calling, Overman withdrew from the denomination last month to seek ordination instead in the Disciples of Christ Church, which accepts openly gay clergy in committed relationships. The departure of Overman and others spotlights the internal drama in one of the last mainline Protestant denominations that require gay clergy to stay celibate. Methodist teaching states that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.
more at– chicagotribune.com.
In Uncategorized on July 17, 2012 at 9:03 am
It seems to me far from a given that conservative Christianity by definition will flourish. It is not as though it is only theologically liberal or socially progressive churches that have seen declines. Hence the title of this post, asking whether there is anything that would lead one to believe that conservatism gives churches more staying power. Many of the dwindling and disappearing institutional churches around Europe are profoundly conservative, and in the case of institutions like the Roman Catholic Church, one has to reckon with the reality that large numbers of adherents maintain a cultural and religious connection with that church, but feel free to individually disagree with its teachings. I hope that in the comments here we’ll see some discussion of whether and to what extent being conservative makes a religion’s persistence more likely. From my own liberal perspective, conservative churches have time and time again found themselves on the wrong side of issues, and yet seem to learn nothing from the experience, viewing the issue of women in ministry, for instance, the same way they viewed slavery, even after they have admitted their forebears were wrong about that issue. They seem not to grasp that the reason why they were wrong about that issue is intrinsically connected to their conservative approach to religion and social norms.
There is a version of Liberal Christianity that it is easy to get excited about. And I am excited about it. Perhaps the time has come for all of those of us who see things in this way to unite, and to take back the identity of Christianity from the loud and prominent self-proclaimed spokesmen (yes, most of them are men) who have so managed to persuade the media and popular opinion that they represent “true Christianity,” that Liberal Christianity has come to be viewed as a half-hearted, half-baked mixture of the traditional and the cultural, which does justice to neither.
But that is not how things stand at all. Those who claim to be “Biblical Christians” are more prone than anyone to conflate their culture’s values (not all of them, to be sure, but many) with “what the Bible says.” And they are prone to miss that there has been liberal Christianity from the very beginning. When Paul set aside Scriptures that excluded Gentiles on the basis of core principles of love and equality, and arguments based on the evidence of God’s Spirit at work in them, he was making and argument very similar to that which inclusive Christians make today. The fact that his argument eventually became Scripture itself should not blind us to the fact that when he made his argument, his words did not have that authority.
– full commentary by James McGrath at Patheos?.
(in response to Ross Douthat at NYT, “Can Liberal Christianity be Saved?)
In Uncategorized on July 17, 2012 at 8:32 am
The smooth certainty of the right is just as unattractive as the moral smugness of the left
The question of the hour is whether the Episcopal Church can continue to muddle into a sixth century, or whether falling levels of membership suggest inevitable decline. Critics such as Douthat link the church’s progressive stand on sexuality — the consecration of an openly gay bishop in 2003 and now the vote on the same-sex rite — to its troubled numbers. “It still has priests and bishops, altars and stained-glass windows,” wrote Douthat. “But it is flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.”
Eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes. As I read it, his argument, shared by many, is that the church is essentially translating liberal views of sexuality into the language and forms of the faith. If the Bible speaks out against homosexuality, then a church that moves to embrace homosexuals must be acting not according to theological thinking but to political factors. Put another way, the Episcopal Church has taken the course it has taken on sexuality because it is politically fashionable to do so, not because there is a theological reason to open its arms wider.
The problem with this argument is that it ignores a long tradition of evolving theological understanding and changing scriptural interpretation. Only the most unapologetic biblical fundamentalists, for instance, take every biblical injunction literally. If we all took all scripture at the same level of authority, then we would be more open to slavery, to the subjugation of women, to wider use of stoning. Jesus himself spoke out frequently against divorce in the strongest of terms. Yet we have — often gradually — chosen to read and interpret the Bible in light not of tradition but of reason and history.
-full commentary by John Meacham at TIME.com.
In Marriage and family on July 12, 2012 at 11:16 am
Winning a Special Jury Prize at Sundance, Love Free or Die has already become a pivotal film this year as President Obama has embraced its subject matter: gay marriage. Even more timely, the Episcopal Church has just approved a same sex blessing service.
The documentary follows Gene Robinson, the first openly gay ordained Bishop who becomes a symbol of both LGBT pioneering and exemplary Christian values of compassion, forgiveness and tolerance.
From Robinson’s chronicles of discrimination abroad to his relationship with his partner Mark, the film takes a personal look at the role faith plays in his and others’ lives, brushing aside the notion that Christianity is only for fundamentalists and evangelicals. Compelling for secular audiences and non-LGBT viewers, the film finds that the greater love that guides people must be shared.
Robinson has faced so much open hatred for his lifestyle that he wore a bullet proof vest to his own consecration. The film shows Robinson discovering another plot on his life, prompting deep questioning and thanks to above. Bishop Robinson was invited by Barack Obama to give the invocation at the opening inaugural ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18, 2009.
This scene of Bishop Robinson speaking before serving cups of water at the Gay Pride Parade is riveting, and a rallying cry that should be seen in its entirety and taken to heart.
– full report by John Wellington Ellis, at Huffington Post.
In Sexual Orientation on June 29, 2012 at 8:53 am
LIKE four in ten same-sex couples, James Nevein, 49, and David Witte, 50, identify themselves as Christians.
They are part of a statistic that strikes at the heart of the debate around same-sex marriage, and one that many hope will validate them in the eyes of the church.
At the 2011 census, Christianity was the number one religion among gay and lesbian couples – with 40 per cent of couples practising the faith compared to 60 per cent of opposite-sex couples.
Forty-eight per cent declared no religion, compared to 20 per cent of opposite-sex couples. Buddhism was the second most common among same-sex couples, at 4 per cent compared to 2.6 per cent of opposite-sex couples.
The census data was released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday as part of a report into the lives of people living in gay and lesbian relationships.
Mr Nevein, who is on the board of Freedom2b, a support group for gay people from Christian backgrounds, said it was evidence that he and members of the same-sex Christian community were not in a minority. ”In every church, from the Pentecostal to the Quakers, there are gay and lesbian people there,” he said. ”Churches are going to have to consider this issue.”
He said churches needed to acknowledge their existence in order to prevent same-sex couples from feeling alienated.
”Why would you identify with an organisation that, for most of the last 2000 years has hated you, either openly or silently, unless you had a very deep sense of belonging?
”The church has a lot to answer for, but there is also a lot of hope.”
Read more at The Age
In Trans Issues, Uncategorized on June 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm
The intersections between race, gender, and sexuality are fraught with luminosity. It is the spaces created by these intersections that offer a prophetic voice of wisdom and new way of existence. Being black or white, male or female, and straight or gay is simply too finite for a world of infinite complexities. God created us to be multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. The human experience is dense. Liberation theology is placing God in dialogue through the vantage point of marginalized oppressed groups. Marginalized voices stemming from race, gender, and other socio-political locations have an opportunity of visibility through liberation theology. This idea of visibility is particularly important to my identity as a GenderQueer person. In an effort to begin to interpret Christianity from the lens of GenderQueer embodiment this particular experience visible. This has been an eight month investigation of what it means for a GenderQueer person to reclaim traditional interpretations of theological insights via praxis; for it is the GenderQueer, multi-cultural, and pansexualembodiments that are closely aligned to a vision of God physically manifested on Earth. This is the ultimate triad of creation and embodiment, and the theological dialogue is vastly rich at these intersections. The depth and scope of this article is the deconstruction of the performance and social construction of the gender binary. I am largely focusing on the theological praxis embodiment of the GenderQueer experience of which sexuality and race are peripheral informants of this work. Through the lens of GenderQueer identification, the acknowledgment of the power of gender in its social construction and performance thereof allows us to move beyond the gender binary, which creates a seat at the table for GenderQueer bodies.
-taken from “Seraphim Delight”\
which describes itself in the sidebar as
AN EXPLORATION IN GENDERQUEER LIBERATION THEOLOGY
GenderQueer – A person who identifies as neither male nor female. GQ individuals might identify outside of all trational gender binaries entirely.
Liberation Theology – A mode of interpreting the Divine from within an oppressed group.
Questions? Me too. Stay tuned.
*All genders, sexualities, identities, and people validated here.
In Uncategorized on June 21, 2012 at 8:52 am
At the world’s largest ministry for homosexual Christians, there’s no more talk of “curing” same-sex attraction.
Thirty years ago, Alan Chambers was a Christ-loving 10-year-old with a terrible secret. He knew he was attracted to other boys. He also knew that the Bible called homosexuality an “abomination.” After nearly a decade of hiding his feelings (and his love of shopping and decorating) from family and pastors, he discovered a ministry called Exodus International. Today, Chambers is the president of Exodus and the author of the book Leaving Homosexuality. He oversees more than 260 ministries, spearheads large annual conferences, and is married to a woman.
More recently, Chambers publicly rejected reparative therapy — a school of counseling that aims to make gay people straight. At the Gay Christian Network Conference in January of this year, Chambers told the audience that “99.9 percent of [Exodus participants] have not experienced a change in their orientation.” Around the same time, he pulled all reparative therapy books from the Exodus bookstore. His actions irked a number of therapists, including one marriage counselor, improbably named David Pickup, who argued that Exodus had “failed to understand and effectively deal with the actual root causes of homosexuality.”
The question is whether Chambers’s changes will filter down through the rest of his organization. One of Exodus’s policy statements promises that the group will “stand with the LGBT community both in spirit, and when necessary, legally and physically, when violence rears its head in Uganda, Jamaica, or anywhere else in the world.” It’s no coincidence that those particular countries are mentioned. Just last month, Exodus board member Dennis Jernigan traveled to Jamaica, where homosexuality is a crime, and urged the country not to change its laws. In 2009, another board member gave a speech in Uganda that inspired a Christian campaign to make homosexuality punishable by death.
” (On Friday, the day after we spoke, Exodus sent out a press release distancing itself from Jernigan’s statements and announcing his resignation from the board.)
-full report at Atlantic
In Sexual Orientation on June 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm
‘I don’t want any old gent in frocks to take my religion from me,’ says gay former Australian high court judge
Retired high court of Australia judge Michael Kirby has spoken about reconciling his homosexuality and his Christianity.
In an interview with Jesuit media channel Eureka Street TV that was broadcast this week, Kirby describes himself as a ‘Protestant Anglican Christian’.
-more at Gay Star News
Watch the video here:
In Uncategorized on May 3, 2012 at 10:30 am
How long, Adonai, am I to cry for help
while you do not listen?
How long will I cry “Oppression!” in your ear
and you do not save?
Life in the “meantime” is difficult. Habakkuk is experiencing his meantime between God’s generous offer of a promise and the fruition of that promise. We know how this feels. Many of us experience the promise of equality while still living in the not-yet of the politically expedient.
Like Habakkuk, we mourn the prayers that go unanswered. Like Habakkuk, we feel that our yearning for communities of understanding is distorted. How long shall we cry for help? Will the Sacred, which professes to honor empathy and personhood, hear our cries?
There are times when God seems so far away that I wonder if I have fooled myself. For Habakkuk and us, our frustration is born out of our experience that this is the same God who breathed life into creation, the same God who split the sea, the same God who entered into covenant, and the same God who raises the dead. Why does this God tarry and turn a blind eye? Why doesn’t this God rouse the divine self and attend once again to the cries of those in need? Why have we only heard of the wonders of God and not experienced them in our time?
This is the tension of the “meantime.” I long and hope and wait for a timing that is known to the Sacred yet is hidden to me. Feeling blocked out I am frustrated. Far more exhilarating is the time of receiving a promise, or the time of seeing it fulfilled. Much harder is living in the meantime. Where is that threshold at which “meantime” becomes “mean (or vicious) time?”