Terence

Posts Tagged ‘Theology’

God and Gays: The Rite to Bless Same – Sex Unions

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.

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The Amazing Grace of Same-Sex Marriage

In Marriage and family on June 26, 2012 at 11:31 am

What is the strongest theological argument in favor of same-sex marriage? The answer, I contend, is that such relationships are visible signs of God’s grace — an amazing kind of one-way love that is a pure gift and cannot be earned. I’ve come to this realization based upon over 20 years of being together with my husband Michael, through our ups and downs, and for better or for worse.

Same-sex marriages are sacramental because they are a reflection of the larger grace-filled relationship between God and humanity. The classical theological definition of a sacrament — including baptism, eucharist and marriage — is that it is a visible and external sign of God’s invisible grace. Same-sex marriages are holy because they are vehicles in which we can experience and gain a deeper understanding of God’s unearned and unmerited love for us.

Michael and I have experienced a healthy dose of grace in our relationship over the last two decades. First of all, falling in love itself is an act of grace. As most of us have discovered, one simply cannot force another person to fall in love with her or him (that is, outside of the world of Shakespearean comedies and magic love potions). Love — whether same-sex or opposite-sex — is a manifestation of God’s amazing grace precisely because it cannot be planned or earned. Love is not just a matter of works, but rather of grace.

-full reflection by theologian Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Ph.D, at Huffington Post.

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