Friday, February 22, 2008


In response to a post by Chris Brady, at Targuman, I am bringing forward this letter I wrote over a year ago which was just published in the February edition of our local Diocesan Post. I expect many will disagree with what they perceive me to be saying. Please note that I have not seen any conservatives argue from the point of view of the tenderness of our God. I have seen arguments only from a legal point of view. I have responded because of the use of the word 'other'. Certainly it is difficult to respond to what is different in ourselves.

To the Editor, Diocesan Post, in response to a dialogue: that same-sex sexual relations are in God’s will for some people; or its opposite: that same-sex sexual relations are always not God’s will.

The word complement is spelt with an ‘e’, since the implication of the word is completeness. Completion is so germane to understanding what our Lord does for us. Can a person complete another person? Can the two become one in each other?

Bible readers will know that the fullness of completion goes beyond but includes the issue of sexual relations. Human sexual intimacy is a sign of completeness. Such knowledge is evident in the Old Testament and is celebrated in the tradition of the feast of Pentecost by the Jews. Pentecost celebrates the giving of Torah to which the faithful person is married. During this feast, the faithful are encouraged to read the Song of Solomon as a dialogue between self as bride and God as bridegroom.

For us who have believed in Christ, the fullness of our completion is in the death of Jesus. Here is our true bridegroom of blood, our new Moses, fulfilling the covenant of circumcision for the Gentiles. Every faithful one is now married to him who was raised from the dead, and by his death is freed from marriage to Torah. It is complete; as Jesus himself said. Or as Paul puts it, if we by the Spirit do put to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live.

It is not our task, therefore, to say what thing, heterosexual or homosexual or any other thing is right and complete in itself. It is our task, as members of Christ, of whatever orientation we think we are, to crucify our deeds, attitudes, and prejudices, so that we might live. Even our good must be put to death, so that the glory is from God and not an image of what a human thinks is right.

Will the Spirit raise only the heterosexual? Will God transform the so-called wrong into the so-thought right? God will transform but not as we anticipate. God transforms into a fullness that we cannot know in advance. Therefore whether heterosexual or homosexual, if we are patterned into the death of Jesus, then the result is God’s not ours.

Put it another way, will the same-sex person not be sanctified or redeemed if they call upon the Lord? They will and their resurrection will be ‘other’ to those who think them ‘other’, but will be one with those who think them one. If you consider that God is ‘other’ and woman is ‘other’ to man or man to woman, so also same sex is ‘other’ to the heterosexual. One who knows an ‘other’ will be pleased to accept ‘the same’ as not being ‘like’ but allowed to be, in glory, different.

In plain words, we may allow such commitments to be blessed, and we must not judge in advance how God will work in such commitments. It is for them to work them out in fear and trembling before God.

My conclusion does not leave us without issues to consider, not the least of which is the pattern in Colossians and Ephesians that quotes the household code of Aristotle: slaves in obedience to masters, children to parents, and wives to husbands. We no longer allow the negative interpretations along the lines of human ownership or male dominance to govern us in our reading of these passages, and we no longer allow the hierarchy of church governance to be confined to males. The simple conclusion is that the recognition of consecrated relationships of same gendered people is implicit in the abolition of slavery and the presence of women teachers and preachers in the church – as it was in the beginning, but was too radical a freedom to continue.

See also here which carries these thoughts into a liturgy.
See also here a review of a Jewish book on the subject. Here is a rereading of the text that deserves consideration.

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