Saturday, 13 October 2012
Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian about Christianity considered as true.
Amy-Jill Levine writes for the Religion and Ethics column on ABC: Not good to be alone: Rethinking the Bible and homosexuality.
Savi Hensman writes for Ekklesia about Anglicans, archbishops and presidential confusions.
Bishop Pierre Whalon writes for Anglicans Online about Polity Politics.
David Ison, the Dean of St Paul’s, reflects on Occupy - one year on. And on the same subject, Ed Thornton writes in the Church Times: Still preoccupied by Occupy.
Posted by Peter Owen on
Saturday, 13 October 2012 at 11:00am BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Re Levine's article, having read the responses on the ABC website, I'd have thought it fairly straightforward that Paul, in Rom 1, is not making a direct point about homosexuality; rather he is using homosexual relations as an example of things he considered unnatural to make his more general point about self-destructiveness. You can take the more general point and still accept that Paul isn't infallible (and clearly isn't) when it comes to his other examples of what he considers natural or not -- as Levine points out. These examples seem to me to be the sort that Paul (or anyone else) would almost automatically have used to make what he would have thought was an obvious point, but that means appealing to people's common sense notions. It's a rhetorical argumentative device, no doubt effective in his own time. But focusing on the examples in this and other arguments is perhaps to miss the real point -- a not unusual hermeneutical trap.
The Christian far-right *hates* being called bigots. But sometimes they can't help themselves, they make a slip and out it comes in some shape or form.
Witness this commentator on the "Not good to be alone" piece over at www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/10/01/3601142.htm that was referenced. A fair old rant (in cringingly half-educated academic language) but eventually he brings to it a close, and there he slips, making me laugh out loud: "For goodness' sake we're killing our own children, mean to criminalise Christianity, watch helplessly as Europe crumbles financially and demographically..." Ah. Demographically. There we go. As in non-white people, eh? Bad enough that the people previously there couldn't even speak English or get a plate of beans and toast right, eh? Of course, Australia too crumbled demographically upon the English invasion of the continent, but presumably that's different in his mind. And they say they don't bring their own prejudices to their faith.
Amy-Jill Levine, in her extensive essay, toughes on what might be conceived to be 'natural' in Scripture - and how that affects the arguments for/against homosexual relationships as being 'un-natural' This is quite well evidenced, for instance, by this quote from her article:
"In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul explains how pagans are like wild branches grafted on to cultivated olive tree, the root of Israel: these shoots are grafted on "contrary to nature" (11:24). What is "contrary to nature" is thus required for salvation.
This is just one argument for the need to debate the fact that, what might seem 'contrary to nature for dissenters against Gays, might just be something that God has catered for in God's providence. This leads to the possibility that, in today's improved understanding of gender and sexuality, homosexuality may be (in my opinion, is) natural for some human beings.