on Saturday, 15 December 2018 at 11.00 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
The Episcopal Café Gaudete
Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News “Enjoy But Don’t Inhale!”
Mark Savage BBC Meet the godfathers of the Christmas carol
Helen King sharedconversations Out in Africa?
Very interesting article by Helen King. She examines the claim that ‘homosexuality was not part of African culture until the colonial period.’ It is good to have this examined academically and to see the effect of claims like this on the current debate.
There are many slogans and statements thrown around in the current debates and I welcome this sort of analysis, because it gets to the truth behind the statements.
It is good that Helen King and other researcher for the Living in Love and Faith project are getting to grips with the history of homosexuality, but from what I have seen and read of some of the work I think they are missing one key question – the link between (homo)sexuality and spirituality. Those of us interested in gay spirituality have known for many years of a seeming link between same-sex sexual behaviour and priestly/shamanic roles in many cultures, both ancient and more recent. Despite evidence being available for over a Century (from classic texts and modern athropology) I… Read more »
For an another example of another man doing good research on the bible from a gay spirituality perspective:
As it happens, Simon, I came across Peterson Toscano just last week, via his YouTube piece on Joseph and the ‘princess dress’. I find his presentations very refreshing and I’d recommend them heartily – although he has moved on to climate change activism more now (and good for him). On your other point, I should think that would come under the remit of the science and social science group, but as we are moving into a phase of Interdisciplinary work for the groups it could come up anywhere!
Thanks Helen, I am glad you are aware of Peterson, but I am not confident that the material will be adequately addressed by the various groups within the LL&F project. I have been around Christian scholarship on homosexuality for many years and it just does not seem to be on the radar. For these writers homosexuality is defined predominantly by a person’s preference for sexual partner. The problems facing the LL&F project are simply the theological or ethical questions arising out of that choice. But when you look at the material I have mentioned, I think there is evidence that… Read more »
Continued from previous post. I linked to Peterson’s presentation on Joseph and his princess dress because it illustrates two important points in this debate. Firstly Joseph’s story can easily be understood within such a narrative. But secondly there is the issue of Bible translation, and the refusal to link Joseph’s robe with Tamar’s dress despite clear textual evidence. Bible translation is a key problem going forward. How can we analyse this issue if it is common to translate the Hebrew word “Holy” with “male temple prostitute”? But how can we understand the OT “clobber texts” from Leviticus unless we clearly… Read more »
The other Peterson Toscano YouTube video here is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgVQELuafmA&feature=youtube_gdata_player and his main site is now https://petersontoscano.com
“Helen King . . . examines the claim that ‘homosexuality was not part of African culture until the colonial period.’” This reminds me of the 1970s book “Homosexuality: A Symbolic Confusion” by Ruth Tiffany Barnhouse, a psychiatrist and an Episcopal priest. (She was probably more famously known for being Sylvia Plath’s therapist.) It’s been a long time since I read the book, but if I remember correctly, she claims that modern homosexuality in men arose in the West after World War II as part of the emasculation of American and Western European boys that occurred in the 1940s and the… Read more »
Classic “Big C” Communism (Chinese or Soviet) has long been contemptuous of hpmosexuality. I don’t know whether it has to do with dialectical inevitability (or whatever the phrase is) or a State insisting on absolute conformity. The USSR in its heyday had the same attitude towards homosexuality: That it was a sign of enfeebled petit bourgeois thinking, and that the masculine men and women, the New Communist Man (and Woman) would reject it. I don’t even want to think about the North Korean variant. Fascism has a similar view. Many people know that gay men perceived as effeminate were sent… Read more »
I find Simon Dawson’s remarks very interesting and not something I had thought about before. But if priestly spiritualism actually delivers tangible benefits then, applying the Dawkins’ rationale from The Selfish Gene, one would expect evolution to increase the percentage of those shaman types who are gay so that they focus on community, rather than personal, succession. Dawkins believes there is a genetic basis for same sex orientation but I don’t think this is a possible factor he has written about. With his strong humanistic beliefs, that’s probably not surprising. Equally, of course, it is unlikely that Living in Love… Read more »
“….rather than personal, succession” — phew, raising children in today’s world is “personal succession” as against shamanistic community building. No wonder the Church of England is now 588K ASA and going south.
Helen King’s article – and some of the responses – serve to remind us of Queen Victoria’s (lack of) understanding about the presence of lesbianism in her kingdom. Because she, personally, had never encountered any overt practice of this aspect of the human condition, she did not believe it could exist. Because of its very nature – especially in patriarchal societies like certain African countries – homosexuality does not receive the amount of attention it warrants. No wonder researchers have difficulty in finding concrete evidence of its existence in such communities. Good Luck to the C.of E.’s expectations of any… Read more »
Father Ron, with reference to your comment “No wonder researchers have difficulty in finding concrete evidence of its existence in such communities.” I would argue that ample concrete evidence is there if you know where to look for it. The problem is that the implications of the evidence are often so challenging to many common understandings relating to sexuality and gender that many people simply can’t process it. And so the evidence remains – hidden in plain sight.
There was a documentary of gay Anglican Africans that was very influential in TEC a few years back. http://www.voicesofwitness.org/?fbclid=IwAR1WNxqaPxgFxIQK0yKGgOfudInTyJRSpBdYjgqJVsmsF267gMFJtKU1WV8