40 Questions about why I support Gay Marriage

As a socially-liberal Christian, there are now many reactions around the world in reaction to the USA’s acceptance of single-sex marriage. It’s odd that similar results in other countries have not produces such reactions.

I have, of course, been in debate over this issue for many years, and many friends have sent me a link from a website that offers 40 (yes 40!) questions aimed at those of us that support single-sex marriage. Having read them, some of them were quite thought provoking, but generally their tone is designed to lead people into a “gotcha”. That is, that in order to answer the question as frased, you have to agree with the posters argument.

So, to help all those that find these questions difficult, here are my responses.

1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?

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The Roman Catholic Church, and Single-Sex Marriage

In a rectent news article in the Independent, the Catholic Synod moderated it’s language towards single-sex couples.

While the Synod continues to uphold the current line of the Catholic Church, and does not seek to change that, it does offer a way forward. It comes on the back of Pope Francis’ statement last year to the LGBTQ community “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”.

The full document itself is lengthy, and does attempt to explore what the Catholic Church means by family. It explores in depth the problems faced by families in the social context, raising the problems of isolation and children born outside of marriage seen in the west, and the practice of polygamy still seen in many places in Africa.

It is as the discussion on what it means to be family develops does the Church find that it needs to say something on the nature of same-sex relationships

In the section entitled Truth and beauty of the family and mercy the document has this to say:

21. The Gospel of the family, while it shines in the witness of many families who live coherently their fidelity to the sacrament, with their mature fruits of authentic daily sanctity must also nurture those seeds that are yet to mature, and must care for those trees that have dried up and wish not to be neglected.

22. In this respect, a new dimension of todays family pastoral consists of accepting the reality of civil marriage and also cohabitation, taking into account the due differences. Indeed, when a union reaches a notable level of stability through a public bond, is characterized by deep affection, responsibility with regard to offspring, and capacity to withstand tests, it may be seen as a germ to be accompanied in development towards the sacrament of marriage. Very often, however, cohabitation is established not with a view to a possible future marriage, but rather without any intention of establishing an institutionally-recognized relationship.

23. Imitating Jesus merciful gaze, the Church must accompany her most fragile sons and daughters, marked by wounded and lost love, with attention and care, restoring trust and hope to them like the light of a beacon in a port, or a torch carried among the people to light the way for those who are lost or find themselves in the midst of the storm.

Here the church begins to wrestle with the reality of life that is experienced by most people. It affirms, of course, the stance on marriage, but also makes the point that there are those who have formed non-traditional unions that show the hallmarks of what would be held up as the hallmarks of marriage.

It is good that the Roman Catholic Church has faced this issue head-on. Jesus himself had a non-traditional family, and it is about time that the Churches that attempt to live by his teaching try to minister to all of God’s Children, just like he would have.


Maleist Biblical Reading

During the course on Biblical Hermenutics, I was told that there were not many readings done from the perspective of a man, writing as a man. I thought that it was time that I tried to do some writing from this perspective, and so I have produced what I hope is a “Maleist” reading.

It’s based on one of the most difficult passages that I could think of, Judges 19. It’s about looking for what it means to be a modern man reading those passages, rather than simply accepting the standard position as being the “male” perspective.

I am hoping that this will spark debate, and not at least a few comments.



Malesit Reading

Water Found On Mars : The Impact on Theology

http://youtu.be/6OMlekqnL8I : Water Found On Mars

Yes, folks, it had to happen sooner or later. Water has been found on the red planet, Mars. Initially this might not seem such a big thing, but it means that, at some point, water in it’s fluid form may have been found in abundance on the surface, which means that there is the possibility that life happened on Mars.

Not complex life, perhaps, as we know it, but small bacterial life, small single cell, or simple multi-cell organisms.


A Theology of Delight

One of the fascinating discussions that I’ve had recently (today in fact) is with Mark Clavier, Dean of Residential Training at St. Micheals College, Llandaff. As is often the case when you wander the halls of a theological college, you find yourself entering into discussions that have tremendous theological value. This one I found to personally valuable, and will look forward to reading Mark’s results when they are published (hopefully) later this year.

We were discussing his PhD thesis, which was based on the understanding of Delight in the writings of St. Augustine. (more…)

Charismatic Leaders : Is there milage in this philosophy?

I was challenged today over the role of Charismatic leaders in the Church.

There is a feeling that the only way to draw people into the Church is through Charismatic leaders. No, I’m not here talking about “Leaders filled with the Spirit”, but leaders who personable, and have that magnetic personality that draws people to them. Those Charismatic types that seem to be able to fill a Church by their very presence. I was challenged today by this idea, and that it is the people with the collars who are meant to fulfill this role.

I made the point that not everyone was charismatic, and pointed to the point that St. Paul was not known for his Charismatic leadership. I further made the point that St. John showed the signs of a Charismatic leader, the soaring poetry, the descriptions and the imagery. I was told that this was a difference of opinion.

Now, differences of Biblical understanding asside, there is something about the idea of a truly Charismatic leader that I find uncomfortable. God gives us the skills to handle that which we are called to do. The thing about Charismatic leaders is that often people are called to them, rather than called to what they are preaching on behalf of.

It also places, again, the emphasis of growing the Church firmly on the shoulders of one person. This doesn’t, then do justice to the notion that we are all sent as disciples, and it is to all of us that the duty falls.

I wonder, then if it is this idea that they want to follow a Charismatic leader, than actually seek to do some of the heavy liftin themselves that is most important.


Genesis, and the rise of People, and Man and Woman

While reading handy pull-out debate of Women Bishops in the Church Times (Church Times, 18 January, 2013), I came accross the article by Judy Stowell.

She begins where the debate about women always begins : Genesis. She makes the point that when we first meet Adam, the Dustling, the person made of Dust, he stands here for all human kind. From her reading of the Hebrew, Adam at this point is not really a he, but a proto-human, the perfection of humanity. It is in Genesis 2 that we learn that it is not good for Adam to be alone, so he is made to sleep. Here is where the interesting bit comes.

What arises from that sleep is two different beings. Adam is no more (whatever our poor English translations say), and rather Iysh and Ishshahi arise. Man and Woman.


Introduction to BlackXanthus’ Systematics

I have long been contemplating embarking on an attempt to write Systematic Theology. Though I’m hoping, of course, that this will be somewhat different.

I don’t have a “system” that I’m attempting to explore, I’m not really trying to find the place of Grace in the great contemporary issues of the day, or looking at Salvation, and how it affects the rest of the theology you use.