27.7.08

Rosie Millard has been speaking to Gene Robinson

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Rosie Millard has been speaking to Gene Robinson

Here are some snippets

“Does anyone think that if I were hit by one of your marvellous double-decker buses this issue is going to go away? That’s what’s so remarkable about the Archbishop of Sudan’s statement this week that, if I resigned, the church would go back to being the way it was.” He laughs: “There are faithful gay and lesbian people all over this church who are ready to serve as bishops. And if I dropped off the face of this earth tomorrow, that isn’t going to stop.” Robinson has been making the most of his outsider status in Canterbury, holding “open nights” in which he hopes to convert waverers. The next “Conversation with Bishop Gene Robinson” is on Wednesday night. It’s a fringe event and on the fringe is precisely where he wants to be, subtly indicating that his camp is where true Christianity lies. “Jesus spent the majority of his time with people on the margins and might well have been more interested in those on the fringes, those who have been excluded,” he says. So he’s even got Jesus backing him.

Inclusive Jesus? What do you think?

“many tax collectors and sinners” were sitting with Jesus
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners” (Mark 2:17)

A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

The inclusiveness of Jesus: “Come as you are and stay as you are ” - no but rather "Come as you are, be healed and transformed to wholeness"

Jesus didn't invite people to join him without conditions. There is a beauty in these conditions,; we don't lose but only gain. Jesus offered inclusion and healing, wholeness, and transformation. He accepted sinners as they were with an invitation of forgiveness so that they could turn around their lives as they responded to the good news of God's kingdom.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

No one is excluded from this invitation but it is offered to those who take his yoke and learn from him.

Homosexuality has to be one of the most difficult things to grapple with theologically. Jesus accepted outcasts but then required them to transform as he healed them into wholeness. Women were regarded as less important than men in his culture and yet Jesus doesn't transform them into men (I know that sounds ridiculous - but you know what I mean). Are gay people expected under the transforming power of God's love to be changed into heterosexual people? Gene Robinson would certainly not see it as expected of him, Peter Ould, on his blog, claims that he has been transformed though, through the love of Jesus and is now married with one child -Reuben - his baby son. True Freedom Trust expects gay Christians to renounce their sexuality. It's just not clear-cut. Is asking a gay person to become straight like asking a white person to become black, a black person to become white, a man to become a woman or a woman to become a man? I can't deny that some gay people have been 'healed' but perhaps they weren't actually really gay in the first place. I don't want you to think that I don't believe in the perfect and unlimitless transformative power of God's love because I do. Is homosexuality really a sin like greed or murder or lust, I'm not sure it's that simple. And yet I would hold to sex outside marriage being a sin. I understand God's purpose is to have us be married. Sometimes I find this type of thinking persausive:
Throughout my life I have had several dear gay and lesbian friends, some who were and still are genuine believers in Christ. These friends had tried hard to live heterosexual or celibate lives. But, in the end, their homosexual feelings overwhelmed these efforts and they adopted a gay or lesbian lifestyle. My heart went out to these friends, and I would have loved to affirm them in their homosexuality, to tell them that I believed their choice of a homosexual lifestyle was just fine. I hated hurting their feelings and, in most cases, losing their friendship because I couldn’t affirm them in the way they required. Besides, I would have greatly preferred to be on the side of the perceived liberator, setting gay and lesbian people free from social condemnation, rather than on the side of the perceived persecutor, telling gay and lesbian people that their sexual actions were wrong. So I tried to find a way to justify gay liberation from Scripture. But I just couldn’t do it with integrity.

MarkRoberts.com

Mark has investigated the topic for 20 years and you can read his full article on his site. Does anyone know as regards 'Issues in human sexuality' for ordinands, is it, as well as a requirement that your life conforms to the biblical ideal, that you also adopt a position where you believe that gay people should repent of their sexuality and be celibate or heterosexual? I guess if I'm having trouble working out where I stand on this front, it's quite comforting that people older and theologically much wiser than me are having trouble too, as is evident in the communion at the moment. I wonder what will finally be decided - the Lambeth conference should have been debating today +Rowan's proposal on this front.
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