11.12.08

Sex or death?

So I chose sex! Sorry, I'm being deliberately controversial. CONTEXT ALERT: I have to write my next assignment over the Christmas break. Christian Ethics. I've got about 5 weeks to write it. I must be crazy to leave it so late. It took me three months to write my piece on women bishops. Not shy of controversy , I've decided after much thought that of the two issues that I feel I could write on - Christian ethics and euthanasia or Christan ethics and homosexuality, I've plumped for the latter. Thought that over the festive period, it might be a bit much dwelling on assisted suicide and all the contraptions one can order to secure it, if Panorama is anything to go by, the other night. That plastic bag thing the Scottish MP ordered from the internet was very macabre.

I think I will write my piece on The Ethical dilemma surrounding the consecration of Gene Robinson. My lecturer, Roy McCloughrey, impressively the editor of John Stott's 'Issues Facing Christians Today', has suggested that I look into the decisions that led to his consecration, as well as the biblical texts that speak into the homosexual debate. He hinted that I have a lot of work ahead of me. It's going to be interesting. I remember my posts at the time of Gene Robinson's exposure in the media through Lambeth, they were very unsure. I felt I had to make my mind up on the issue and was blown and buffeted around like the wind, certain sometimes that only sex within a marriage is God's will but then feeling emotional the next minute about that heckler who was so cruel to Robinson in the Putney Church. I guess the module has enabled me to understand, amongst many other things, that ethical response isn't always concurrent with the pastoral response and this is what ministers need to learn and perhaps where some of them fail.

So my Christmas holiday reading is certainly going to be different this year and it will kick off with two essential autobiographies: Rowan's and then Gene's - interesting!

If anyone can recommend any resources, I'd be grateful if you'd let me know.

4 comments:

karen said...

Hi Rachel - I know what you mean about the mixed feelings re: ethical and pastoral concerns & homosexuality.

I have three books I could recommend -
A Church at War: Anglicans and Homosexuality - Stephen Bates (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004)

An Acceptable Sacrifice?: Homosexuality and the Church - Duncan Dormor and Jeremy Morris, eds. (SPCK, 2007)

What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality [this is from the liberal point of view] - Daniel A. Helminiak (Alamo Square Press, 2000)

Rachel said...

Thank you for these leads Karen, I'll check to see if the library stock these at St John's because I'm working out each assignment is costing me a considerable amount of money due to a lot of the stuff only being available on site in short-term loan and I'm part-time. It's an ethical dilemma in itself the cost of all this study. When you are so interested in everything you're learning, it takes discipline to not buy too many books.

Thanks again for your help.
God bless
Rachel

Jane said...

Rachel I think you're very courgaeous to be taking this on. 20 years ago I was a member of the homosexuality working arty of my own church - the United Reformed Church - I dare say someone there could provide you with the really good biblical material Walter Houston wrote at that time.
Since then I've been a little involved in the issue in the French Reformed Church. The ERF's "discipline" states clearly that a minister of the church has to be either married or single. this means that homosexual clergy serving in local pastorates cannot live with their partners - as they cannot be married.
One of the things I tried to do was to apply these same standards to hetrosexual clergy. It fascinates me that at a time when actually heterosexual relationships are in huge flux we focus so much of energy on homosexuals ...
Good luck with your research thinking and writing on this - HAve you read countryman's Dirt sex and greed? It's all rather out of date now though. You could also visit Deirdre Good's blog for some ideas
she deals with the issue both professional as a scholar and personally as an Anglican lesbian.
Good luck

Rachel said...

Thank you, Jane. You raise an interesting point about heterosexuality and thank you very much for the leads. I'll follow them up.
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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.