This is not a public discussion (honest)

In the spirit of not making any public statements, but encouraging discussion and understanding of the subject which cannot be named (why do I feel like we’re in a Harry Potter story?) I would like to point to some good and thought-provoking articles which were themselves pointed to in JohnFH‘s blog which I sometimes dip into (except for his Hebrew stuff which goes whizzing over my head).

The first is an article by Richard B Hays which is an adaptation of a lengthier book section. It is a pretty comprehensive statement of the conservative position on homosexuality. I recall reading the full book section in 2nd year New Testament studies and found it to be useful then. That was not long before General Assembly discussed the issue of human sexuality. The Mission and Discipleship report (.doc file, via OneKirk) and the congregation discussion resource document (1.5M pdf file, via OneKirk) they produced drew heavily on this work for the conservative perspective. It was also at the heart of a ‘refutation‘ at the time by Paul Middleton, but that work never fully engaged with Hays and so I was left feeling that it was a somewhat selective and not entirely convincing counter-argument.

The second referenced article is by Kim Fabricius (on Ben Myers blog) is a useful ‘in a nutshell’ view from the other side of the debate. The comments are extensive and worth a skim through. It is not a point-by-point argument and assumes a degree of ‘honest’ scholarship which recognises the ambiguity in many of the scriptural references to homosexual activity. If that’s not your ‘place’ then I would recommend doing some wider reading before decrying what Kim says. An ‘honest’ approach will/should leave Romans 1 as one of the few ‘unambiguous’ texts which need to be dealt with. Thereafter you may engage with his propositions and reach your own conclusion.

Finally, the third article referenced is not a theology one, but rather a media comment on a recent sex scandal in Australia. It makes some very valid moral/ethical observations which, I think, are quite pertinent to the whole discussion.

*Updated 18/7/11 to fix dead links

7 responses to “This is not a public discussion (honest)”

  1. In the spirit of not having a public discussion….
    Having viewed the DVD starter for Presbytery and Session to respond to the Special Commission, what has surprised me is that to take a view in opposition to the revisionists is tantamount to declaring yourself homophobic.. It wasn’t a terribly well balanced presentation but it did start discussion. What is a little alarming is that the ‘ordinary’ elders don’t see a problem. It’s only when the awkward Scriptural passages are pointed out and explained that they begin to see what the ‘fuss’ is all about. As far as they are concerned, society has moved on, why hasn’t the church ? This position does beg the question about whether society’s ‘progress’ is always a good thing (or not), and it does raise the question about what Jesus meant when he called his disciples to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’. Those words imply a distinctiveness that stands out from and can be in contrast to what is considered to be the accepted norm.
    I looked at the Australian comment and wasn’t too surprised by the tone of the report. It did highlight the obvious double standard within the press about such things. A ‘normal’ sex scandal makes a politician fair game, but being gay allows them to be the victim and gain sympathy. That just jars with me.
    Not saying ai have any answers on this. The GA for 2011 will certainly be interesting and I don’t envy whoever is chosen as Moderator for that one !  

  2. Just a thought… The General Assembly did NOT produce the document you list. It’s produced by One Kirk, a group within the Kirk pro gay clergy.

  3. Hi David,

    The ‘discussion document’ referenced was produced by Mission and Discipleship for the GA of that year. It was not produced by OneKirk, just made available through them. If you have a link from the CofS site I’ll link from that instead so that there can be no hint of bias. The ‘refutation’ article was produced for OneKirk and represents their side of the debate.

    I do not endorse any one over the other. I simply present what I consider to be good articles representing the main views. What you decide based on the arguments is entirely up to you.

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