Church Views on Sexuality: The Middle Ground, Savitri Hensman
It is clear that Christians hold a spectrum of views on sexuality and marriage. However, the popular idea that there are two warring blocks that may be labelled ‘traditionalists’ and ‘revisionists’ is simplistic and can be misleading as well as unhelpful. Current tensions could be reduced and reframed significantly if more church leaders acknowledged the extent of common ground in the middle of this continuum, allowed limited flexibility of practice, and enabled their communities to develop practices of discernment oriented towards the “grace and truth” (John 1.13-15) that lies at the heart of the Christian message.
In this paper, Ekklesia associate Savitri Hensman identifies seven widely held positions on sexuality. She suggests that those with supposedly diametrically opposing views often have more in common than they may at first think. Equally, she argues, in Christian terms, that coexistence among those sharing a ‘middle ground’ is not about weak compromise, but instead reflects an approach both deeply rooted in Bible and tradition and open to change as a living community led by the Spirit.
A Reassessment of the Traditional Christian Teaching on Homosexuality, Transsexuality and on Gender and Sexual Variation Using a New Neurophysiological and Psychological Approach, Susan Gilchrist
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 was given Royal Assent on 17 July 2013, which means that “marriage of same sex couples is lawful”. Except that, currently, there’s no mechanism to “solemnise” them. In order for an Act of Parliament to take effect, it’s not sufficient for it to be passed and granted Royal Assent. It must be enabled, and this is done by a series of Statutory Instruments.
There are a number of areas which affect transgender people that should be of concern. Please read the article available via the link and make your views known to your Member of Parliament.
In December 2013, the House of Bishops will receive a report into the Church of England’s “Approach to Human Sexuality” from a group chaired by Joseph Pilling. It is understood that the report will then be discussed by the full College of Bishops in January 2014.
When the House of Bishops established the review in July 2011 it did so because it wished “To offer proposals on how the continuing discussion within the Church of England about these matters might best be shaped in the light of the listening process. Our intention is to produce a further consultation document”. The Pilling report will therefore be a report to the House of Bishops and it will then be for the House to decide, in the light of the report, what proposals and process of consultation it wishes to launch.
The LGB&T Anglican Coalition expresses its appreciation of the discussions it has already had with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and it is now understood that the outcome of these talks will be subsumed into the Pilling Report. There are already leaks about what the Pilling report may contain. See for example:
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/006294.html and clearly a period of intense discussion lies ahead. It is important that all those who wish to contribute to these matters participate in the debate.