Sunday, May 16, 2010


I see it is nearly two weeks since my last post. Not good. Not with the next Hermeneutical Hui coming up very fast: last week in June 2010, at Dilworth School, Auckland. Not, by the way, the last hui ... this one will be 3.1 and the next, possibly in 2011, will be 3.2.

Here is some of my thinking re the hermeneutics of homosexuality in Scripture ... musings more than dogma, let the reader understand!

What will aid us not to be a church where the first thing a gay or lesbian person feels is that they are not welcome? (That question is intentionally worded in this way, but it does sit alongside the obvious complementary question, "What will aid us to be a church which welcomes gay and lesbian people?")

What understanding of Scripture can I (and you) reach which is not going to buckle or even reverse at the first sign of a reality check (like discovering a best friend is gay)?

What understanding of Scripture can we reach as a whole church, which is faithful to our long 2000 year tradition of being church? (And what would "whole" church mean? Just ACANZP? the Anglican Communion? the Anglican, Roman and Eastern Orthodox churches?)

What is God saying to the church? How do we know it is God doing the saying and not, say, our wishful thinking?

You can probably think of some other parameters. Let me know.


  1. What will aid us to be a church where the first thing a gay or lesbian person feels is that they are not welcome?

    Taking the question at face value (though I don't believe that this is the question you meant to ask) and leaving aside obvious answers such as, "be very rude and openly hostile towards them," the fact is that there is nothing one can do to make another person feel anything in particular. People's feelings are their own and under their own control. A remark or action that might cause one person to feel offended and angry can cause another to feel sad, another to feel amused, another to feel pity and so on.

    No matter how friendly the greeting, one cannot make another person feel welcome who, for whatever reason, is not disposed to feeling welcomed.

  2. Whoops, Janice!
    Well spotted when I said, "What will aid us to be a church where the first thing a gay or lesbian person feels is that they are not welcome?" Quite the opposite was intended and the question is now updated!!

    It is true that we cannot make people feel anything. Nevertheless, I hear of churches which deliberatively exclude gay and lesbian people.

  3. I would suggest a study of how the church managed to do this in the past on issues of a similar nature -- starting with the Apostolical coming to terms with Gentile inclusion in the people of God, without the Scripturally mandated circumcision -- which was achieved in part by coming to understand what had been a matter of the flesh in terms of the Spirit.

  4. That, Tobias, raises some significant questions! Are their issues of a similar nature in the past of the church? ... I feel a post coming on!!