Textual orientation

Choon-Leong Seow. In RL Brawley (ed) Biblical Ethics & Homosexuality: Listening to Scripture (Louisville: Westminister John Knox Press, 1996). Seow guides us through the four categories of texts that are usually cited by those who argue against homosexuality: legal texts (Lev 18.22; 20.13); narrative passages (Gen 19; Judges 19); New Testament 'lists' (Rom 1.26-27; 1 Cor 6.9; 1 Tim 1.10); and creation theology (e.g. God creating humans male and female, with a charge to "be fruitful and multiply" - see Gen 1.28). Seow then points towards the wisdom literature including Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes. These writings are the learnings of human experience;the work of mothers, fathers and sages rather than that handed down from the religious establishment. In this tradition, science, as well as experience, can be a source of wisdom. "Here in the wisdom tradition of the Bible," says Seow, "is scriptural authority for human beings to make ethical decisions by paying attention to science and human experience" (p 29, italics his). Human experience can at times move us beyond the biblical text. This is a biblical perspective we must keep in mind when considering homosexuality. 

Gentile wheat and homosexual Christians: New Testament directions for the heterosexual church

Jeffrey S Siker. In RL Brawley (ed) Biblical Ethics & Homosexuality: Listening to scripture (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996) ch 9. The Gospel of Matthew (13.24-29; 36-40) contains the challenging parable of the wheat and the tares (or weeds). A farmer plants seeds, but an enemy comes at night to sow weeds. The farmer decides to wait until harvest before destroying the weeds, "because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them". Siker argues that we should follow this parable, and let it curb our tendency to remove perceived 'sinners' in our churches. In doing so, we are likely to cause a lot of damage. Also, it is really hard to tell the difference between 'wheat' and 'weeds', until harvest. He relates this parable to homosexual Christians, who many are keen to 'uproot'. If you believe homosexuality to be a sin, let it co-exist, and trust that God will sort it out in the end.

Of eunuchs and predators: Matthew 19:1-12 in a cultural context

Carmen Bernabe. Biblical Theological Bulletin, Vol 33, 2003, 128-134. Discusses Jesus' comments on divorce. From the abstract: "In this essay I hold the view that the point at issue in Matthew 19:1-12 is less one of divorce and more of a contrast between two forms of wife-husband relationship within a marriage: one, the traditional form, and the other, an alternative form deriving from the values of the forthcoming Kingdom that Jesus proposes to his disciples". The dominant cultural context was one where male honour depended on the kind of relationship men had with their wives - which tended to be dominant and patriarchal. Jesus suggests a radical alternative: that men do not divorce their wives at will, and renounce some of their culturally derived masculinity. This could be seen as "symbolic or social castration" - which Jesus alludes to in his call for men to choose to live like eunuchs "for the sake of the kingdom of heaven". 

A spirituality of sexuality

Ronald Rolheiser. Ch 9 in The holy hanging: The search for a Christian spirituality (NY: Doubleday, 1999). One of the most helpful, beautiful and whole things I have ever read on sexuality. Rolheiser begins with the idea of sexuality as an awareness of being 'cut off' - the root of the word sex is apparently the Latin verb secare ("to cut off", "to sever", "to amputate", "to disconnect from the whole"). "We wake up in our cribs, not serene, but crying - lonely, cut off, severed from the great whole," writes Rolhoiser. Sexuality is the energy or the drive that works incessantly to reconnect us. Genitality - or having sex - is one aspect of this. But it is not the only aspect. In its wholeness, "sexuality is about giving oneself over to community, friendship, family, service, creativity, humor, delight, and martyrdom so that, with God, we can help bring life into the world". Sexuality is sacred, and as such sex "can never be casual, but is either a sacrament or a destructive act".