Monday, May 16, 2016

How I Came to Change My Mind on SSU: Part 19. Conclusion

I started this series by enumerating some obstacles to changing my mind on the received Christian understanding of same-sex attraction and the possibility of blessing same-sex unions. Those obstacles are real. I have tried to address some of them and offer a case for rethinking the Church’s understanding in a way that I hope is faithful. But, I admit that the case is not straightforward. If you are unpersuaded, that is OK. I have no illusion that mine is the only faithful understanding.

But, as I have pointed out repeatedly (here and here), much depends on how we engage scripture and tradition. All of us need to be wary of imposing our biases and prejudices onto both. We need to be wary of selective readings. Just as importantly, we need to be conscious of the “rules” we use to interpret both and how we incorporate what we have learned about the world – and the people around us.

I have argued that the testimony and example of faithful gay and lesbian Christians must be taken into account – that means all gay and lesbian Christians not just the ones who say what we want to hear. It is such testimony that has persuaded me to rethink this topic. I find the evidence of brother and sister Christians who live lives of self-control and self-sacrificial love in committed, monogamous, same-sex relationships compelling

I have sometimes heard people say they would love to find an acceptable case for rethinking sexuality. Why? Of course it could be because of the power of personal desires that they want affirmed. It could be because of the social pressure to affirm what many in our society seem unwilling to condemn. But, couldn't it also be that we have been shaped by the Church's story – rooted in Jesus and the rest of the New Testament – of self-sacrificial love in the context of mercy and grace; and, given what we now know about same-sex sexual attraction, the prohibitions against it seem incongruous to that story? This series has been my attempt to demonstrate why I think the last question can be answered in the affirmative.

This is not a matter of mere "inclusivity," an ideal that is inadequate as a Christian principle. The issue, it seems to me, is whether or not entering into a committed, monogamous, permanent Same-sex Union provides a fertile context for the cultivation of redemptive, sanctifying disciplines that lead to deeper love of God and love of neighbor as exemplified by Jesus. It is about pursuing the holiness of God-centered, self-emptying, cross-bearing, other-oriented love incarnated by Jesus Christ and cultivating the disciplines that enable us to embody that love in thought, word, and deed. If so, do they not build up the community? I have come to believe the answer to that question is "yes."

When I started this series, I did not expect it would take exactly one year to complete. But, I am done.

"As long as Christian morality is thought to be mainly about whether and when people should go to bed, no bishops are going to be crucified. And this is depressing."
Herbert McCabe (Roman Catholic Dominican priest, theologian and philosopher), Law, Love, and Language


Part 16. Abomination (i)

Part 15. Sodom

Part 1. Obstacles

No comments:

Post a Comment