Showing posts from March, 2018

St Paul and Sexuality Part 3 - Galatians 3

Galatians 3:28 isn’t about gays!!! I get this said to me, and it's because a ton of my writing either explicitly or implicitly makes people think of Galatians 3.28. I go there a lot. And if you’ve read my stuff and ever wanted to shout at me that this wonderful pinnacle of Pauline theology just doesn’t mention gay people, I apologise.  I want to take this objection seriously and look at it full in the face.  I want to answer it.  Here’s the objection: It’s all very nice to say there’s one humanity, that all people are equal, that we’re all the same - but if one’s basic understanding of homosexuality is that it is portrayed in the Scriptures as intrinsically sinful, what then? St Paul doesn’t make grace and sin equal things. Quite the opposite! So people who resolutely refuse to live by God’s standards are not equal to those who repent and live under grace. Well let’s put Galatians 3:28 out there for everyone: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor fr

a trajectory of hope - part 2

I’d like to revisit the “trajectory of hope” post I looked at a week or two back - the question of whether the way the Bible works through attitudes toward slavery can help us as we wade through our contemporary debates on sexuality. There’s a passage in Matthew 8 that often comes to me as I think of this. I don't think of this passage because it resolves the whole issue. I go here because it pinpoints some of attitudes around our debates in a way that makes me think. A lot. The words we use matter. The way we speak to each other matters. Anyway. Almost thirty years ago at Theological college I read ‘The Shadow of the Galilean’. Gerd Theissen’s book was the first place I came across that mentioned the healing of the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8.5-13 as a possible homosexual reference.  From memory of what I read as I looked into this back then: Luke calls the centurion’s servant a “doulos”, a “slave”; Matthew calls him a “pais”, which could be a “boy”, or the passi

strangers and aliens

I lived abroad for six months in 1990. It was between my first job out of college and my training for ordination. I’d been in Oxford for five years, and I was going to be in Oxford for another three (it turned out to be four) so I reckoned a change would do me good. The change I chose was the USA. Based in Maryland, I somehow visited nineteen states in six months - and made a couple of life-long friends. There’s nothing like your first experience of living abroad. Being a foreigner is a terrific life experience. I loved it. And I had some super hosts along the way. But I also hated it. It was a short-term experiment, and I knew it would end. I love to travel - but I love to come home too. There is something in me which does not like living permanently on someone else’s terms. Which is ironic. Because one of the great experiences of being gay is that you constantly feel like a foreigner, even when you are home. Brett Trapp’s great blog, Blue Babies Pink , about growing