Wednesday, June 08, 2005

On Civil Partnerships

Meanwhile, the fellow called "I'd Rather Not Say" has published a good and thoughtful essay (from a conversative Christian perspective, no less) on a rationale behind civil partnerships as separate from Christian marriage. It's long, but very worthwhile. Note that the essay begins by discussing a recent proposal by English bishops that English clergy not be disciplined for participating in celibate civil partnerships when the law that allows them in the UK takes effect in December. Check it out:

"Goin' to the Chapel?"

What do I think? I'm glad you asked...

In his 1997 essay "Christian Same Sex Partnerships," (in T. Bradshaw, ed., The Way Forward?) Rev. Dr. Jeffrey John argued that if the Church is going to call its homosexual members to a state of perpetual celibacy, it must provide some alternative to the apparent sentence of lonliness that seems to be foisted upon all Christian persons who do not enter a state of holy matrimony.

If in the scope of our Christian living and reflection, the only way to be permanently joined and committed to a loving family is marriage, it is because we have not yet formed ourselves into the cohesive and permanent Christian communites that New Testament Christians could take for granted. Our theology of the Community, the New People of God, is terribly stunted if we can only find permanent loving relationships not in the fellowship of the Church, but in marriages that may or may not be Christian.

To put it briefly and succinctly: If we are going to call members of the Community to celibacy (which has historically been considered a vocation, not a punishment), we'd best re-learn a theology of celibacy post-haste.


+ Alan said...

Good points there O Kyle. Hmm, yeah - good points. How "sufficient" is His Grace anyway?

Anonymous said...

Well said. In my own context I think of how many times the word "family" is used in the modern nuclear sense when we advertize events...a "family" event. Even if it is called a church "family" event the assumption is married with children.

We have substitued everything else for a trinitarian view of relatioship and community.

Kyle said...

No kidding. When the Xns talk about family, it still sounds like a saccharine, voluntary association. When I talk about being the new community of God with my friends, it means, "well, we're pretty much stuck with each other's dumb asses, so let's learn to love."