Tradition and Sexuality
Please note that this paper, which I wrote 12 years ago, does not reflect my current thinking on the subject. But I'm offering it for further discussion.
Freedom, including my freedom to love, therefore begins with the sovereign freedom of God who elects humanity to be God’s covenant partner, and who forms our lives so that we are called to relationships that correspond to the image of God’s faithful love for humanity. We are, in other words, created for community.This is the starting point for an extended argument on same-gender relationships (and their place in the order of Christian community) which is now available on the website of Andover Newton Theological School at www.ants.edu.
The conference brought together evangelical, mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Jewish theologians, church historians and ethicists for a broad survey of where churches find themselves on this issue. Mine was an attempt to build a "centrist" approach that might offer hope to churches that sincerely want to include lesbians and gays in their fellowship (and to honor their relationships), but haven't been able to find a way within the boundaries of tradition.
Arguing within rather than against Christian and Jewish tradition is where I think the future of this debate lies. On this subject, we don't have to settle for an unproductive polarization between "traditionalist" and "liberationist" discourses. Personally, I find the boundaries of tradition to be liberating rather than confining: consider the evangelicals who in the early- and mid-nineteenth century both faithfully and creatively engaged the Bible in the struggle to abolish slavery. Faithfulness to tradition is not always synonymous with resistance to change.
What do you think? You're welcome to read the paper, and share your opinion here. It's a long read, by the way, but I hope worth the time.