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David Bunce
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Hi Neil, I think it's a really good resource too, and I think it's fantasticly useful in encouraging churches in reflections. Just some of my thoughts about it: 1) I think really importantly for a Baptist reflection comes on the role of the state/church definitions of marriage. I think it is entirely right that the state should define marriage according to the values of a liberal state, and so I have no problem with same-sex marriage being legalised and strongly supported. This then also makes space for a prophetic, subversive Christian witness of marriage as something different. Christian theology of marriage (cross-centred, covenantal, sacrificial, life-long) is already so different to state ideas of marriage, and has been for decades, that I think a clear break is in everyone's interests, so we can begin to reclaim a theology of marriage that is clearly distinct. (Steve Holmes argues something similar in and I think from memory some of Stanley Hauerwas' ethical essays follow similar lines of thought) 2) On the subject of gender, I was reading yesterday an interesting (if provocative) essay ['Dancing in the Spirit', Elizabeth Stuart in The Way Forward, Ed. Timothy Bradshaw, (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1997) which was looking at the idea of identity as being crucially socially and historically defined - ie we can't have access to an a-historical version of 'me' other than the fact that I am a white English middle-class educated male. She links that in with the concept of the Incarnation, where Jesus was historically incarnate in specific historic circumstances and in doing so, God takes historically concrete identity into the divine being. Now I've some problems with her constructive theology (especially her Trinitarian theology!) but I think it's at least helpful in the way that it picks up with a lot of feminist/queer constructions of gender and engages theologically with where a lot of secular reflection is at. Also, I think the fact that identity is also historically and contextually rooted is an important one when thinking anthropologically, even if as Baptists we would then want to subsume this to some degree into a eschatological account of identity as taking part in the life of the Risen one. I'm not convinced that the latter theological reading of identity necessarily comes at the expense of the former concreteness. 3) I've also read this and heard Marin say this before [re:gay vs. homosexual), but I've also read other commentators and homosexual theologians argue the opposite (some of whom come from UK contexts), expressing the view that sometimes the gay movement has become an emblem of a political aggressiveness they don't necessarily want to self-identify with. I guess, like many things of identity, it depends on the individual/context/culture and it's best just to ask! They're my initial responses! Hope they provide useful food for wider thought.
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2013 on Gay Marriage at Distinct Reflections
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Jan 25, 2013