Came across this pie chart earlier today: the section on polar ice caps melting made me grin, given all the ongoing chat about global warming. Maybe they are connec...no, maybe not.
Was at a discussion last night with the gloriously broad title 'God and Sex' [which God, what kind of sex?!] and again thought that if ever I were to write a book on sexual ethics, I would have to entitle it 'Sexual positions'. :)
The discussion was an oddly irenic one, as opposed to the general slanging matches that tend to hit the news. This was rather cheering, however, it should be noted that none of the three speakers could really be described as 'right-leaning' in their views. Richard Holloway discussed themes from a book of his, 'Godless Morality', observing the need to remove God out of the ethical context to better enable more sensible, fruitful discussion. Sara Parvis countered with the comment that, given we were discussing what the Church had to say re. sex, God was rather right in the midst of the whole discussion and it would be an odd thing to even think of separating God from an ethic that was faith-based. Augustine and Aquinas received honourable mentions.... While Ian Paton apologised 'for being an Anglican' after an 'on the other hand...' comment.
In what was a wide-ranging discussion concerning the broad spectrum of human sexuality/ies, a major question raised was how to define marriage/ the purpose of marriage. Certainly, in the on-going Church of Scotland discussion regarding same-gender relationships and clergy, I've often felt that the starting point really should be to ask how we define the term 'marriage'. And here I'm reminded of the glorious Peter Cook, who unashamedly stole the show in his cameo in 'The Princess Bride' - 'Mawwidge...is wot bwings us...togevva'
What is marriage?
Is it only valid if procreation is involved?
What about those who are infertile or who marry later in life: procreation in these circumstances is not possible....
Is it a misuse of 'marriage' to join these couples together?
If not, then why allow the marriage - what is its purpose here, if not for means of procreation?
If the purpose here is for companionship, then why can this not be allowable for same-gender couples? I'm thinking of 1 Cor. 7:9 -
'But if they are not practising self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.'
This text is fine and dandy if one is heterosexual... but what if one is not and the stance is that only heterosexuals can be married/ have their relationship legitimised? Should the text then read:
'it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion - except if you fall in love with people of the same gender. In that case, sorry, you basically just have to burn.'
Currently then, the received wisdom from the Church [in many cases] would be that LGBT people are called to live to a higher standard than their heterosexual brothers and sisters... and reviled when they fail to make the grade. In this, Michael Vasey opined that 'the Church is dangerous to gay people...' and that 'the Church provided no viable strategy by which to live his life.' [I believe in a CofE synod in the 90's].
In all the [endless/ round and round /torturous] discussions on sexuality and the Church, it is a thing of sadness to me that human relationships end up being boiled down to merely focusing upon the sexual act. I'd like to think that being in a partnership was a much broader, richer thing - in which sex played a part [or perhaps not for whatever reason], but was not the sole component or focus....
So, what is marriage?
Who is it for?
Why do it?
And why is the Church seemingly getting it's knickers in more of a twist about this matter which is not a substance of the faith matter, than feeding the hungry, visiting the prisoners, clothing the naked, encouraging folk to love one another just as Christ loved us...?
*grin* I did say at the start that this was a rambling post, lol!
As ever, this is merely a springboard to get some of my own thoughts a little more finely tuned.