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Sections on this page:
Shared Conversations: Information and Ideas if you would like to join in.
What’s this all about?
In November 2013 the report of the church’s working group on Human Sexuality (generally referred to as ‘The Pilling Report’) recommended that the subject “with its history of deeply entrenched views, would be best addressed by facilitated conversations … to which the Church of England needs to commit itself at national and diocesan level”. In response to this recommendation, the C of E has undertaken a process of Shared Conversations over the last two years across three circles: the College of Bishops, Regionally and with members of General Synod. The key question on which the church has reflected in these conversations is: Given the significant changes in our culture in relation to human sexuality, how should the Church respond?
You can find out a lot more about this process at www.sharedconversations.org
The aim was that the diversity of views in the church would be expressed honestly and heard respectfully, so that individuals might come to discern that which is of Christ in those with whom they profoundly disagree. Neither the process of conversation, nor any of those who facilitated it, has any authority in the decision-making of the Church.
The House of Bishops, having participated in its own conversation and the General Synod conversation reflected further on the issues and brought a report with their initial thoughts to the General Synod in February 2017. (See the Resources section, below) The report received a very good debate with different views vigorously expressed, but the Synod voted not to take note of the report. However, the work on this issue continues and the two Archbishops set out proposed next steps in a letter the day after the debate.
The House of Bishops’ report
What have we done locally?
The Diocese of Gloucester has already been involved in several ways:
- Bishop Rachel was a member of the group that prepared the Pilling report and took part in the House of Bishops conversation
- a small group of people from the Diocese participated in the South West regional Shared Conversation in April 2015 and a report of their reflections on that experience was circulated to Diocesan Synod in February 2016
- all the diocesan General Synod representatives took part in the conversation at General Synod in July 2016 and some of them spoke briefly about their experience of that process at the Diocesan Synod in November 2016
- all the representatives attended the February 2017 General Synod
What else is going to happen?
Bishop Rachel has spoken at Diocesan Synod about her hope that we could offer ways for those who wish to do so, from across the Diocese, to join in this national Shared Conversation. The rest of this webpage offers a range of ideas about ways to share the reflection going on across the church and tells you about resources available to support any activities that people want to get involved in.
Mutual Respect and Confidentiality
As with the main Shared Conversations, whatever conversations take place in the Diocese remain confidential to those who take part; there’s no feedback expected. It’s simply an opportunity to reflect together, to share thoughts and perceptions without any expectation that a shared view will be arrived at or that anyone will change his or her mind as a result. Applying the approach used nationally of promoting the honest expression of views that are heard respectfully is key to a successfully conversation.
A common way of dealing with confidentiality is to apply the “Chatham House Rule” which is that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. So you might say “a view was expressed that…” or “we discussed the idea that…” but not “xx said that s/he thought…”
See also the section below, on getting a group organised about this.
Some options for taking part
Different approaches will suit different people and situations, so this section just tries to set out some of the options for joining in these reflections.
“I’d just like to think about it…”
If you’d just like to spend some time on your own thinking through some of the issues, then there are various online and published resources that might help you with this. You can find a full list in the Resources section below, but for example:
- there are some theological viewpoints which you may find a good starting point
- several books were distributed to General Synod members before their conversation and those are identified in the resources list
- other relevant books are also identified in the resources list
- the Shared Conversation website as above
- various blogs were written about individual experiences of the regional conversations
“We’ve got an existing local group that might spend some time on this…”
In that case there is some guidance in the section on Getting a group organised about what you might need to do in preparation to have a fruitful conversation, and the resources section will be very relevant for you. There are some different approaches possible:
- some brief shared reading beforehand and then an open conversation, this could include the opportunity for people to bring to the conversation a verse or passage from Scripture, which is important to them in shaping their approach
- a book group approach where you all agree to read one or more of the shorter books or other materials available and focus your discussion in that way
- your own group’s general working style
It will be important, if the group is led by anyone other than the incumbent of your benefice, to let them know that you are planning to cover this topic in your group, in case anyone subsequently wants to talk to any of the ministry team about it.
“I’d like to promote a local conversation, but I’m not sure how to go about it…”
In that case your first step will need to be thinking about how to publicise your proposed group and whether you want to work with another person in your local area to organise it together. It will be important, if the group is led by anyone other than the incumbent of your benefice, to let them know that you are planning these discussions, in case anyone subsequently wants to talk to any of the ministry team about it.
There are some different approaches possible:
- some brief shared reading beforehand and then an open conversation
- a book group approach where you all agree to read one or more of the shorter books or other materials available and focus your discussion in that way
- you may have other experience of group discussion that you can apply
It’s possible that some people in the Diocese will want to join a conversation but may not have a group available in their area. If you would be happy to offer them an opportunity to join your group then please let the Mission and Ministry Department know what your plans are so that they can make the link. The contact person in the Department is: The Revd Pauline Godfrey, email@example.com; 01452 835548.
“I’d like to join in a conversation but I don’t know where there is one taking place…”
We have asked anyone who is organising a conversation, who is happy to open it to others beyond their local community, to inform the Mission and Ministry Department so that they can link you to a group. Please do therefore contact Pauline Godfrey in that Department to find out what may be available for you. The Revd Pauline Godfrey: firstname.lastname@example.org; 01452 835548.
Further content and resources
As with any group discussion, it’s important to prepare well for the meeting(s) and that’s certainly the case with sensitive topics like this one.How you handle some of these points will depend on whether your group is already established or starting from scratch, but preparation needs to include:
- thinking about the best number of participants – somewhere between 7 and 12 is usually ideal, so you might want to think about linking with another group if your numbers are very small or having more than one group if there’s a lot of interest
- developing a clear description of the aims of the group
- deciding whether this will be a one-off discussion or a series of meetings – several well-spaced sessions might be good to allow for time for personal reflection in-between, but a single session might equally be a more workable start for a group; it can always agree to meet again!
- deciding what your “ground rules” will be, for example about confidentiality, how long the meeting will be, the level of commitment hoped for if it’s a series of meetings, the principle of respectful listening
- how to introduce these rules at the start of your discussions
- identifying a venue that will feel private, comfortable and neutral to help to put people at ease
- thinking about how, if your group turns out to be largely of one mind on the issue, members can “hear” other views either from literature or websites identified in the Resources section below
- the role of the person convening the group as facilitator:
- establishing a safe, neutral atmosphere and keeping the conversation within the agreed parameters
- reminding participants about the importance of self-care including the need for individuals to have someone with whom they can talk if participation in a conversation raises difficult issues
- noting to the group that in ‘places of difference’ group members need to be particularly alert to the vulnerabilities of other group members and the importance of mutual care and respect.
Our assumption is that people convening groups will generally be the facilitator. However, an external facilitator may be able to be provided to work alongside a local host if you are really concerned about taking on this role. If there is a particular concern about an individual or about how a group is running then please feed this back to the Mission and Ministry Department, either to Pauline Godfrey or to the Director of the Department, Andrew Braddock (email@example.com; 01452 835549).
This section has some suggestions for you to consider about how you will structure your group conversations. Feel free to pick and choose!
- Sample running order for a group session / series
Assuming that whatever materials you are using have been made available in advance:
- Introduction to the topic and its scope
- Ground rules
- A look at both scripture and other influences on our thinking/ feeling/ believing, acknowledging that some influences are cultural/personal and not just obvious, either way, from scripture
- Discussion of the materials the group has read in preparation
- Group members’ experience/evidence of how the church looks from outside, and discussion of the consequences of action/inaction
- Discussion of how to disagree well
- At the end, what people are taking away from the conversation
- Possible starter questions for discussions
In response to a book or blog
What do you have in common with the writer?
Where do you differ?
Can you understand how they came to their views on this subject?
What questions would you want to ask them?
How would you relate to this person if they attended your church?
How could you love and care for them?
How would you want them to love and care for you?
Is this something that’s been on your mind or that of others in your church that you’re aware of?
What do you think the views of people in your local community on gay relationships are?
How do you think they view the church’s position on civil partnerships and gay marriage?
How might that affect the church’s mission?
What do you think might happen as a result of the different positions held in the church about human sexuality?
What might be possible ways forward?
- The Inclusive Church Study Guide outline
Inclusive Church has published a Small Group Study Guide to accompany its book on this topic and it can be downloaded from http://inclusive-church.org/sexuality . It offers a very complete structure, including a short liturgy to introduce and end the discussion sessions and you could use it all or in part.
- The Book Group Approach
- Organiser identifies two short books from different perspectives
- Group members commit to reading both books before the session
- First date fixed well ahead to allow plenty of time for reading
- Open discussion at the session but the organiser would still need to be willing to play a facilitating/neutral role
- Church of England publications
The Church of England has produced several formal reports which looked at human sexuality. These include:
- The Pilling Report(2013) This can be downloaded for free or purchased in hard copy
- Some Issues in Human Sexuality (2003) – A discussion document from the House of Bishops’ Group on Issues in Human Sexuality, which can be downloaded here
- Being Human: A Christian Understanding of Personhood Illustrated with Reference to Power, Money, Sex and Time, a report by the Doctrine Commission of the Church of England (2003) which can be downloaded here
- Shared Conversation materials
Some materials have been produced specifically around the Shared Conversation process.
- Report to Gloucester Diocesan Synod February 2016 – reflections by the diocesan participants in the regional Shared Conversation. Synod minutes
- Presentations to General Synod – As part of the final Shared Conversation with General Synod members, a panel of three speakers addressed theological and scriptural aspects of human sexuality, each from their own distinct personal perspective, informed by their scholarship in this area. Their notes of these presentations can be found below at the links below:
- External Resources
A great deal has been written from a wide range of theological perspectives on the topic of human sexuality. Below are articles, books and other resources which we are aware of. They are offered to enable people to engage with the spectrum of thought and approaches to the issue, but none are endorsed by the Church of England or the organisers of the Shared Conversations, nor is the list exhaustive. Some of the books listed below do not deal exclusively (or even principally) with human sexuality, but are offered because the perspective they present is relevant to the Shared Conversations.
They are of varying length and technicality and a brief introduction is included, taken from the publications.
- The main Shared Conversation website sharedconversations.org
- A set of resources from EGGS (Evangelical Group on General Synod are available here
- The website of Accepting Evangelicals has a series of articles on the Bible as well as personal stories and a section on transgender issues.
- The website of Modern Church – Liberal Faith in a changing world https://modernchurch.org.uk/ has articles, comments and other statement on this topic
Sent to General Synod members before their meeting by different interest groups, these are all quite short readable books.
The Plausibility Problem: the church and same-sex attraction by Ed Shaw, IVP (2015) 166pp
“Ed Shaw experiences same-sex attraction and yet he is committed to what the Bible says and what the church has always taught about marriage and sex. …he shares his pain in dealing with these issues but, at the same time, shows us that obedience to Jesus is ultimately the only way to experience life to the full.” From the book cover introduction.
Amazing Love, Theology for Understanding Discipleship and Mission edited by Andrew Davison, Darton, Longman and Todd, (2016) 93pp
“In short, accessible chapters Andrew Davison explores issues of sexuality in relation to Being Followers of Jesus, Being Human, Being Biblical, Being Part of the Story, Being in Love, and Being Missional.” From the book cover introduction.
Journeys in Grace and Truth, Revisiting Scripture and Sexuality edited by Jayne Ozanne, Via Media (2016) 85pp
“Is it possible to hold a positive view of same-sex relationships while being a biblically rooted evangelical? These writers believe so. [The book] sets out the path each contributor has travelled to reach this point, involving moving encounters, scriptural exegesis and personal revelations.” From the book cover introduction.
NB The Mission and Ministry Department has a small supply of these books available for loan to groups which would otherwise find it difficult to access them. Please contact Pauline Godfrey: firstname.lastname@example.org; 01452 835548.
There have been many publications on this topic and those mentioned below are ones which have come to the attention of the people from the Diocese who participated in the Share Conversations.
Love is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community by Andrew Marin, IVP (2009)
When three of Andrew Marin’s friends came out to him in the span of three months, he was confronted head-on with the question of how to reconcile his friends with his faith. Love Is an Orientation is the result of years of wrestling with this issue. In the book, Marin speaks out with compassion and conviction, elevating the conversation between Christianity and the LGBT community so that the focus is moved from genetics to gospel, where it really belongs.
Paperback: 204 pages; Publisher: IVP Books (25 Mar. 2009)
ISBN-10: 0830836268; ISBN-13: 978-0830836260
A companion volume is: Love Is an Orientation: Participant’s Guide – 13 Dec 2011
Practical Ways to Build Bridges with the Gay Community
In this six-session small group Bible study, Love is an Orientation, Andrew Marin leads you in peaceful and productive ways to engage the theological, political and social disconnects between the Christian community and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
Today s culture often defines bridge building and reconciliation as a one-way street that leads to full theological, political and social agreement. Yet Christ demonstrated a different path of religious and cultural engagement to establish his kingdom here on earth.
In light of such countercultural principles, the Christian community needs a new view on the issues that divide conservative believers and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.
Andrew Marin uses practical applications he s learned over the last decade of living and working in the LGBT neighbourhood of Chicago (Boystown), as well as his international speaking and consulting ministry, to offer a variety of practical teaching, insights, and life-lessons on reaching the LGBT community.
Rather than avoiding the topic of homosexuality, Love Is an Orientation aims to equip the Christian community to bridge the gap between LGBT and religious communities. Instead of discussing how to fix gay people, this small group Bible study is all about getting to know them, engage them, and love them like Jesus does. After this study, you, your small group and your church will know what it means to peacefully and productively build bridges with the LGBT community.
Paperback: 96 pages; Publisher: Zondervan; First edition (13 Dec. 2011)
ISBN-10: 0310891272; ISBN-13: 978-0310891277
Sexuality: The Inclusive Church Resource, Darton, Longman & Todd, London (2014)
There is a huge need for churches to be more inclusive – some might be more inclusive in some areas than others (both in attitude and resources), but on the whole this is a massive failing of churches. Most church leaders recognise this failing but lack the resources and understanding to effect meaningful change. The Inclusive Church Resources aim to educate, to reflect theologically and to provide practical advice and guidance. Each chapter contains first-hand personal experiences of people from the marginalised group, a theological reflection by a leading thinker and a resource section containing addresses, websites and practical advice on improving your church’s inclusivity. The theological section on sexuality is written by Susannah Cornwall.
Paperback: 96 pages; Publisher: Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd (29 Oct. 2014)
ISBN-10: 023253067X; ISBN-13: 978-0232530674
A companion to this is The Inclusive Church Small Group Study Guide which can be downloaded from http://inclusive-church.org/sexuality
Single Minded by Kate Wharton, Monarch (2013)
We live in a couples culture, where a partner, if not a spouse, is assumed; where the expectation is that unmarried people will be sexually active even if not in a committed relationship. But what about those who because of their faith, or their preferences, choose to remain celibate until they find Mr or Miss Right? Kate Wharton tackles directly and compassionately the questions that this choice throws up: issues of identity (church roles and social invitations alike too often assume ‘a couple’); finance (it is much cheaper to live together than alone); sexual pressure (staying pure, in thought as well as deed); friendship (including being friends with the opposite sex) and calling (the cost of obedience may preclude marriage). What challenges face those who, through divorce or death, are single again? This positive, honest book will be a source of wisdom and comfort to anyone who is single, whether or not they expect to remain so.
Paperback: 192 pages; Publisher: Monarch Books; 1st New edition (21 Jun. 2013)
ISBN-10: 0857214306; ISBN-13: 978-0857214300
Covenant and Calling: Towards a Theology of Same-Sex Relationships by Robert Song, SCM Press (2014)
No other issue in recent times has proved as potentially divisive for the churches as that of same-sex relationships. At the same time as many countries have been moving towards legal recognition of civil partnerships or same-sex marriage, Christian responses have tended towards either finding alliances with proponents of conservative social mores, or providing what amounts to theological endorsement of secular liberal values.
Against both trends, Robert Song’s book advances a theological account of marriage and sexuality which appeals to the central biblical theme of the fulfilment of creation in Christ, but is also open to the possibility of same-sex relationships. Rejecting treatments of the Bible which concentrate on a small number of well-rehearsed texts on same-sex relationships to the exclusion of the Bible’s overarching narrative, this book provides a fresh interpretation of the Christian tradition and defends a vision of the church which embraces a plurality of callings, to marriage, celibacy, and covenant partnership.
Paperback: 128 pages; Publisher: SCM Press (30 Sept. 2014)
ISBN-10: 0334051886; ISBN-13: 978-0334051886
Is God antigay? by Sam Allberry, The Good Book Company (2013)
It’s the hot topic of the moment. Christians, the church and the Bible seem to be out of step with modern attitudes towards homosexuality. And there is growing hostility towards those who hold a different view. So is God homophobic? And what do we say, and how do we relate to both Christians and non-Christians who experience same-sex attraction. In this short, simple book, Sam Allberry wants to help confused Christians understand what God has said about these questions in the scriptures, and offers a positive and liberating way forward through the debate.
Paperback: 88 pages; Publisher: The Good Book Company (16 July 2013)
ISBN-10: 1908762314; ISBN-13: 978-1908762313
Living Reconciliation by Phil Groves and Angharad Parry Jones, SPCK (2014)
This book is intended as a platform to enable people to engage with and understand the Archbishop of Canterbury’s thinking on and methodology for reconciliation. Emerging from the Anglican Communion in collaboration with the Lambeth staff, the book has a strong focus on the indaba process which marked the 2008 Lambeth conference, on drawing lessons from practical stories from around the Communion, and on tying the process to the Bible at every point.
Paperback: 194 pages; Publisher: SPCK Publishing (18 Sept. 2014)
ISBN-10: 0281072264; ISBN-13: 978-0281072262
Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill, Zondervan (2010)
‘Gay,’ ‘Christian,’ and ‘celibate’ don’t often appear in the same sentence. Yet many who sit next to us in the pew at church fit that description, says author Wesley Hill. As a celibate gay Christian, Hill gives us a glimpse of what it looks like to wrestle first hand with God’s ‘No’ to same-sex relationships. What does it mean for gay Christians to live faithful to God while struggling with the challenge of their homosexuality? What is God’s will for believers who experience same-sex desires? Those who choose celibacy are often left to deal with loneliness and the hunger for relationships. How can gay Christians experience God’s favour and blessing in the midst of a struggle that for many brings a crippling sense of shame and guilt?
Weaving together reflections from his own life and the lives of other Christians, such as Henri Nouwen and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Hill offers a fresh perspective on these questions. He advocates neither unqualified ‘healing’ for those who struggle, nor their accommodation to temptation, but rather faithfulness in the midst of brokenness. ‘I hope this book may encourage other homosexual Christians to take the risky step of opening up their lives to others in the body of Christ,’ Hill writes. ‘In so doing, they may find, as I have, by grace, that being known is spiritually healthier than remaining behind closed doors, that the light is better than the darkness.’
Paperback: 160 pages; Publisher: Zondervan (14 Sept. 2010)
ISBN-10: 0310330033; ISBN-13: 978-0310330035
New Edition 12-Jan-2017
This updated and expanded edition of the original book includes an additional chapter that continues Wesley’s story and further reflections on spiritual friendships and how the church can be a more welcoming place for those who choose to embrace a celibate calling.”
Paperback: 224 pages; Publisher: Zondervan; Enlarged edition (12 Jan. 2017)
ISBN-10: 0310534194; ISBN-13: 978-0310534198
The Gay Gospels: Good News for Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgendered People by Dr Keith Sharpe, Circle Books London (2011)
The place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in the Christian churches is a highly controversial issue. The stance of all the mainline churches is that homosexuality is sinful and incompatible with Christianity. In seeking to respond to attacks on their lives, identities and relationships LGBT Christians have moved over recent decades from a defensive position to a more affirmative position which asserts that there is evidence in the Bible and the Jesus tradition of validated homoerotic experience.
This book presents a systematic overview of both the defensive and affirmative positions. In part one, The Defensive Testament, each of the so-called ‘biblical texts of terror’ used to demonise LGBT people is considered in turn and found wanting. None of them has anything to say about consensual same sex love. In part two, The Affirmative Testament, homoerotic elements in various Bible stories including the healing of the centurion’s servant, Jesus and the beloved disciple, David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi are revealed to make visible the place of LGBT lives in the Biblical tradition. Taken together, these two testaments forcefully champion the equality of LGBT people in the Kingdom of God and represent a formidable challenge to ecclesiastical homophobia.
Paperback: 160 pages; Publisher: Circle Books (28 Jun. 2011)
ISBN-10: 1846945488; ISBN-13: 978-1846945489
God, Gentiles and Gay Christians: Acts 15 and Change in the Church by Andrew Goddard, Grove booklet (E121) (2001)
Those who argue for the acceptance of homosexual practice in the church (‘revisionists’) have often argued their case on the basis of rights or justice or causality, but have not usually sought a biblically-based authorisation. But some recent commentators have argued that the acceptance of Gentiles into the early Jewish church, as depicted in Acts 15, provides an analogous case with the acceptance of homosexual Christians into a heterosexual church.
This booklet looks at the argument, carefully teases out the different strands and assumptions, and evaluates the strength of this potentially important case. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in this crucial debate.
Paperback: 24 pages; Publisher: Grove Books Ltd (April 2001)
ISBN-10: 1851744614; ISBN-13: 978-1851744619
Dirt, Greed & Sex: Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and their Implications for Today by L. William Countryman, SCM Classics; Paperback (2011)
Dirt, Greed and Sex is one of the most influential studies published in recent times on the subject of sexual ethics. Discussing biblical notions of purity and property, which dominate ethical ideas in the New Testament, the author characterises sex as one of the rich blessings of creation, `to be received with delight and thanksgiving’ Countryman’s generous and eirenic views on sexual matters, based as they are on solid biblical research, are a welcome intervention in an area which unfortunately, in Christian circles, still tends to be dominated by conservatism and misinformation rather than principle. L William Countryman is Professor of New Testament at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley.
Paperback: 322 pages; Publisher: SCM Press; New edition (1 Feb. 2011)
ISBN-10: 0334028574; ISBN-13: 978-0334028574
Human Sexuality and the ‘Same Sex Marriage’ Debate, ed. Mark D Thompson (2015)
The current debates about gender, the meaning of marriage and human sexuality are of interest to people inside and outside the Christian churches. A massive exercise in social engineering is underway around the world and it is often difficult to discern how Christians might contribute to the debate in a way that will not simply be dismissed as traditionalist bigotry.
The Sydney Diocesan Doctrine Commission has spent two years reflecting upon the issues and has produced this little book as a resource for Christians who wish to understand what is happening and how they might respond, as well as an explanation to others of why Christians have found the debate and the way it has been conducted in the public arena deeply disturbing.
Written by the Sydney Diocesan Doctrine Commission to address human sexuality and the ‘Same Sex Marriage’ Debate from a Biblical standpoint.
Paperback: 104 pages; Publisher: Anglican Press Australia (2015)
More Perfect Union? Understanding same-sex Christian marriage, by Alan Wilson, Darton, Longman & Todd (2014)
In this important and timely book Alan Wilson argues that allowing gay people to marry is a moral purpose. Wilson says: ‘I asked myself “what does God want for gay people?”. After re-revisiting the Bible, and more importantly getting to know gay people of all types and varying backgrounds, he decided the answer was that God wants for them the same as everyone else – flourishing faith, hope and love, involvement and inclusion. Meanwhile, from a scientific perspective, More Perfect Union? asserts that homosexuality is part of a wide range of human sexual longing and expression, not an anomaly, a sickness, not merely a lifestyle choice. The vast majority of people Wilson encountered on his journey toward being in favour of same-sex marriage were not anti-gay, were ‘just trying to love their neighbour as themselves’, even if, in some cases, their heads lagged behind their hearts on the issue of gay marriage. The ultimate aim of this book is to help Christians unite head and heart in a fully positive response to gay people marrying, and to enable them to wholeheartedly rejoice in such union, in doing so shaking off the hangover of years of stereotyping, fear and discrimination about gay people.
Paperback: 160 pages; Publisher: Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd (26 Sept. 2014)
ISBN-10: 0232531250; ISBN-13: 978-0232531251
An Acceptable Sacrifice? Duncan Dormor and Jeremy Morris (eds.), SPCK (2007)
Here is an oasis in the desert of the Anglican debate . . . This book is rightly aimed at those who are unresolved on questions about homosexuality. Its contention that these questions are important but should not be church-dividing will ring true with many’ Professor David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge. ‘… an extremely useful and sympathetic guide for the ordinary lay or clerical reader who wants to learn more about the issue which seems to be pulling the Anglican Communion apart . . . ‘ David Jones, former Deputy Director of Oxfam and a member of General Synod. “An Acceptable Sacrifice?” The answer is simple: No. It is not acceptable for us to discriminate against our brothers and sisters on the basis of sexual orientation just as it was not acceptable for discrimination to exist on the basis of skin colour under Apartheid.” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Paperback: 192 pages; Publisher: SPCK; 1st Edition (15 Feb. 2007)
ISBN-10: 0281058512; ISBN-13: 978-0281058518
Permanent, Faithful, Stable: Christian Same-sex Marriage, by Jeffrey John, Darton, Longham and Todd (2012)
Drawing on many years’ personal and pastoral experience, Jeffrey John explores the meaning and context of the mentions of homosexuality in the Bible and also considers the moral arguments, before offering guidance to same-sex couples on forming a lasting, covenanted, monogamous relationship. Earlier editions of this book have become essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the theology of same-sex relationships in a Christian context. It has been cited by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, as one of the most helpful books on the subject. This new edition has been updated to take account of the latest thinking on the issue. In a brand new Preface and Postscript, Jeffrey John speaks forthrightly about the Church of England’s failure to move positively in support of same-sex marriage.
Paperback: 96 pages; Publisher: Darton, Longman & Todd (9 Aug. 2012)
ISBN-10: 0232529574; ISBN-13: 978-0232529579