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The Church of Scotland Theological Commission on Same-Sex Relationships and the Ministry
by Asssembly Arrangements Committee of the Church of Scotland
Human sexuality remains the hot potato of British Christianity and this report joins a long line of Commissions and Committees to explore all the theological, ethical and pastoral issues involved. Like most church reports the presentation and style of this one does not encourage reading, and yet to the persistent enquirer this report contains many of the key points of dispute. What it lacks is sustained exposure to the voices of gay and lesbian Christians whose voices must be heard if church pronouncements are to carry integrity.
As might be expected the report is structured to place the document within the narrative of the Church of Scotland's theological development; this makes the report firmly parochial in a denominational sense that is both its strength and purpose, if limiting in its appeal.
The two sections of most interest present the polarised sides of the debate - Revisionist verses Traditionalist. The fundamental diffferences in approach that each side represent are instantly grasped as the Revisionist approaches sexuality from the perspective of love and the Traditionalist from an (almost) literal understanding of scripture. Communication between two such divergent theological worldviews is going to be tricky for the language used by one is largely unintelligible to the other.
Therein lies the crux of this entire issue that no report in itself will overcome - how can we learn to listen to one another so that we hear and understand that which we find repugnant - whatever side of the fencce we sit on?
Reviewer: David Ford (07/10/13)