Sydney launch for essays on scripture and homosexuality

Sydney launch for essays on scripture and homosexuality

Five Uneasy Pieces: Essays on Scripture and Sexuality will be launched by the Hon. Michael Kirby at Paddington Uniting Church on February 22.

The “uneasy pieces” come from the pens of Australian biblical scholars within the Anglican Communion, skilled in exegesis and hermeneutical theory.

Each essay addresses the question of homosexuality in the Bible, looking at passages in the Old Testament and the New Testament which are often used as a basis for rejecting homosexuality in Christian ethics.

Dorothy A. Lee, Dean of Trinity College Theological School, Melbourne, says each essay argues that there is no biblical warrant for condemning either a homosexual orientation or a faithful and committed homosexual relationship.

She says the book makes it clear that both sides of the debate take seriously the Bible as the inspired word of God and both are seeking to discern the scriptures in order to hear God’s voice speaking to us today.

The Rev. Dr Elizabeth J. Smith, Anglican Diocese of Perth says, “These Five Uneasy Pieces are uneasy as to the topic they canvass: the handful of biblical texts which are most often used to pronounce on the wrongness of homosexual activity … They are honest, naming the social and theological complexities of the worlds in which the biblical texts were written and are now read.

“And they are hopeful, showing Anglicans how disciplined reading of the Bible on the subject of human sexuality can be liberating for both straight and gay Christians who want to live together with a spirit of generosity in the 21st century Church.”

Michael Kirby, Former Justice of the High Court of Australia, says, “I do not regard these chapters as ‘Uneasy Pieces’. I regard them as full of ease and grace. We should feel uneasy about translation of words that bring cruelty and unkindness to vulnerable minorities.”

Anglican priest Nigel Wright, the first Melbourne Anglican priest to identify himself as gay, edited the book, prompted by the need for a reasoned counterpoint to some of the more strident declarations on what is or is not a Christian expression of human sexuality.

Contributors include:

  • Megan Warner (“Were the Sodomites Really Sodomites? Homosexuality in Genesis 19”)
  • Richard Treloar (“On ‘Not Putting New Wine into Old Wineskins’, or ‘Taking the Bible Fully Seriously’: An Anglican Reading of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13”)
  • Peta Sherlock (“Reading Romans as Anglicans Romans 1: 26–27”)
  • Alan Cadwallader (“Keeping Lists or Embracing Freedom: 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 in Context”) and
  • Gregory C. Jenks (“Rules for Holy Living: A Progressive Reading of 1 Timothy 1:8–11”).

In addition to the academic essays, a set of shorter extract essays written by the same authors has been written with the “lay person in the pew” in mind. They are published by Changing Attitude Australia  and are available as a download.

Five Uneasy Pieces: Essays on Scripture and Sexuality will be launched by the Hon. Michael Kirby on February 22, 6 pm, at Paddington Uniting Church, 395 Oxford Street, Paddington Sydney. Cost: $25.

RSVP to ATF Press (08) 8271-4438 or email: hdregan@atf.org.au.

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