I’ve been deeply impressed over recent years by the careful thought that a number of people such as Steve Chalke have given to how we listen to God speak through the Bible. It is so easy to read the scriptures and have our existing positions strengthened rather than allow scripture to speak clearly to us.
I continue to feel a tension between different passages in scripture. It seems to me that the more I listen to scripture, and the more I listen to others, there is no clear scriptural position on matters of sexuality. Clearly worded proof texts do little to help as they seem to me to speak contrary to other clear scriptural statements. It seems to me that many of the texts that are relied on to support traditional positions on sexuality do not carry the strength of certainty and gravitas that many commentators suggest they do. We are always left uncertain of the social context into which those texts spoke and we cannot be clear what was being addressed by the original authors. Almost inevitably we hear our own ideas and values reflected in scripture. However, those passages exist and are part of God’s word and we need to listen to them.
On the other hand we have some amazing passages in scripture which affirm that we are all created in the image of God. These passages assure me that God’s love reaches out to all of us. I am also sure that he affirms who we are as his children, created in his image, carefully and wonderfully formed in the wombs of our mothers. Our status before God is determined not by our correct theology, nor by our obedience to God’s rules, but ultimately, primarily and only by the strength of God’s love for us.
I listen to the personal testimony of people like Vicky Beeching I am challenged about where I stand in the debate not so much on an intellectual level, nor on a theological level, but most of all on a pastoral level.
Vicky has courageously put her income at risk as a Gospel Singer in the States by coming out as gay. This for her and many others is not just a theological issue, not an intellectual issue, but an overwhelmingly personal issue. It is about who she is.
I am still a ‘fence-sitter’ as far as theology is concerned.
I am, however, very clear about the pastoral issues and the acceptance God offers to us all regardless of sexuality, and perhaps, since our sexuality is so integral to who we are, because of our sexuality. I know that God does not condemn us for who we are, rather he reaches out to all of us in love.
I want to listen more carefully to Vicky Beeching and to what she chooses to share on her blog:
There was an excellent article in the Independent which tells much of Vicky’s story: