Coming out as Grace: Patrick Chen, on the “Out Christ”

In the second instalment of his long essay on Christology, sin and grace at “Jesus in Love Blog”, the theologian Patrick Chen discusses Christ’s incarnation as God “coming out” to the world. This is an idea I first came across in Chris Glaser’s “Coming out As Sacrament“, and which Chen takes as his starting point:

The Out Christ arises out of the reality that God reveals Godself most fully in the person of Jesus Christ.  In other words, God “comes out of the closet” in the person of Jesus Christ; it is only through the incarnation, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we understand the true nature of God (for example, God’s solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed).  Indeed, the notion of the Out Christ as the revelation of God is supported by Jesus Christ’s description in the Fourth Gospel as the logos or Word of God.

Chris Glaser, the gay theologian and Metropolitan Community Church minister, has written about the Out Christ in his book Coming Out as Sacrament.  In that book, Glaser describes Jesus Christ as nothing less than God’s very own coming out to humanity:  “The story of the New Testament is that God comes out of the closet of heaven and out of the religious system of time to reveal Godself in the person of Jesus the Christ.”

“Sermon on the Mount” (from Ecce Homo) by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin

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Advent: Prepare Ye A Way For Inclusion

Advent is a solemn time of anticipation, preparing for the festive celebration of the Nativity. Christmas though, is much more than just the infant Jesus that is the focus of so many family Christmases: it is much more a celebration of the incarnation of Christ, a constant making real His presence in the world. That presence is marked by a pronounced emphasis on love, justice, and inclusion of all – including sexual minorities as well as all manner of marginalized people of His day.

In our world, that same openness and inclusion for all does not exist, not in the secular sphere, and not in the Church. If we are truly to participate in preparing for the incarnation, to contribute to building God’s Kingdom on earth, it is appropriate for this season of advent that we should reflect on the ways in which we personally can participate in preparing for this inclusion in Church.

Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic ministries to LGBT Catholics, has released an Advent statement with some suggestions, specifically geared to ending the oppression of queer youth:

Equally Blessed Advent 2010 Statement

For a Queer Christmas – Send Gay / Lesbian Cards.

Advent begins this week, and with it the season for shopping.

For all Christians, this time of year can be difficult, with tension to negotiated, between Advent as a solemn season of preparation for the important Christian festival of Christmas, and the purely secular festive season leading up to the winter solstice, which marks the mid-point of winter’s darkness and gloom.

For Christian sexual minorities (including the many straight singles and childless couples) there is an additional difficulty – the relentless emphasis in both church and stores on children and family. Kittredge Cherry at Jesus in Love Blog has come up with an ingenious way to counter this. Send your friends gay or lesbian themed Nativity cards. Love, after all, makes a family.

(I like Kitt’s use of the term “Nativity” card – the word “Christmas” has been as much distorted and misused as the festival.)

Read her original post at Jesus in Love Blog, where she makes an important point: we must remember that in the traditional Nativity story, the biological details of the birth are extraordinary. Is the idea of a same sex couple procreating any more extraordinary than the Virgin birth?

To that, I would add the observation by the Catholic theologians Salzmann & Lawler, in “The Sexual Person”: procreation refers not only to the physical production of an infant, but also the the subsequent care and nurturing of the child.  Procreation by same-sex couples is not nearly as far-fetched as some people would have us believe.

Order your nativity cards from the Jesus in Love Card Shop.

 

A Catholic Case For Blessing Civil Unions

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Gay Marriage: The Fallacy of the Church’s Argument Against.


Give Thanks For This Kairos Moment of LGBT Inclusion

For Thanksgiving, More Light Presbyterians have released an important statement “Giving Thanks for Change in Our Church“:

This Thanksgiving, we give thanks for God’s extravagant love for all of God’s creation…no exceptions, no one outside of God’s embrace. This Thanksgiving, we give thanks for God’s sustaining grace in and through difficult times, loss of those we love, illness, economic hardships and war. This Thanksgiving, we give thanks for the peace that passes all understanding that comes from trusting that God’s redemptive love and justice is at work in our own lives, in the lives of others, in our Church and in the world.

The rest of the statement is worth reading, but is specific to the Presbyterian General Assembly’s approval last summer of 10-A, on the ordination of openly gay or lesbian pastors. Thanksgiving is a specifically an American observance. The principle of recognizing and giving thanks for progress, though, is an important one for all who are queer in church, anywhere in the world, as the evidence for progress is strong, across all major denominations and regions of the world.

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Fr Owen O’Sullivan on Gay Inclusion (Pt 1): Is Homosexuality Unnatural?

Extracts from Fr Owen Sullivan’s Furrow article on gay inclusion may be read at “Boundless Salvation”, where they have been reproduced by Jason Davies-Kildea, a Salvation Army officer serving as Social Program Secretary of the Melbourne Central Division. He has divided the series into eight parts, under the headings

Here at QTC, I shall be attempting to add some commentary of my own, keeping to the same eight -part division.

So, is homosexuality “unnatural”? I have already published numerous posts showing clearly that it is not, at least not in the sense of “found in nature”. Abundant evidence shows conclusively that same sex erotic activity is found throughout human history, in multiple cultural contexts, and in all branches of the animal kingdom.  I am not going to haul out this evidence yet again. Regular readers will be familiar with it, new readers can follow the links. But, I have been told,”natural” does not mean “moral”. Of course it doesn’t – but it also doesn’t mean immoral. In any case,I am told further, that is not what the theologians mean by “unnatural”. What then, do they mean?

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Cardinal Schonborn: Four Months, and In Benedict’s Favour.

It is now over four months since the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna made his remarks on the need to replace the Catholic obsession with homosexual acts with far greater emphasis on the quality of the relationships. For all those who expected a flood of outraged repudiation and denial, there has been  –  nothing, not a peep. There was a well-publicized meeting with Pope Benedict that some observers saw as a dressing-down – but the discussions appear to have been solely on the criticisms of Cardinal Sordano, not the remarks on sexuality. Even that, if it was indeed some kind of rebuke, is quite clearly now gone and forgotten. For the pope’s annual gathering of his former theology students, Cardinal Schonborn had a signal place of honour, being invited to deliver the homily at the closing Mass, which Benedict himself celebrated.  This is what Rocco Palma had to say at Whispers in the Loggia:

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James Alison Book Launch: "Broken Hearts and New Creation"

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the launch of theologian James Alison’s new book “Broken Hearts and New Creation”. I have known James since I first starting attending the London Soho gay Masses, where he was then a regular, and have read and admired all his his previous books, which have significantly influenced my own thinking, so I looked forward to this with anticipation. I was not disappointed – the evening even exceeded my expectations.

For those unfamiliar with his work, I offer some brief background. James is a priest, who was formerly a Dominican and teacher of theology. He was forced to leave the order some years ago for his insistence on speaking honestly about homosexuality, and since then has forged a new career as an independent theologian, writing, lecturing and leading workshops around the world. He is openly gay, but refuses to identify as a “gay theologian” – rather, he says he is a theologian who writes from a gay perspective. This shows, as his work is admired not only by gay Catholics, but also in the wider theological fraternity. (He was introduced at the launch as “every theologian’s second favourite theologian – after themselves”.)

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