Rowan Williams: The Body of Grace (Gay and Straight)

While this might come as something of a shocker to those who only know about this story via the media, for anyone who has followed Williams (extremely impressive and profound) theological career/writings this was abundantly clear:

However, in an exchange of letters with an evangelical Christian, written eight years ago when he was Archbishop of Wales, he described his belief that biblical passages criticising homosexual sex were not aimed at people who were gay by nature.

He argued that scriptural prohibitions were addressed to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety. He wrote: “I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.” Dr Williams described his view as his “definitive conclusion” reached after 20 years of study and prayer.

Williams is one of a very small handful (less than 5) of the most theologically learned and subtle to ever hold the chair of the Archbishopric of Canterbury.  He clearly sees his role as Archbishop as to upheld the traditional teaching against homosexuality while clearly himself thinks otherwise.  Among the many shames and sadnesses of this whole whatever going on in the Anglican Communion is that Williams’ depth is lost.  He is busy putting out fires and being a ecclesial bureaucrat and its a loss to the whole Communion particularly in its difficulties in articulating a clear interpretation of the gospel fro a postmodern pluralistic world. 

[And yes if you get the picture on your computer right you are seeing a picture of the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion and Paris Hilton in adjoning posts].

Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 8:46 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That’s interesting.I think it’s a shame Democrats can’t be more courageous in the fight for gay rights as well. I don’t know that any of the contenders for the Democratic nomination had it as part of their platform. I know that Hillary and Obama did not, at least the last time I checked their websites.

    I think Democrats are real cowards on that issue. They’re probably looking at polls that say Americans are against gay marriage and such, but they do have the option of leading and shaping the polls rather than being shaped by them. It’s a civil-rights issue like any other.

    Last week I saw a documentary called A Jihad for Love in which gay Muslims made the argument that the alleged prohibitions against homosexuality in the Koran referred to male rape rather than homosexual companionship. Here is a link to the trailer for Jihad for Love:

  2. thanks for the link. i’ll have to give it a look.

    as per the dems, Obama is doing a little kabooki on this one. he clearly would seem himself to favor gay marriage but he worries it will hurt him so he supports civil unions but isn’t against California’s recent ruling either. He wants to overturn don’t ask/don’t tell.

    So not perfect for sure from the pov of someone in favor of such policies, but to be fair a major step in that direction over any previous presidents in US history.

    peace. cj

  3. Yes, I agree. I am pretty sure he would do more to honor the rights of gays if he could, but anymore may not be politically sound. Kind of like allowing slavery in the south even though the Constitution prohibited it and then doing something about it when they had the power to.

    Don’t ask/don’t tell is kind of interesting. Basically, I would want gays to be able to serve openly as they do in the Netherlands (I think, meaning: I think I would like them to serve openly but not entirely sure), but that would require a level of evolution among the other soldiers that may not be there.


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