OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.
Sex before marriage?
A report commissioned by the diocese of Southwark (Church of England) has argued that ‘cohabitation should be viewed as a “new path from the single state to the married one”’ (see TimesOnline article). ‘It is clear that all the media now present cohabitation uncritically as the practical equivalent of marriage, and in this context it is difficult for the Church, perhaps especially at the local level, to present Christian teaching about marriage in a positive and attractive light.’
We are certainly getting to the point where we must begin to regard marriage as an eccentric minority option. I have argued elsewhere on this site that we need to encourage the development of a ‘court of the Gentiles’ spirituality that is God-centred, committed to compassion and justice, but more expansive, more inclusive, more diverse, more exploratory than the spirituality that marks out baptized followers of Jesus. Would it make sense to retain marriage as characteristic of the community of disciples, who anticipate the new creation, but accept that a ‘Gentile’ spirituality will have to accommodate alternative patterns of sexual behaviour? This obviously has implications for homosexuality too. OK, I know it’s problematic, but it avoids dumping the church’s commitment to marriage as a biblical norm while at the same time allowing us to adopt a much more positive, affirmative, supportive stance towards people who are just living normally. Tell me what you think.