The Rainbow Community and the Emerging Church
I’ve recently read the thread about sex before marriage and I’m interested in pursuing a slightly different question. The relationship of romantic and sexual relationships to covenant is, it seems to me, a key understanding; one can even make a strong point for “the Divine Romance” as part of the Scriptures. I’m also working my way through ost material on the nature and use of Scripture in the emerging Church. Again, commitment to the mission and person of Jesus should drive and inform our commitment to the story told through Jewish and Christian sacred writings using a ‘critical-realist’ hermeneutic.
In light of these two factors, how does the emerging church propose to welcome/deal with/evangelize gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or sexually questioning people? What issues of biblical interpretation, sin, holiness, covenant, healing, and justice are involved?
1. Biblical interpretation. Is “homogenitality” (Daniel Helminiak, 2004) condemned by Scripture in all contexts? What are the cultural contexts of the “homosexuality texts”? Is the conclusion of the text to be simply applied cross-temporally and culturally?
2. Holiness. Is it proper to use the sacred text to condemn covenant or even legal relationships between same-gender persons? What does holiness mean in terms of the OT holiness code? How do glbtq Christians and truth seekers live holy sexual lives?
3. Covenant. How do we define covenant? Marriage? Should homosexual relationships be blessed by the Church? For what reasons would/would not same-gender relationships embody covenant?
4. Healing. Do glbtq people need healing? of wounds from prejudice? from their sexual orientation? In what ways can the Church support these persons in their journey to be more like Jesus and their Kingdom-living? How does the emerging church plan to present and live the gospel for glbtq people?
5. Justice. What are the social implications of the first four aspects? Does the emerging church need to repent of homophobia, not being committed to the “gospel of healing” (which I understand NT Wright believes was programmatic for Jesus), or something else? How should the emergent church work politically to address civil rights, etc. for glbtq individuals? How do we grow our position into a Kingdom-justice perspective, rather than simply being a soap-box or political point of orthodoxy?
Hopefully I’ll be able to post my own perspective and questions soon, but of course this is ost: have at it, comments would be helpful!