Friday, July 28, 2006

Gay Existence

Of interest in this context is Professor Oliver O'Donovan's essay on the crisis facing liberalism, posted on the Fulcrum website. Prof O'Donovan is about to leave Oxford and go to Edinburgh. His essay includes this passage: "Gays also pose existential questions. They interest themselves in the riddle of gay existence. Anexetastos bios abiƓtos, said Socrates; the life that is unexamined is intolerable to live. And much of the gay Angst is to do with the difficulty of raising questions in public that seem overwhelmingly pressing when they directly concern oneself. The pastoral challenge that the gay phenomenon presents to the church, then, is not primarily emancipatory, but hermeneutic. And that is the supreme justification for a conciliar process that will take up the experience of homosexual Christians as its leading question. How is this form of feeling to be understood? What are the patterns of life with which it may appropriately clothe itself? As far as I can tell, it is deeply in the interest of gay Christians, men and women, that their experience - by which is meant not merely sexual experience, not merely emotional experience, and not merely the narrative of experience, but the whole storehouse of what they have felt and thought about their lives, should become a matter of wider reflection, reflected on by those who are called to live this experience, by those who are called to accompany them in their living, by all who share their understanding of living as something they owe an account of to God."

Apologies for pushing The Times, here 7/27/2006 but Ruth Gledhill's blog there, Articles of Faith, is outstanding. [She is The Times religion reporter.]

1 comment:

huomiseksi said...

These observations strike me as really perceptive, although the wording may be slightly over my head. For instance, this sentence:

"The pastoral challenge that the gay phenomenon presents to the church, then, is not primarily emancipatory, but hermeneutic."

I want to interpret it like this:

The church's mission to gays is not to free us of a life perceived as sinful, but to arrive at an understanding of what our lives mean in the pattern of salvation.

If that is what O'Donovan means, it would certainly be a big help, wouldn't it?