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Exploring the New Creation: Eschatological Imagination and the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions

Abstract : A positive Christian approach to homosexuality has alternated between an apologetic streak (trying to prove, in particular, that the Bible is not as negative on the subject as one may think) and a pioneering, exploratory streak that relates to Christian sources in a way that allows gays and lesbians to affirm their particular experience as located at the heart of Christian tradition. While acknowledging some indebtedness by the latter to the former, this paper focuses on the pioneering streak. The pace of change in many Western countries over same-sex issues in the last 25 years and the successful outcome of political campaigns for same-sex marriage has greatly impacted the development of this Christian LGBT pioneering streak since the 1990s. Homosexuality today in the West is less associated with a queer critique of the bourgeois family and has largely taken on the discourse of ‘family values.’ Western gay and lesbian Christians are no exceptions and one may wonder to what extent the lesbian and gay Christian imagination is still fired by the resources provided by the monastic tradition and monastic friendships, for example, to conceive of gay and lesbian relationships in a Christian perspective (something which was important to Michael Vasey, to mention but one gay theologian). Holy matrimony seems to be the template that is increasingly used to conceive of these relationships. Whatever the case is, the friendship and the marriage template may both be seen as part of a fundamentally eschatological spiritual adventure, inspired by the work of queer theologians such as James Alison, to name but one. It leaves behind what one might call the natural paradigm of much Western theology by which the final destiny of human beings is understood as the return to the original purity and order of Creation in the garden of Eden. This paper focuses on the material for the blessing of same-sex unions authorised by the Episcopal Church in 2012. It has sought to produce an inspirational, eschatological picture of the Kingdom of God, in which both friendship and marriage are put on the same plane within the larger category of covenanted relationships. This is still a tentative picture, however, whose consonance with the experience and aspirations of Episcopalian gay and lesbian couples may vary. My reflections are based on participant observation at the Episcopalian Consultation on Same-Sex Marriage held in Kansas City in June 2014, follow-up conversations with some attendees one year later and considerations on the new material on marriage and same-sex blessings presented to the 2015 General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
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Contributor : Rémy Bethmont Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, November 28, 2016 - 5:17:24 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 11, 2021 - 2:22:22 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 12:53:35 AM


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Rémy Bethmont. Exploring the New Creation: Eschatological Imagination and the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions. Beyond 'Lesbians and Gays in the Church': New Approaches to the Histories of Christianity and Same-Sex Desire, Mark Chapman and Dominic Janes, Sep 2015, London, United Kingdom. ⟨halshs-01404485⟩



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