Theologian and author R. R. Reno offers an analysis of some of the deep disorders of contemporary culture that assail the Church in his essay "Sex and the Episcopal Church," a chapter in his book, In the Ruins of the Church: Sustaining Faith in an Age of Diminished Christianity.
Few theologians have as perceptive a sense of the deep disorders of contemporary culture (and the challenges those disorders present to the Church) as R. R. Reno. So MARS HILL AUDIO is proud to be able to share with our friends one chapter from his recent book, In the Ruins of the Church: Sustaining Faith in an Age of Diminished Christianity. "Sex in the Episcopal Church" was written before the current controversy concerning Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, but analyses many of the cultural dynamics at work in the Episcopal Church, drawing heavily from David Brooks's portrayal of Bourgeois Bohemians (in his book Bobos in Paradise). This essay is available for download for a limited time, thanks to the book's publisher, Brazos Press. [Posted February 2004, KAM]
For informative discussion about homosexuality, Christopher Wolfe?who discussed the subject on Volume 49?recommends several books and web sites.
For informative discussion about homosexuality, Christopher Wolfe—who discussed the subject on Volume 49—recommends the following websites: www.CourageRC.net; www.exodus-international.org; www.peoplecanchange.com; and www.narth.com.
For further reading he recommends the following books (quotes from Wolfe):
Fr. John F. Harvey, The Truth About Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful (Ignatius Press, 1996); David Morrison, Beyond Gay (Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Co., 1999); and Christopher Wolfe, ed., Homosexuality and American Public Life (Spence, 2000). "These books contain chapters on a wide range of topics associated with this issue."
Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg, The Battle for Normality: A Guide for (Self-) Therapy for Homosexuality (Ignatius Press, 1997) and On the Origins and Treatment of Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Re-interpretation (Praeger, 1985). "Written by a psychiatrist with a great deal of clinical experience, it provides a kind of self-help manual for those dealing with same-sex attractions."
Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Baker Books, 1996). "Dr. Satinover is absolutely excellent on the genetic and biological aspects of homosexuality."
Elizabeth R. Moberly, Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic (James Clark, 1983). "A very short book, written by a Christian psychiatrist."
George A. Rekers, ed., Handbook of Child and Adolescent Sexual Problems (Lexington Books, 1995). "Written by a counselor with a great deal of experience in dealing with young people who experience tendencies toward homosexuality."
In 2001, Abingdon Press published an examination of the biblical account of homosexuality by Robert Gagnon, an assistant professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Gagnon subsequently wrote a summary of the book, titled The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, for Theology Matters: A Publication of Presbyterians for Faith, Family, and Ministry.
In 2001, Abingdon Press published an examination of the biblical account of homosexuality by Robert Gagnon, an assistant professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Gagnon subsequently wrote a summary of the book, titled The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, for Theology Matters: A Publication of Presbyterians for Faith, Family, and Ministry. In the article, "The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Theology, Analogies, and Genes," which is available on-line as a pdf file (listed under "Gagnon, Robert"), Gagnon reflects on the theocentric posture of Scripture before approaching the "three main arguments for supporting homosexual practice,"and before looking more closely at two issues within those arguments. The two issues he looks at more closely concern the biblical analogies that are used to support homosexual practices, and the "socio-scientific data" used to prove the innateness of homosexual desires. Gagnon offers the following in his concluding thoughts in the article: "Jesus, Paul, and the first-century church generally did not view sexual intercourse and sexual gratification to be God-given rights, nor did they regard sexual intimacy as the highest good. . . . The fact is that Scripture's carefully defined vision for acceptable human sexual expression—and that of any civil society whose law contains vestiges of that vision—leaves a lot of people bereft of sexual intimacy through acceptable channels. . . . The extraordinary energy that the church has expended in efforts to secure endorsement of homosexual behavior should be diverted instead to exploring ways in which those homosexually inclined, as well as all others who cannot obtain sexual intimacy within the bounds of Scripture's parameters, can have their intimacy needs met through acceptable avenues." [Posted March 2004, ALG]
In an article called "The First of Institutions," theologian Gilbert Meilaender writes that conversations about homosexuality should begin with a discussion of marriage.
As headlines from both coasts indicate, there is increasing argument about the morality of homosexuality and about the proper response to social and ecclesiastical demands by homosexual rights activists. In an insightful article called "The First of Institutions" (which is available as a pdf file here), Gilbert Meilaender establishes a framework for the portion of the discussion that focuses on theological ethics. Meilaender writes that conversations about homosexuality should begin with a discussion of marriage and its purposes because marriage is the first of institutions and, as such, has much to say about the nature of sexuality and love. He proceeds to define the purposes of marriage and what they imply about sexuality, and only then moves on to the Bible's evaluation of homosexual behavior and what others have said about it. He concludes by measuring the latter against the former. "The First of Institutions" was published originally in Pro Ecclesia, Volume VI, Number 4.
Meilaender has appeared on various issues of the Journal. [Posted April 2004, ALG]
John F. Kilner is one of the editors of The Reproductive Revolution: A Christian Appraisal of Sexuality, Reproductive Technologies, and the Family (Eerdmans, 2000). Earlier books on which he collaborated include Bioethics and the Future of Medicine: A Christian Appraisal (Eerdmans, 1995), Dignity and Dying: A Christian Appraisal (Eerdmans, 1996); "The Way They Were, the Way We Are: Bioethics and the Holocaust" (First Things, March 1990), and Genetic Ethics: Do the Ends Justify the Genes? (Eerdmans, 1997). MARS HILL AUDIO recently produced an audio anthology called The Ethics of Human Cloning, which may be ordered by calling 1.800.331.6407. We also have available an unabridged audio edition of Gilbert Meilaender's Bioethics: A Primer for Christians. Additional resources include: C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength (Simon and Schuster Trade, 1990); Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (Knopf, 1964); Albert Borgmann, Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life: A Philosophical Inquiry (University of Chicago Press, 1984); Albert Borgmann, Crossing the Postmodern Divide (University of Chicago Press, 1992); George Parkin Grant, Technology and Justice (University of Notre Dame Press, 1986); Stanley Hauerwas, Naming the Silences: God, Medicine, and the Problem of Suffering (Eerdmans, 1990); Stanley Hauerwas, Suffering Presence: Theological Reflections on Medicine, the Mentally Handicapped, and the Church (University of Norte Dame Press, 1986); Leon R. Kass, Toward a More Natural Science: Biology and Human Affairs (New York: Free Press, 1985); Stephen E. Lammers, editor, On Moral Medicine: Theological Perspectives in Medical Ethics (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987); C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (Macmillan Publishing Company, 1947); Richard John Neuhaus, "The Excitable Dr. Watson" (First Things, June/July 1990, pp. 67f); Richard John Neuhaus, editor, Guaranteeing the Good Life: Medicine and the Return of Eugenics (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990); Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (Knopf, 1992); Paul Ramsey, Ethics at the Edges of Life: Medical and Legal Intersections (Yale University Press, 1978); Max L. Stackhouse, "Godly Cooking? Theological Ethics and Technological Society" (First Things, May 1991, pp. 22-29); and Michael Aeschliman, The Restitution of Man: C. S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983). Gilbert Meilaender's Body, Soul, and Bioethics (Notre Dame, 1995) looks at how the field of bioethics has developed over the last 25 years, and how in his view some questions have been asked and/or answered badly. Also see Jeremy Rifkin's The Biotech Century (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1998). Nigel Cameron's book, The New Medicine: Life and Death after Hippocrates, has been re-issued (in the summer of 2001) by The Bioethics Press. Dr. Cameron is a senior fellow with the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity (www.cbhd.org). The fellows of the Center have been involved with the publication of a number of important books on bioethics, including the anthology Bioengagement: Making a Christian Difference Through Bioethics Today (Eerdmans, 2000).[Posted between October 2001 and June 2002, ALG]