Why it’s WEIRD to be straight

A woman (Christian) I know told me a few weeks ago that she objected to being asked to tick a box on equal opportunities forms that said ‘heterosexual’. Married for over twenty years, she felt that ticking that box implied that she had erotic desires for people other than her husband, people defined by a particular characteristic (being male); this was not her experience of her own sexuality, and she resented being forced to suggest that it was. In the culture I live in this self-narration is deeply counter-cultural; but the culture I live in is weird, or better WEIRD, and that is extraordinarily important. The ‘WEIRD’ acronym was coined by psychologists who realised, rather late in the day some of us might feel, that performing...

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Baptists and sexuality

UPDATE: I reaffirm everything I said about BUGB handling this discussion astonishingly well, but I now understand that what I heard to be a change of policy was not…

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Gay relationships in the Bible?

I have been reading the new edition of Jeffrey John’s book, now titled Permanent, Faithful, Stable, Christian Same-sex Marriage,in preparation for writing a couple of pieces on human sexuality. In the course of his discussion, Canon John makes brief reference to the miracle of the healing of the Centurion’s servant in Lk. 7:1-10 // Mt. 8:5-13, and draws on Theissen and others to suggest that ‘[a]ny Jew … would almost certainly have assumed they were gay lovers.’ (p. 14) On this basis, and because ‘the possibility that the relationship was homosexual would not have escaped Jesus, Matthew or Luke’ (15), Canon John argues that ‘it is a real question whether we are intended to see Jesus deliberately including a gay...

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The trouble with ‘normal’: a further note on human sexuality

I have argued before on this blog that one of the problems with contemporary ecclesial debates over human sexuality is the assumption that a Christian sexual ethic should celebrate, and enshrine, ‘normal’ sexuality. It occurs to me in reading some recent public comments from different churches that one of the problems with this is the slipperiness of the word ‘normal’. I think there is a fundamental ambiguity in the word which is not often recognised. It is so elusive that it is even there in the OED definition(!), where 2a (the relevant meaning) offers: ‘Constituting or conforming to a type or standard; regular, usual, typical; ordinary, conventional.’ With fear and trembling – can the OED ever be wrong? – I want...

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Queer Hippo: musings on human sexuality

[This is a 'Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis' post: the ideas have been in my head for several years, and I've been wondering what, if anything, to do with them. Then I thought of the title, and just had to publish somewhere. There's a book here - I'd be interested to know if readers of the blog think I should write it.] The debate on human sexuality as it is being conducted in every Western denomination of which I am aware is being conducted badly. An assumption is shared by both sides of the argument, an assumption which would be denied, on the one hand, by contemporary queer theory, and on the other by the ethical reflections of the greatest bishop of Hippo, St Augustine. This post is about the things that queer theory and Christian ethics in the tradition of St...

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