Marriage and sexuality are still in the news. The same-sex lobby has not slackened its pace. One by one governments are changing the laws about marriage. Christians may feel they are fighting a rearguard action. Maybe we are. Certainly our place in society is changing. The hostile parts of our community seem to be getting bolder in mockery and insult. Some of it, no doubt, the church community has asked for. One of the difficulties is to be heard. Rational discussion seems quite difficult.
So this issue of Essentials attempts to discuss some of the matters again for the sake of our EFAC community. Ben Underwood examines homosexuality from a number of angles and has a very helpful set of responses to it. Peter Brain reminds us of the biblical foundations of sexuality and marriage. He also proposes friendship as a challenge to the continuing idolatry of sex.
Same-sex friendship is one of the rallying cries of the debate. But Christians don’t have any problem with same-sex friendships. These, together with opposite-sex friendships, are the stuff church is made of. The problem is the sexualising of such friendships—a grievous matter being highlighted in the Royal Commission and in various news reports of pastors who have affairs with members of their congregations.
Ministering among those who have same-sex attraction is provocatively discussed by Haydn Sennitt. Issues in ministry among heterosexual teens is helpfully canvassed in a review of Patricia Weerakoon’s book Teen Sex by the Book. Four new books on sex and marriage are reviewed by Cailey Raffel—and there are other interesting bits in this issue as well.
For a complete change, Tony Nichols reflects on his second visit to China after 50 years and observes significant changes both in the country and the church.
Dale Appleby is the
rector of Christ the King Willetton in the Diocese of Perth, and the new editor of Essentials