1. God, Gays and the Church. Human Sexuality and Experience in ChristianThinking
Lisa Nolland, Chris Sugden and Sarah Finch, eds., God, Gays and the Church. Human Sexuality and Experience in ChristianThinking, London, The Latimer Trust, 2008. 978-0-946307-93-7
The following is a review added to the Amazon.com site in early April 2010, largely in response to a review already present there. This version has been slightly expanded.
This book was produced in response to debates in the Church of England’s General Synod, on 28 February 2007, which it reports on. It is relevant, though, to any examination of the relationship between homosexuality and Christianity, and other sexual issues.
It looks at the whole relationship of the Anglican leadership to the powerful gay lobby, and presents several very sobering accounts of the experiences of gay people, men and women, who have sought to exit homosexual lifestyles (e.g. the account of Dr Ronald G. Lee (p. 59), which deserves to be read at least twice).
Central to the Synod debates, it shows, was an obvious and unsubtle work of engineering, by the leadership, which made sure that the orthodox viewpoint (and the experiences of post-gays, as mentioned above) were marginalised and largely silenced.
Also – and this is very important, and rarely realised – it showed the thoroughly this-worldly (i.e. secular) values by which the debates – of a Christian Church! – were carefully framed by the revisionists (p. 21-2), and the (related) way in which a person’s “experience” (i.e. nature) is, in this view, to be considered sovereign – in defiance of the whole of Christian tradition, belief, thought, and theology.
Also, the book sought to differentiate between the (much-vaunted) “committed, faithful, loving, and stable” relationships and actual sexual exclusivity (p. 11). Contributions by Lisa Nolland (one of the editors) shows how the business of marriage-like relationships between two men (or two women) are just the start, as the ménages of polyamorists, zoos, and consenting paedophiles, are well on the horizon.
The orthodox Christian answer to the incursions of the gay lobby above all (it seems to me) makes the crucial distinction between so-called “liberalism” and authentic freeing (again, see Lee, and several others (pp. 25-59)); it exposes the total falsity of what has been called “the three myths about homosexuality” (it is inherent, it is not changeable, and its is “natural” (physiologically safe)).
Above all, the Christian faith offers real freedom – which is not to be found in the gay lifestyle or from the gay lobby – or by pandering to physical appetites or this-worldly desires. We have moved on since 2007. The time of hysterical name-calling (“Homophobe!”) is over. Now it is the time real facts, objective evidence, truth – and real liberation. The only people who could be offended by this book (as one of the Amazon reviewers was) are those determined that the prisoner’s chains may never be broken, that the doors of their jails remain ever shut.