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Reflecting on the work of God God, sex, marriage and our pastoral work.

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Presentation on theme: "Reflecting on the work of God God, sex, marriage and our pastoral work."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reflecting on the work of God God, sex, marriage and our pastoral work

2 What is God’s work? From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; * even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, * we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation 2 Corinthians 5

3 How do we proclaim reconciliation? 1.We need not to regard each other from the point of view of the flesh but as children of God and those for whom Christ died. 2.We need to model reconciled diversity in our common life. 3.We need to help one another discern in what ways we are lost/estranged/in need of rescue. 4.We need to let Christ do the work of making us each a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5

4 How do we discern the reconciling God at work in human community? Where there is delight in the genuine ‘otherness’ of the other? Where there is long term commitment to keep caring and keep working at it? Where there is forgiveness? Where there is sacrifice?

5 How do we discern the reconciling God at work in sexual relationships? Where there is delight in the genuine ‘otherness’ of the other? Where there is long term commitment to keep caring and to keep working at it? Where there is forgiveness? Where there is sacrifice?

6 What is our response when we discern this reconciling work in progress? We give thanks We proclaim it of God We offer our support

7 But there are other considerations… What if other parties have been hurt? What if there is public scandal? What if there are scriptural verses that make it difficult to proclaim this love as holy A relationship between a believer and a non-believer? A same sex relationship? One or both parties have previously been divorced?

8 Proclaiming reconciliation Hope has to have a voice and has to be heard. If we are to help to keep hope and imagination alive for ourselves and in others, Walter Brueggemann suggests that the sermon must be a modelling of a conversation in which all partners speak. He warns that if… the voice of our listeners has been silenced by alienation or suppressed rage, then the voice of God alone will not evoke praise or permit transformation. We should remember that we can only preach the word of God as such a conversation if our own voice, too, has not been reduced to silence. Cocksworth & Brown

9 Discerning God at work Prayer, with other Christians Scripture, as it points to Christ Lived experience of God’s justice

10 Reconciling love in our context 1.We disagree – how do we model reconciled diversity in our life together as a connexion? 2.In discussing such matters together, how do we help one another to speak truthfully out of our experience of prayer and of God speaking through scripture, and of our experiences of God’s grace and justice? 3.In responding to those seeking God’s blessing on their relationships – how do we speak the truth as we see it, whilst making room for the voice of others, and for God to speak anew? 4.In proclaiming God’s reconciling love to the world, how do we help our culture to reflect more deeply about sexual relationships and how they might be disclosive of God’s grace?

11 Encountering God in sexuality Such a powerful aura surrounds the subject [of sexuality] which is both terribly attractive and wonderfully frightening that I am quite sure we are dealing with a dimension of Holiness. Both the Holy One and the Evil One know something which we are only just beginning to suspect. Power has been hidden in weakness. God knew that only humble vulnerability could be entrusted with spiritual power and so God hid it like a treasure in the body. Richard Rohr

12 Christian fear of sexuality the charge against the Christian tradition [here] is of its failure to do much more than … to say, ‘You are right to be confused, repressive, fearful.’ The situation is further confused today, in a culture that appears to be anything but confused, repressive and fearful, but is none the less so. The church’s attitude to sexuality mirrors the fear and, above all, the hopelessness, in the culture. We must not mistake the mirror for the beacon. Sebastian Moore

13 How much do we want our sexual activity to communicate? When looking for a language that will be resourceful enough to speak of the complex and costly faithfulness between God and God's people, what several of the Biblical writers turn to is sexuality understood very much in terms of the process of "entering the body's grace".

14 If we bracket, for the moment, the terminology of what is normative or ideal, it seems that at least we have here a picture of what sexuality might mean at its most comprehensive. And the moral question, I suspect, ought to be: How much do we want our sexual activity to communicate? How much do we want it to display a breadth of human possibility and a sense of the body's capacity to heal and enlarge the life of others. R Williams

15 Reconciling love in our context 1.We disagree – how do we model reconciled diversity in our life together as a connexion? 2.In discussing such matters together, how do we help one another to speak truthfully out of our experience of prayer and of God speaking through scripture, and of our experiences of God’s grace and justice? 3.In responding to those seeking God’s blessing on their relationships – how do we speak the truth as we see it, whilst making room for the voice of others, and for God to speak anew? 4.In proclaiming God’s reconciling love to the world, how do we best help our culture to reflect more deeply about sexual relationships and how they might be disclosive of God’s grace?

16 References Clive Marsh, Christ in Practice, London DLT 2006 Cocksworth and Brown, Being a Priest Today, Norwich: Canterbury Press, second edition 2006 p93 Rowan Williams, ‘The body’s grace’ in Eugene Rogers, Theology and Sexuality Oxford: Blackwell 2002, pp Richard Rohr, ‘Near Occasions of Grace’ NY: Orbis 1993 Sebastian Moore, ‘The crisis of an ethic without desire’ in Eugene Rogers, Theology and Sexuality Oxford: Blackwell 2002 p


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