Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Paul Gibson, Discerning the Word: The Bible and Homosexuality in Anglican Debate, 2000.

I want to be Paul Gibson. Well, in fairness, it’d be more accurate to say that I have a deep and abiding respect for the Rev. Dr. Paul Gibson. He writes and speaks with astounding clarity and insight, and is to my mind the epitome of someone whose attempt to articulate issues of faith honestly and prayerfully, with the deepest possible commitment to engaging fully with scripture, reason, and tradition.

His book is interesting enough on the issue of homosexuality and the church, but what makes me appreciate it more deeply still is his care and sensitive approach to how scripture has been read, and how scripture should be read. For example:

It is possible to treat the Bible in exactly the way earlier generations of Christians treated the person of Jesus and the sacrament of the Last Supper. [that is, particularising one aspect in such detail as to move into heresy] It is possible to deny the human, the this-world dimension of the Bible and with the same devastating results.

Gibson offers a path for reading and engaging with scripture in a way that finds a via media between Bibliolatry and the dismissal of the Bible as mere human scratchings, and his path is a clear statement of how I myself think the Bible should be read. Someday, I’d like to be able to articulate such things as well as does the Rev. Dr. Gibson. It's a book well worth reading, to think about how to be with scripture.

For some online wisdom from the Rev. Dr. Gibson, read through his response to the St. Michael report.


Paul Chappel said...

I still believe that in fifty years this will be a total non-issue, and the our children's generation will look back on us as neaderthals. Don't you agree?

Matthew said...

I hope that it will be a non-issue, certainly. The House of Bishops' letter to General Synod, though, does not inspire great confidence in me that such will definitely be the case.

As for neanderthals, I hope not. I'd like to be able to say that we tried to offer a pastoral response to all concerns, and while we took far too long about it, we spent time listening, one to another--and that, after all, is never lost time.