Category Archives: Church

ALLin Podcast Episode 10: Did God create only two genders?

Genesis 1 and 2 tell two different creation stories, both culminating with the creation and marriage of two people. This was a Middle Eastern, black haired, brown eyed, cisgender man and woman. But does that mean all people have to Middle Eastern, black haired, brown eyed and cisgender? And does it mean all marriages must be between only a man and a woman? If not, how should we be reading Genesis 1? 

This is another one hour long episode, and you should ensure you’ve listened to Episode 9 before you listen to this.

Once you’ve listened to it, please let me know your thoughts and questions.

ALLin Podcast: Episode 07: Leviticus 18 & 20

The ALLin podcast provides resources and insights for Christians who affirm the LGBTQI community. In this episode we look at the two Old Testament Laws that talk about male gay sexual activity. We look at the context, the Holiness Code and ancient Israel’s sexual ethics.

Summary: The commands against gay sex in Leviticus 18 and 20 were given to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land, and they were about the people who already lived there. Look at the first few verses of Lev 18 and 20 and you’ll see clearly that these Laws were about what the pagan nations did in their temples. These temple rituals included tattooing your body, shaving your head and having gay sex with teenage boys. They also included child sacrifice. And God said to the Israelites: don’t do any of these things in MY temple. These chapters in Leviticus are not meant to be a code of sexual ethics for all time, but a specific set of restrictions related to temple Worship in the pagan nations that surrounded Israel. They do NOT apply to gay people today. And they have nothing to say about gay marriage.

Resources:

If the Church Were Christian – a manifesto for the emerging church

I was recently recommended the 2011 book by Philip Gulley, “If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus” (Available at Amazon). I am busy reading it, but love the general idea.

It is a wonderful bringing together of many of the concepts embodied in what has become known as “the emerging church” – a movement of progressive Christians and churches around the world trying to build a “new kind of Christian” (to quote one of the men who kicked it all off, Brian McLaren).

In his book, Gulley suggests ten ways that we can rebuild spirituality, Christianity and the church today. I am paraphrasing, borrowing from his chapter titles and main themes:

  1. Jesus needs to be a model for living – someone who’s life we follow – more than an object of worship.
  2. Affirming people’s potential is more important than reminding them of their brokenness.
  3. The work of reconciliation should be valued over making judgments and division.
  4. Gracious behaviour is more important than right beliefs.
  5. Inviting questions is more valuable than supplying answers.
  6. Encouraging personal exploration and experimentation with faith is more important than group uniformity.
  7. Meeting actual needs is more important than maintaining institutions.
  8. Peacemaking is more important than power or position.
  9. We should care more about love and less about sex.
  10. Life in this world is more important than the afterlife.

It’s tough to argue that these ten things are not very Christ-like.
Continue reading If the Church Were Christian – a manifesto for the emerging church

Richard Rohr on New Reformations and new growth from the flames

Richard Rohr writes a daily devotion, which I highly recommend you sign up for.

On 27 October 2019, he wrote this stunning reflection:

Church: Old and New

Rummage Sales

I have come to set fire upon the earth, and how I wish it were already blazing. —Luke 12:49

People are rightly concerned by the loss of property through fire. However, forestry workers understand that from the destruction caused by fire emerges new growth, new life. Time and again, this also has been shown to be true in the church as we seek to follow the way of Christ in light of expanding human knowledge and understandings that continually affirm the movement of the Spirit.

In 2017, Protestants and Catholics honored the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. When Martin Luther (1483–1546) posted his “95 Theses” or complaints on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, European Christianity had become too focused on meritocracy and hierarchy, losing sight of the Gospel. The Roman Catholic Church itself now admits it is always in need of reformation. The perpetual process of conversion, or reformation, is needed by all individuals and institutions. We appear to be in the midst of another period of significant turmoil and rebirth, thus my focus on Old and New: An Evolving Faith in this year’s Daily Meditations.

In North America and much of Europe, we are witnessing a dramatic increase in “nones,” people who don’t identify with a particular faith tradition. While I ache for those who have been wounded by religion and no longer feel at home in church, the dissatisfaction within Christianity has sparked some necessary and healthy changes. Episcopal Bishop Mark Dyer (1930–2014) aptly called these recurring periods of upheaval giant “rummage sales” in which the church rids itself of what is no longer needed and rediscovers treasures it had forgotten.

As Phyllis Tickle (1934–2015) reflected, in the process of building necessary structure in institutions, we eventually “elaborate, encrust, and finally embalm them with the accretion of both our fervor and our silliness. At that point there is no hope for either religion or society, save only to knock the whole carapace off ourselves and start over again.” [1] This is a difficult and frightening task, which is why we only seem to do it every 500 years or so! If we look at church history, we can see the pattern. [2]

With each reformation, we don’t need to start from scratch but return to the foundations of our Tradition. We don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater but reclaim the essential truths. And remember that truth anywhere is truth everywhere. With each rebirth, Christianity becomes more inclusive and universal, as it was always meant to be.

It takes a contemplative mind to witness these changes without resistance or defensiveness. When living within a sacred tradition, everything can seem essential and untouchable. But all Christians are already worshipping in “reformed” churches—often many times over—whatever our denomination. Let’s take heart and have faith that the Holy Spirit is with us through it all.

References:
[1] Phyllis Tickle, “The Great Emergence,” Radical Grace, vol. 21, no. 4 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2008), 4-5.

[2] If the Great Reformation “occurred” in 1517, the Great Schism took place in 1054 with the heads of both the Eastern and Western churches mutually excommunicating each other. Look back another 500 years or so to the 6th century and we find the birth of the Oriental Orthodox Church (which still has 60-70 million adherents today) as well as the rise of the flourishing monastic movement. Even further back, in the 1st century, earliest Christianity began as a radical offshoot from Judaism, Jesus’ own faith. For a fascinating and accessible description of this history, see Phyllis Tickle’s book, The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why (Baker Books: 2008).

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “500th Anniversary of the Beginnings of the Reformation,” (October 31, 2017), cac.org/reformation-500th-anniversary/.

Christians show pride in gay community

Last Saturday, I joined a group of Christians who attended the Johannesburg Pride Parade. We didn’t protest against it – in fact, we did the opposite. We held signs showing our support of the LGBTQI community, and apologising for the way the church has treated them in the past.

The responses we received were overwhelming and amazing. Many people were in tears as they saw us, and understood that we were bringing a message of love and grace. For those are into signs and wonders, there was a beautiful double rainbow over the whole event.

Here’s a newspaper report of what we did from The Daily Maverick.

Here’s another article I wrote about why I went to Pride: News24 Landisa

And here are some photos of our group.

Pride 1

more…
Continue reading Christians show pride in gay community

ALLin Podcast: Episode 03: Overview of Bible verses about LGBTQI people

In this episode of the ALLin podcast, Graeme Codrington gives an initial overview of the seven Bible verses most often referenced when Christians are considering issues related to LGBTQI people and gay marriage. He shows that the traditional interpretation of these verses needs to be questioned. The rest of the Bible presents a strong argument for accepting LGBTQI people into our churches and faith communities.

Here are some direct links:

  • Overcast: https://overcast.fm/+TxiKuDcus
  • iTunes and Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/za/podcast/all-in/id1476711332
  • Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=454968
  • Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6cY25yALG9h4I8lRknGRv9

ALLin Podcast Episode 2: What we are aiming to achieve

The second episode of our new podcast, ALLin is now available.

Please subscribe to ALLin, so you can get future episodes in your Podcast player. We will be uploading new episodes every fortnight.

Episode 2 explains what the podcast is about, and shares seven beliefs we have about LGBTQI and the church.

Subscribe to the podcast in your favourite podcast player. Search for “ALLin” and/or “Graeme Codrington”. If you don’t find it, please let me know so I can ensure it is being sent to your favourite platform.

Here are some direct links:

Public Debate: Does the Bible restrict marriage to a man and a woman?

Dr James White and Graeme Codrington will engage in a public debate on the topic of “Does the Bible restrict marriage to a man and a woman?”
DATE: 17 August 2019
TIME: 6 – 8pm
VENUE: Fontainbleau Community Church, Randburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

There is NO COST to attend. The venue holds 750 people, on a first come first served basis. Doors open at 5:30pm.

The event will be livestreamed and recorded, and will be widely available for free afterwards.

Debate poster

Some Things To Consider If You Think Being Gay Is a Sin

I found an article on Patheos by Benjamin Corey that I think is important. While I believe that marriage is for every couple who love each other and wish to pledge before God to do so faithfully and monogamously, many Christians are still struggling to overcome a lifetime of cultural indoctrination against the LGBTQI community and gay marriage. As Christians, they need to be encouraged to do more than be judgemental towards gay people. Using their own conservative theology and world view, I believe we should appeal to them to adjust their attitude and actions towards gay people. This article is superb, as it presents five issues for conservatives to seriously consider. I hope they will.

Read it at Patheos, or a summary below:

Some Things To Consider If You Think Being Gay Is a Sin

Please consider that regardless of whether you’re able to fully accept this or not, there are gay Christians.

… Perhaps your theology on the issue might not ever change or evolve, but please know, these are real people you’re talking about. This isn’t just a “concept” or an inanimate object – these are real live Christian brothers and sisters that deserve every bit of love and empathy as anyone else. Maybe you haven’t counseled the teenager in your church who wants to kill themselves because they’re finally realizing that they’re gay and always have been. Maybe you haven’t had a friend weep in your presence over the fact that they realize they are gay, but also realize they did not choose to be – and that they’ll never be accepted by the tribe. Maybe you haven’t had a chance to serve in church for years on end next to someone who you never realized was in fact, gay the whole time and also unwavering in their love for Jesus and commitment to the church.

These things have happened to me, but I get that maybe you’ve never experienced them. So please, just consider that we are not talking about an “issue” here – we’re talking about real people. People created in the image and likeness of God. People with feelings, passions, hopes, and dreams. When we allow this to simply become an “issue” within modern Christian discourse, we end up dehumanizing the very real people we’re actually referencing.

Please become willing to reexamine what the Bible teaches on homosexuality.

Continue reading Some Things To Consider If You Think Being Gay Is a Sin