Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Global Church Speaks Out

A new book edited by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Terry Brown, Bishop of Malaita, Church of Melanesia, has been released: Other Voices, Other Worlds; The Global Church Speaks Out on Homosexuality. Here's a description from Church Publishing:

Leading Anglican writers from around the world challenge the assumption that the communion is split between a liberal 'north' and an orthodox 'south'.

Anglican churches worldwide are sharply divided on homosexuality. The dominant sterotype is that of a "global south" unanimously lined up against homosexuality as immoral and sinful, and of a liberal and decadent global north that, except for some 'orthodox traditionalists'. The differences between the two sides are fundamental, and irreconcilable.

Nothing is further from the truth: homosexual behavior exists across the whole Anglican Communion, whether it is openly celebrated or quietly integrated into local churches and cultures. In this extraordinary book, in development for several years, exposes this as a myth. Christians throughout Africa, Asia, and the developing world -- bishops, priests and religious, academics and lay writers -- open up dramatic new perspectives on familiar arguments and debates. Topics include biblical interpretation, sexuality and doctrine, local history, sexuality and personhood, the influence of other faiths, issues of colonialism and post-colonialism, homophobia, and the place of homosexual persons in the church. Other Voices, Other Worlds reveals the rich historical and cross-cultural complexity to same-sex relationships, and throws an explosive device into a debate that has become stale and predictable.
Here's an excerpt from a review of the book:

...The book gives voice to those who have found their voices suppressed as a debate which concerns them continues on without their input. Homosexuality and persons’ role in Christian Community is globally unveiled and offered as spiritual challenge to a reader as he/she personally engages information relevant to the debate, such as: the indigenous woman’s perspective; homosexuality in Oceania; Hong Kong’s Tongzhi Culture; homosexuality in India; Muslim attitudes toward homosexuality; homosexuality in Kenya; homosexuality in Nigeria; and Sexuality in the churches of Uganda. These are but a few of the book’s examples...
I came across an article written by Bishop Brown in 2003 that some might find of interest; Something is Very Wrong Here.

Finally a few words from Bishop Brown drawn from an address entitled Communion and Personhood:

...Again, perhaps not following my own advice, I want to close with one short comment on the current controversy in the Anglican Communion on homosexuality, and a plug. I think my main point would be that we – bishops, clergy, lay, synods, dioceses, provinces, hui, whatever – have not yet moved from the “them” stage of discussion to the “we” stage of discussion. We talk about “them”, the “homosexuals” (perhaps we have even worse names), while we should be talking about ourselves – “we”, “us” – we are the gays and lesbians. Why cannot we use that “we” language? In Solomon Islands pijin, iumitufela, the two-of-us, you and I in friendship. “We” are the gays and lesbians, not “them”.

I am not going to speak further on this issue as I have a book coming out on the subject early next year. It is entitled Other Voices, Other Worlds: the GlobalChurch Speaks out on Homosexuality. It has essays from Oceania, Asia, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and the “global north” reflecting experientially and theologically on the homosexuality issue from a positive perspective. Two members of this Hui are contributors, of which I am very proud. I fear some Primates are not going to be very happy. However, I have also had the support and encouragement of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Melanesia in putting together the book. It will be published in England and the USA in January next year. I urge you to buy and read it...
Thank you, bishop. I just bought a copy, and look forward to reading and discussing it.


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