CategoryGender Ethics

I don’t want to be a “real man”.

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There was a great article about Tim Winton in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine recently.  Winton was just 5 years old when his  father was badly injured in a motor vehicle accident. After he came home from hospital Winton’s father required many weeks of intensive assistance  and emotional support. Tim’s mother, who suddenly became the family breadwinner, as well...

Genesis & Gender roles. Are we all asking too much of the texts?

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The Bible’s creation stories are key texts in shaping Christian views of gender and sexuality. To some they represent a manifesto for the equality of men and women across all areas of life, while for others they speak of a creation order in which men and women share equal worth but leadership belongs to men. It is typically assumed that because the Genesis texts describe the world prior to the...

On the shaming of Bathsheba

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One of the most famous stories in the Bible is King David’s sexual abuse of Bathsheba. The account is rather brief. David, who has a demonstrated propensity for violence, is walking on the roof of the palace when he sees a woman undergoing a bathing ritual required by the law. David is consumed with lust. He makes inquiries to determine who the woman is, then sends a servant to bring her to...

It is not about my view of sexual morality.

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The marriage equality debate is underway and I find that the no case is being most zealously prosecuted by the evangelical wing of the church. This also happens to be the part of the church I belong to. Sometimes the ways of this group of believers thrills me, sometimes inspires me, sometimes infuriates me and and sometimes disappoints me (and I no doubt do the same to some of my evangelical...

The Meaning of Marriage

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What does marriage mean? The debate over marriage equality has forced us to ask this question. It is a good question to ask. In a 2011 article for the Sydney Anglicans website, which was later abbreviated to appear on the Drum website, Anglican Rector Michael Jensen argued that to recognise same-sex relationships as marriage would fundamentally change the meaning of marriage. Marriage, he argued...

Julia Baird, Complementarian Theology, Domestic Violence & the Church

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Journalist Julia Baird has conducted research on domestic violence in the church that is being released as a series of reports on the ABC. It has already sparked intense discussion and people are getting defensive. Surely this is a moment for deep introspection, a time for us to talk about the culture of our churches, and not to make this just another stage in the Complementarian v Egalitarian...

Some Reflections on Transgender and Intersex

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In the past few years I have done a lot of reflecting around issues of sexuality. One area with which I have only begun to engage is intersex, which I take to refer to people whose biological sex doesn’t conform to either male or female, and transgender, which I take to refer to people whose sexual identity is different to their biological sex. Some reflections: 1. Although intersex and...

Transgenderism, Same-Sex Marriage & Gender Roles. The Unspoken Tie That Binds Evangelical Hang Ups on Sexuality

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One of the areas in which Conservative forms of Christianity seek to distinguish themselves from the wider culture is their understanding of sexuality. As I have been contemplating this in recent months I have been helped by an observation in James Brownson’s book Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing The Churches Debate On Sexuality, that the notion of gender complementarity lies at the heart of...

From Trusting Politicians to Submission in Marriage. Why We Need An Adequate Doctrine of Sin

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When I was in Sunday School I was enthralled by the stories of the heroic characters of the Bible: Abraham leaving his country to go to the land God told him; Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt; David and Goliath; Esther and Mordecai; Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel; Peter walking on water with Jesus; Paul’s miraculous conversion. Then as I grew older I...

Cage Fighting Pastors & Expelled Tomboys. What Makes a Real Man and a Real Woman?

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Three stories in the news this week raise the question of what it means to be a real man or woman. First came the story of 8-year-old Sunnie Kahl who would have been described in the past as a “tomboy”, for she enjoys things that are typical of boys her age and not so typical of girls. Her grandparents (and legal guardians) withdrew her from the Timberlake Christian School in...

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