Richard Connelly of Gippsland advocates for the wisdom of what lives and brings joy.
Mr President, I rise to speak against Statement 1
I fear that the desire to impose a firm certainty around one interpretation of Matthew 19:4 removes the capacity for us as faithful individuals to flourish in our relationships with God by exploring its application to our lives. I fear the imposition of a strict interpretation of one passage and the use of that as authority for the way we order our church. I’ve heard much of humility in the past two days and I ask myself, “What if I’m wrong?” I challenge us to ask ourselves, “Could we be so right?, when we hear the cries of those to be marginalised by the Statement who are told to “please leave”.
I am not theologically trained, but as a child of an Anglican priest I have grown up immersed in sermons. I have never heard the same sermon twice, even when the same scripture is explored by the same person. Why do we have theological schools if each passage in the bible can be stamped with only one interpretation. Why do we have such concepts as exegesis and hermeneutics? Why did Jesus talk in parables, where the call on us is to interpret each within our own understanding and perspectives. Why do we have four gospels, where the narration of the life of Jesus is described differently by various writers? You and I can listen to the parable of the good Samaritan and each gain a deeper insight into God’s acceptance in our life in different ways? Do you see yourself as the faithful older child, or the prodigal son? The Christian faith as revealed in the Gospels is filled with paradox and contradiction. The mystery of faith is beyond our human comprehension. So I struggle to see how we can look to one verse in the whole bible and claim certainty from any one particular interpretation in relation to the church’s understanding of God’s will for us in relation to same sex relationships, especially as it has been recognised that this issue does not go to our salvation.
In God’s image we have been created. We recognise that there are characteristics of people that align with each gendered notion of our God. The provider, leader, protector, judge, carer, supporter, and nurturer. Is our complexity as humans having been created in the image of the undefinable, immeasurable, uncontainable God so easily expressed as binary. Male or female. Do I, as a cis-het gendered male ever display the characteristics of the female image in God within me. Is my complexity as a human being to be simply defined as male or female. Or is my complexity as a human so reduced as to whether I have a penis or vagina and what I do with it.
In allowing the Bible to speak to us from various perspectives reduces the chance of the Living word to flourish in our lives. I liken it to a biologist studying a butterfly. By pinning it to a mounting board and examining it with a microscope we can learn much of what once was. It is still a dead butterfly. I prefer to have my butterfly alive, bringing life and joy as it lives out it’s created glory- of what is to come.
I oppose the statement.