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A two-year process of conversations on sexuality has begun in the Church of England, at a gathering of bishops. Similar discussions are taking place in several other churches in Britain.
Equal marriage is now taking effect in England, Wales, Scotland and many other parts of the world. Some Christians welcome this, others are unsure or opposed. Against this background, theological reflection on sexuality and gender identity is particularly important.
An Ekklesia research paper might be useful in helping the Church of England to tackle the controversial issue of sexuality, a general synod member suggested. Synod, meeting from 12-14 February, also discussed women bishops, climate change and safeguarding.
As the Church of England discusses the Pilling report on sexuality, it has come under pressure from certain other Anglican leaders, who claim that accepting the proposals would show a lack of commitment to biblical teaching and global Anglicanism. But the rationale for these claims is flawed.
Some church leaders ignore personal experience and scientific evidence when discussing sexuality, unless these fit in with their existing ideas. They may think this shows their faithfulness to the Bible and so to God. But they are wrong.
Church of England bishops, and later general synod members, are to discuss sexuality in early 2014. For some of us who are middle-aged or older, there is a sense of déjà vu.