Jeremy Taylor & Gay Issues

Yesterday in my Christian Formation class at Christ Church I made the case that the Bible is not as clear as I used to think on matters of “homosexuality.” Next week I will argue, however, on the basis of Romans 1 as well as the “narrative arc of Scripture,” in harmony with the consensus of catholic tradition, that same sex practice should not be sanctioned by the Church.

Hence, same sex issues are on my mind & heart today. It is in that context that I read this morning in my personal study time this excerpt from Jeremy Taylor‘s A Sermon on the Marriage Ring:

Nothing can sweeten felicity itself but love. But, when a man dwells in love, then the breasts of his wife are pleasant as the droppings of the hill of Hermon, her eyes are fair as the light of Heaven, she is a fountain sealed, and he can quench his thirst and ease his cares, and lay his sorrows down upon her lap, and can retire home to his sanctuary and refectory and his gardens of sweetness and chaste refreshments. No man can tell, but he that loves his children, how many delicious accents make a man’s heart dance in the pretty conversation of those dear pledges; their childishness, their stammering, their little angers, their innocence, their imperfections, their necessities, are so many emanations of joy and comfort to him that delights in their persons and society.

But he that loves not his wife and children feeds a lioness at home, and broods over a nest of sorrows; and blessing itself cannot make him happy; so that all the commandments of God enjoining a man to “love his wife” are nothing but so many necessities of capacity and joy. She that loves is safe, and he that loves is joyful. Love is a union of all things excellent; it contains in it proportion and satisfaction, and rest and confidence.

Could an analogous sermon be preached at a same sex “wedding?” Hard (for me) to imagine. Perhaps my horizons need to be broadened? I’m open. Skeptical, but open.

I also was reminded this morning that Taylor staunchly resisted the “pro-divorce” views of that Presbyterian Puritan John Milton.

Share

5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi Matt,
You might be interested in a book review or more accurately “trilogy review” a friend of mine, Jeremy Ridenour, wrote. He’s a psychoanalyst by training so he reads and writes from that perspective. Jeremy says that the author makes a good case that rather than homophobic, the Bible is downright queer. Here is the link to the review: http://itself.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/jennings-book-event-a-review-of-the-triology/

Matt,

I appreciate your thoughtfulness in posting this. I have no reason to be “pro homosexual” so I hope my comments come from a position of objectivity. It has astounded me for years why people single out homosexuality from all of the sins clearly stated in the Bible. If homosexuality should not be sanctioned by the church, then gluttony shouldn’t either, for example. Should we throw all of the fat people out? We have divided a church over homosexual issues, yet we turn our heads and excuse other sins. This totally baffles me. I agree that the Church should operate under the auspices of the Bible but we can’t pick and choose which sins we are going to stand our ground on. In my mind they carry the same weight. It then becomes a house of cards.

Hey Matt, are you recording and posting these teachings somewhere?

Ignore my comment. I just followed your link.

Nanette,

Thx for your comment! I totally think that the Church should treat sex issues in the very same way it treats things like greed & gluttony. We should not “throw people out” — fat, gay, or whatever. (Although this is not to say there is no role for church discipline — see BCP 409.)

What the revisionists want to do (and they are now an overwhelming majority in the Episcopal Church) is to reverse the Church’s teaching on chastity (ie, sexual faithfulness). Which, it seems to me, would be exactly analogous to a new teaching that greed or gluttony can now be seen as an authentic expression of one’s faith.

My view is that we should continue to call people to repentance, and even to remain in full communion with those who disagree about “gay issues” (this latter stance makes me a “liberal” in the eyes of many), but we should not reverse the teaching of the Church on this issue. Hence it is the revisionists who are “singling out” this issue, it seems to me.

TrackBack URI

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>