Conservative sentiment within any organisation can often create an impasse in the present when it comes to meeting the challenge of change necessary for the future. We can all be traditionalists, and prefer things to stay just as they are – the way that we remember them. One problem with this mentality is that it can lead to a terminal stasis; a resistance to change that can lead to atrophy and ossification. Change for its own sake can be dangerous. This much is true. Unnecessary change may lead to an organisation losing its essential connection to its roots, and so lead to such a radical change that it too may end in the death of the thing. Some change is, however, required for any group or person to survive in a changing world. Our world is changing rapidly, and we must all evolve continually to remain part of the world and community in which we live. Our religious institutions too must change and adapt to the world, and those that have weathered millennia have indeed been continually transforming. Christianity, in all its parts, is in a state of crisis. Of this we can be in no doubt. In various crises of the past the Church has looked to its own past to find the inspiration for present change – changes that keep the whole linked to its origins and traditions.
"That which He has not assumed He has not healed; But that which is united to His Godhead is also saved." - St. Gregory of Nazianzus—
James the Just (@StJamesJust) March 30, 2015
We are being asked by the world around us to consider the nature of marriage. Is matrimony the union of one woman and one man for the purpose of procreation, or are there other ways of thinking of marriage and the family? In the ongoing discussion on same sex marriage, at least in part, the crux of the matter lies with our sexual theology. Are homosexual women and men a biological mistake or part of the rich and varied tapestry of creation? Does God make mistakes? Did evolution get something wrong? If we profess a faith in an almighty God who orders everything according to his will, then we must consider gay people part of the plan. It is that simple. More, we must accept gay people are created in the image and likeness of God, who, like all other people, are in need of redemption. Christians believe that God became a human being in order to restore people to himself through the assumption of human nature – not male or female nature, but human nature.
In Christ Jesus all humanity was assumed; its masculinity and its femininity. Had the emphasis be on the masculinity of the Incarnation then women could not be redeemed. It would be a salvation by a man for men. We now understand that our gendered nature is not as simple as being simply male or female. It is about being straight or gay and everything in between and beyond. All of this breadth of nature is fully human and therefore assumed in the fullness of the human nature of Christ. What this means, if we are to take St. Gregory of Nazianzus at his word, is that we must also consider the gay-ness and the straight-ness of Jesus’ human nature. If we refuse to consider this, we remove any possibility for the salvation of gay men and women, and, quite frankly, that is not a Christianity I am prepared to take seriously.