Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Overtures and search engines

Church of Scotland burnig bush logo

You can catch the back story to the Church of Scotland’s latest deliberations about the presence and role of gay and lesbian Christians within churches over on Will and Testament. Given the number of Northern Ireland church goers (including ministers) signing a related online petition, it’s taken on a local dimension too.

There’s some debate on whether or not the motion will end up getting much floor time at the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly next Saturday evening ... but I pondered whether the Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye (in a spirit of completeness) would like to consider a series of follow-up overtures in order to help wrest focus away from a single contentious issue and better refine how the public perceive their denomination’s values and its views on identity and marginalisation?

Overture: this is a method by which one court of the Church (for example a presbytery) brings a matter before another (e.g. the Assembly). [Source: Church of Scotland Guide to the General Assembly]

In a spirit of (mischief and) generosity, I exclusively offer an additional overture for their consideration. Maybe you’ll suggest some more by adding a comment below.

OVERTURE
ANENT MINISTERIAL CONDUCT
From the Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye

Whereas:

1. the Church’s historic understanding of the Biblical teaching on homosexual practice coveting has not been questioned much in recent years.

2. a lengthy period of reflection has elapsed without a resolution of the issue.

3. it is undesirable that the courts of the church should be asked to judge on individual cases in advance of any such resolution.

It is humbly overtured by the Reverend the Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye to the Venerable the General Assembly to receive the Overture set out below,

“That this Church shall not accept for training, ordain, admit, re-admit, induct or introduce to any ministry of the Church anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside of faithful marriage between a man and a woman who has coveted anything that belongs to his/her neighbour (including, but not restricted to, partners, vehicles and animals)”.

Just so I don’t completely lose techie readers, the new Wolfram Alpha search engine isn’t too sure about the Ten Commandments! Google finds the question a lot easier to answer.

3 comments:

Timothy Belmont said...

Alan,

I heard a reporter on the Today Programme talking about the new search engine. He wasn't totally convinced! He did, however, think that it would develop and, at present, was good for more technical or specific searches.

Tim

BTW, haven't heard too much from you about places in Lisburn; I'd definitely be interested!

Anonymous said...

Not sure about your covetousness analogy. The problem with this kind of illustration is that it assumes that homosexuality is a sin like covetousness. It's as if you are are saying, we don't prosecute people for covetousness, so let's not get upset about homosexuality. In my view, homosexuality is not a sin at all. Although your analogy, I think, is aimed at supporting gay people, it is in fact insulting to gay people, because it assumes that their sexuality is a sin, albeit an unimportant sin.

Alan in Belfast said...

Point well made and taken. Maybe that's why it was so hard to come up with the analogy in the first place ...

Though after the Church of Scotland's decision on individual case in Aberdeen last night, I still wonder/fear what they'll do with the actual overture that was postponed from last night until Monday.