Being Christ’s Body
In May 2017, the Public Issues Commission released the complete version of Being Christ’s Body: a conversation series about same sex-relationships, marriage and the church.
This version includes two additional conversations.
Conversation 4 explores Christian marriage in a changing world. It considers the diversity of views between Christians concerning the spiritual nature of marriage.
Conversation 5 examines how Christians might live together by observing the many different and divergent responses to gender diverse and same-sex oriented people by people of faith.
The series is unique among resources produced by churches about same-sex relationships and gender diversity.
‘The publication is not the usual type of doctrine report offering a paper or a definitive position on a controversial subject’, explained the Rt Revd Professor Stephen Pickard, the Commission’s chairperson. ‘It is a conversation starter that calls for Christians to engage in a richer and more difficult process of theological reflection by listening to Scripture and each other as the body of Christ.’
The resources are designed to foster discussion among people who hold different views without expecting that everyone will share the same views or beliefs. Rather, the conversations aim to encourage mutual understanding and a stronger focus on caring for people who are gender diverse and same-sex oriented.
‘This is not a definitive piece nor is it a diocesan position statement’, said Bishop Stuart Robinson. ‘It is a document for small groups of Christian people who wish to engage with complex issues that impact the lives of parishioners, family members and our neighbours.’
The resources utilise a kitchen-table format to encourage learning, listening and praying together. The format provides a useful theological framework that encourages responsibility – for what people say, think and the outcomes that arise. After all, religious conscience is not simply the capacity to say what is believed but the willingness to own the consequences that follow.
The series builds on the foundation laid by an earlier release of three conversations designed to build trust and generosity in September 2016.
The first conversation explored what it means to be same-sex oriented and gender diverse. The second conversation focused on how Christians can disagree with each other in a respectful way. The third conversation examined the Australian Marriage Act and its impact on LGBTQI people.
The Commission hopes that these resources might help Christians value reconciliation in their life together given that Anglicans are not of one mind about how to respond pastorally to same-sex relationships.