Steve Chalke’s new video analyses the New Testament ‘clobber texts’ on homosexuality in the light of artefacts reclaimed from under the volcanic lava at Pompeii.
If you want to see lots of artistic representations of male genitals and sex acts, you will enjoy the video. Alternatively, if you already know what they look like, Chalke shows how those New Testament texts had bigger concerns to address than loving same-sex partnerships. The excavations at Pompeii reveal what a first century Roman city was like and what ordinary people were up to in the minutes before the volcano buried them. It is not a pretty story.
‘God: none, one, three or many?’ was the theme of Modern Church’s annual conference earlier this week, chaired by Jane Shaw and Linda Woodhead.
We were in the company of people who believe passionately in God and don’t believe in God at all; people who question what we mean by ‘God’, and whether we can possibly answer the questions; people who value their church but don’t see the point of God, and people who value God but don’t see the point of churches.
28 years on, six people are to be prosecuted for the Hillsborough tragedy. What, just six? Is that justice? Is nobody else to blame?
What about the more widespread culture of mutual support and avoiding blame, among the police just as in many occupations? After all, whistleblowers are unpopular – and the louder the whistle, the more unpopular the blower.
It takes a while for living compostable material to rot down and become the stuff of life again. It’s best not to examine it too closely while this is happening.
Perhaps this is what the Church of England was thinking during the decades spanning the abuse of vulnerable people by one of its prelates and by another highly regarded individual whose integrity was compromised by, presumably, the toxic mix of sado-eroticism and religion.
This is my sermon for this coming Sunday, published early in case any other preacher wants to pinch bits. The text is Jeremiah 20:7-13.
It compares the recent changes in British values with the tensions in Judean values at the time of Jeremiah.