Human Sexuality Discussion
The elephant in the room is gay: Toward a civil discussion of human sexuality
In August 2014, we began a Sunday morning class to study the complicated topic of homosexuality and the broader topic of sexuality in general. We intend to keep this page updated with materials as well as recordings of the class discussion. Few topics are more hotly contested and debated in churches right now, and our desire is to provide a safe environment to address the most pertinent of these issues. An issue that for so long has flown under the radar and been publicly taboo has become a mainstream reality. Too many churches have promoted and provoked unhealthy attitudes when it comes to homosexuality and homosexuals themselves. Our church espouses to love all who come through our doors and who call Alum Creek home. At the same time, we feel an obligation to remain rooted in the biblical texts in providing our ethic and framework for life. Homosexuality provides a challenging conversation piece, but we are excited about the opportunity to talk openly and freely about it. We will try to keep this page updated periodically with new material for this class. If you have further interest in this topic or would like more information, please contact Adam in the church office.
The Elephant in the Room is Gay – This contains the notes for the classes through September
Lesson #1 from August 3, 2014
“In the Image of God” The first class examines the creation account in Genesis and explores what it means to be created in the image of God and what the corresponding relationship between man and woman was to be.
Lesson #2 from August 10, 2014
“The Evolution of Gender in Genesis” In this class we explore the dynamics of the male/female relationship as it was created in the Garden of Eden. We explore how the purpose of “man leaving his father and mother to be united to the woman” evolves throughout the Old Testament. We ask hard questions of the text – if women are saved through childbearing (as Paul states) what of women who do not have children? We always point to the fact that God’s purpose was for one woman and one man to be together, and yet the entirety of the Old Testament history revolves around polygamists who also had concubines. How are we to understand this evolution of the relationships between men and women. This is the first of two parts dealing with this material.
Lesson #3 from August 17, 2014
“The Evolution of Gender in Genesis: Part 2” This class continues the discussion from the previous week looking at the various sexual relationships detailed in Genesis. We emphasize the various sexual encounters that lead to trouble for Israel as well as point out the difficulties in stories that we are overly familiar with.
Lesson #4 from August 24, 2014
“Sexuality and Gender in the Law of Moses” This class examines the significant attention that the Law of Moses gives to matters of sexuality. In this explicit class, we address the teachings on everything from a women’s menstrual cycle to men wearing women’s clothing. We talk about about the fact that some of these laws seem directly applicable (homosexuality, adultery, etc.) but in the midst of these teachings are other more controversial teachings about things dealing with the rape of virgins and having sex during a woman’s period.
Lesson #5 from August 31, 2014
“Jerry Springer and the Old Testament” [You’ll want to skip over the first minute of the recording, for some reason the recording was messed up, but after the first minute it corrects itself.] In this lesson we deal with some of the more sordid stories of the Old Testament and explore the many ways sexuality and gender identity continues to evolve throughout the Old Testament. This is the final lesson based on the Old Testament material.
Lesson #6 from September 7, 2014
“Conversation with a Transgendered Member of our Church” One of the most important things we want to address in these classes is the fact that something as fundamental to life as gender (whether we are a boy or a girl) is not black and white. This is on display nowhere more clearly than in the life of transgendered men and women who, for various and complex reasons, do not feel comfortable in their own bodies and living life within the gender they were born with. We are fortunate enough to have a transgendered woman who is a beloved and contributing member of our church who was gracious enough to be interviewed for this class.
Lesson #7 from September 14, 2014
“Homosexuality, the New Testament, and the Crux of the Matter: Part 1” This lesson begins to look at the New Testament passages that address homosexuality. Specifically, this class focuses on 1 Corinthians 6: 9 – 11 and 1 Timothy 1: 8 – 11 and the two Greek words utilized throughout these passages which have been the subject to much debate and discussion through the years (download the above notes to see various ways the words have been translated).
Lesson #8 from September 21, 2014
“Homosexuality, the New Testament, and the Crux of the Matter: Part 2” This lesson continues the lesson from last week that looked at the teachings on homosexuality found in the New Testament. This class focuses on what is probably the most significant text in the Bible on homosexuality in Romans 1.
Lesson #9 from September 28, 2014
“Addressing Contemporary Issues Relevant to Homosexuality” This lesson begins to address some of the questions that so many people have today as we wrestle with the many complexities of homosexuality. We look at questions such as why am I gay? what does it mean to be gay? are there different levels of being gay? And we begin to look at what the church’s response should be.
Lesson #10 from October 4, 2014
“Pastoral Responses to Homosexuality.” One of the most pressing aspects of this conversation is the fact that while the conversation goes on and ambiguity remains in the church’s position on homosexuality, individuals are living with the realities of same-sex attraction and, for others, same-sex relationships. In this class, we begin to reflect on the previous classes’ study of sexuality in the Bible, and begin to press contemporary issues onto these passages.
Lesson #11 from October 11, 2014
Guest speaker Ed Kirkpatrick, former minister of the Alum Creek Church (when it was the Indian Springs Church of Christ) and retired counselor discusses the ethics of homosexuality from a different perspective. Ed wrestles with the implications of a moving/changing ethical standard as it relates to homosexuality. Ed has worked extensively with sexual offenders and discusses the necessity that these offenders have a clear sense of right and wrong and explores the implications of the ambiguity of homosexuality in this light.
Lesson #12 from October 18, 2014
“Ethical Quandaries and the Loss of Absolute Truth.” In this class we interact with Ed’s class in the previous week and get into the topic that is at the heart of the debate among many Christians: wright and wrong. [Unfortunately, many of the class comments were not recorded – sorry!] We spend a good deal discussing the question of an evolving ethic.
Lesson #13 from October 25, 2o14
“Final Thoughts.” Having spent a good three months combing through the various angles of the homosexuality debate, and realizing we weren’t going to solve all the issues in this class, in this final class we look for some beginning points in making our church better equipped to minister to homosexuality and those struggling with sexual identity issues.