Face to Face: Gay and Lesbian Clergy on Holiness and Life Together

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005 - Religion - 189 pages
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"We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the word of God," Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said. While a lot of ink is spilled debating the place of homosexual Christians in the life of the church, few people take Bonhoeffer's advice.

In "Face to Face" Jeffrey Heskins takes a step back from heated rhetoric to listen to Christians who are committed both to ordained ministry in the Anglican Church and to a life of holiness with a partner of the same sex. As Heskins invites these couples to tell their stories and reflects on their experiences, he raises difficult questions: What does it mean to live a "holy life"? Should the pattern for "holy living" be any different for gay and lesbian couples in ministry than for others?

Based on more than thirty hours of recorded interviews with couples all across England, this volume heeds Bonhoeffer's words, producing a refreshing instance of Christian hospitality -- listening to brothers and sisters before presuming to speak God's word to them. While "Face to Face" will not end the controversy, these human voices will speak to both sides of this explosive debate.

"In trying to lead a holy life, I think that we are responsible for trying to see the effect that it has on others, even beyond the relationship. It is very easy to think about the two of us, but if a life together is lived in holiness, it has enormous impact on those around you."
-- Female priest with partner 3 years

"When I first met her, I was really angry with God and I found God's maleness and the patriarchy of the church all too much. I stopped going to church. It was my partner who helped me heal from all those open wounds, and if I hadn't healed from them, then I don't think that I could have found God again."
-- Female priest with partner 13 years

"Where there is love there is God . . . so while living a life of Christian holiness may be difficult to quantify, those who want to make pronouncements or recommendations on what constitutes holy living really do need to go and see people's lives in action. It's the meeting face to face that really is transforming of opinions and attitudes."
-- Male priest with partner 32 years

 

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This book is written as a contribution to the conversation surrounding what it means to be a homosexual Christian. It examines various aspects of homosexual relationships using different theological ... Read full review

Contents

Who do you think you are?
1
We had the experience but missed the meaning
17
To have and to hold from this day
34
For better or worse
70
In sickness health and death
97
According to Gods Holy Law
122
And this is my solemn vow
150
Face to face
173
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About the author (2005)

JEFFREY HESKINS is a parish priest in south London.

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