Rethinking the Roles of Church and State in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

The ABC Religion and Ethics site has posted some of my thoughts around Australia’s same-sex marriage debate [sic] here.


  1. Superb, just superb: in its suggestions on the work culturally captive and indolent churches need to do on a theology of marriage; in its side-splitting salvos on the things the state does well, especially killing; in its accurate diagnosis of the pandemic of utilitarianism (the “purpose-driven life” indeed!); and — most wonderfully — in its take on the “pointlessness” — i.e., the uselessness — of God’s grace in creation, in marriage and children, and in the exemplary activities you mention (the only glaring omissions being education and cats). You made my day!


  2. Thanks for the reading tip, which is soo roaringly yet tenderly right-on. It should be mandatory reading for all ordinands — indeed, for all potential ordinands. Cheers.


  3. Well, reading that was a pointless exercise – ie, enjoyable, stimulating and worth doing for its own sake. Been looking at the Gospel for this week from Matthew and nearby is the story of the fig-tree Jesus cursed for being unfruitful (metaphor of the Temple or Israel’s religion). I like very much your removal of marriage from a need to be reproductive or anything utilitarian. But I do feel that the people of God have a kind of mission – bearing witness, bringing redemption to brokenness, building community. I’m afraid I do tell my small congregation of battlers that their mission is important and Jesus would like their religion to produce fruit. You weren’t denying that were you?


  4. @Geoff: not at all, although I would probably phrase it quite differently. For one thing, I don’t believe that the people of God have a mission to do anything. They are, however, given a particular vocation. This includes the kinds of things you mention – to bear witness, etc. But this is not ‘their mission’.


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