Listening and learning in the sexuality debate

Savi Hensman


As part of the 'listening process' in the Anglican Communion over the extensive disagreements about human sexuality, Ekklesia associate Savitri Hensman has prepared a paper on Learning, Listening, Scripture and Sexuality which seeks both to take the conversation forward and to affirm the role of lesbian and gay Christians as active and baptised members in the church, in accordance with a faithful and interpretatively sensitive reading of its the texts and tradition.

This paper has been submitted on behalf of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) as part of their contribution to the listening process.

Download Learning, listening, Scripture and sexuality (PDF, 86kb, 9 pages)

Savitri Hensman and her family are no Anglican newcomers – in the run-up to the Anglican Congress held in 1963, when she was a baby, her father travelled from their home in Sri Lanka to several countries in Africa as an envoy of the bishop organising the international gathering. It was a time of hopefulness. Now, however, relationships in the Anglican Communion are under strain.

Current debates among Anglicans, especially on human sexuality, often focus on how the Bible should be read. Some of the people who regard themselves as ‘Bible-believing’ resist the idea that they might gain much from listening and dialogue, observation and study. From their point of view, the truth has been revealed in Scripture, and this is decisive. However there are other people who believe that Christians should be open to advances in knowledge and what the Holy Spirit might be revealing in today’s world. Some play down the relevance of much of the Bible except as a source of doctrine about God.

Yet the Bible itself seems, to some readers, to point to the vital importance of being attentive to the wider world and people’s experiences. The Gospel accounts of the teaching and actions of Jesus Christ, in particular, may offer valuable insights on how contentious issues could be approached. Some of the relevant themes are explored in this essay.

Reproduced with kind acknowledgements to them (www.lgcm.org.uk) and to the author.