ROGERS, Eugene F, Sexuality and the Christian Body, Oxford: Blackwell, 1999

(303 pp. inc. bibliography, $47.95 Can + tax).
A Model Theology review by Robert Brow  December 1999

I have no competence to evaluate Rogers' lengthy discussions of Paul Evdokimov's Sacrement de l'amour, Le Mystere conjugale a la lumiere de la tradition orthodoxe, or chapters 4 & 5 on Thomas Aquinas, or chapters 6 to 8 on Karl's Barth. Frankly the book would have been shorter and cheaper without them. So I will content myself with offering what seems to me to be the author's basic explanatory model. No doubt the author, and perhaps other readers, might want to offer a better explanatory model.

1. God is love, but you cannot love alone. Which is why God must be a Trinity of three Persons in the eternal dance of love (-perichoresis- pp.197-198).

2. The Son came into the world to enrol us by baptism as disciples (learners) to be perfected in the school of the Holy Spirit, which is the Church (pp.65-66).

3. The main thing to be learned is God's kind of love. And that is learned in the context of our sexuality. But we need not settle whether same sex feelings are genetic, learned from others, or chosen.

4. We begin our learning with one of five forms of sexual orientation. As eunuchs with no sexual feelings. As males with a predominant sexual attraction to women. As women with a predominant sexual attraction to men. As males with a predominant sexual attraction to other males. As women with a predominant sexual attraction to other women.

5. Eunuchs by definition have no choice (see Matthew 19:12). Persons with the other four kinds of sexual orientation can enter into a sexual relationship, or for whatever reason choose to remain celibate.

6. Any of the above who engage in a sexual relationship can either do so with a person of the same sex or with one of the opposite sex. A person could have a predominant same sex orientation but choose for whatever reason to be in a relationship with a person of the other sex.

7. Those who engage in a sexual relationship of any kind can do so either in a long term committed relationship, or by way of porneia (the NT Greek word for sleeping around without love or commitment).

8. On any Sunday morning that gives us at least 25 different basic starting points for people who come to our churches. And from any of those starting positions the Holy Spirit begins the gracious work of perfecting the person in love for the perfect love of heaven.

9. All of these 25 situations are messy and imperfect (even in a good marriage). Our task as a church is first to welcome people just as they are, and then help them to be touched and changed by the Holy Spirit.

10. A long term opposite sex relationship is strengthened by the ritual of a church marriage, and marriage in turn blesses and energizes the church. In the case of a long term same sex relationship the ritual of a church ceremony (we need not call it marriage) would strengthen the love and commitment between the partners, and in turn be a means of blessing and energizing the church (pp. 244, 248).

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