Christians in America have been torn by Jon Pahl, P h d debate in recent decades Sex Jon Pahl is Professor over sexuality. of the History of Christianity in North Why? And what has happened to America and Director the usual cause of debate among Christians—the doctrine of salvation? of MA Programs and for The Lutheran What are the causes, contours, and Theological Seminary Salvation consequences of this shift in debate, and at Philadelphia, and how can Christians find a way both to a has been Visiting Professor of Religion at A four-session workshop healthy sexuality and to a clear sense of both Temple and Princeton Universities. led by what it means to be saved by grace through Dr. Jon Pahl faith—and then to live like people who He received his Ph.D. from the University of actually believe it? Chicago Divinity School. Session One Dr. Pahl has published numerous articles and columns, and has authored or edited seven Why Do American Christians Obsess about Sex? And Whatever Happened to Salvation? books, including Shopping Malls and Other Sacred Spaces, and, most recently, Empire of April 29–30, Session Two Sacrifice: The Religious Origins of American 2011 Biblical Authority: What Would Yeshua Do? Violence (NYU Press). Divinity Lutheran Church Session Three He has enjoyed speaking with audiences Fellowship Hall Historical Guidance: The Gradual from Ankara, Turkey to Anaheim, California, 11877 Blossom Avenue, Disentangling of Sex and Social Domination, has been interviewed on the BBC and Parma Heights, Ohio or What Would Paul Do? other media outlets, and was featured in a 44130 documentary film, Malls R Us, which had its Session Four (440) 845-2060 world premiere at the Museum of Modern Can a Homophobe be Saved? Art in New York City. www.divinitylutheran.com Dr. Pahl lives with his wife, Lisa, and their The Friday night session will three children near Swarthmore, PA., where include an optional potluck dinner he enjoys sports, gardening and playing the beginning at 6 p.m. on April 29. saxophone with his jazz and rhythm and Participants should bring a side dish. blues band, The Groove Daemons. Entree meats and beverages will be provided by Divinity Lutheran Church. SESSION ONE: WHY? century of the Christian Era, marriage had become a “sacrament” REGISTRATION FORM but celibacy was a more reliable avenue to salvation. The Church had Three Axioms on Purity and Danger assimilated and reacted to the long-standing use of sex to establish Sex and Salvation 1. Christians tend to try to impose moralistic purity (we must DO patrimonies and social dominance. Sex was about power and property A four-session workshop something!) when power or privilege (easy to confuse with OR purity. Under the influence of the Protestant Reformers, marriage salvation) seems threatened by perceived danger. April 29–30, 2011 became a civil matter and family life became a vocation equal to 2. Sex agitation = salvation agitation (fear of sex=fear of death), Friday: 6:30–9:30 p.m. celibacy. Today, under the influence of the First Amendment, marriage and ANY agitation (anxiety) arises because of reaction to specific, Saturday 9 a.m.–noon and sexuality has increasingly been oriented around mutuality of historical circumstances (Genesis 3; Kierkegaard, The Concept of pleasure and the promises between two people to be partners. Dread; Freud; Douglass; Becker). Modern, companionate marriage thus reflects, for all of its fragility and 3. God saves. Marriage is work. Trust in God to save can lead us to difficulty, a revival of authentically Christian (and especially Pauline) understand healthy human desire for loving sexual relationships, understanding and practice of marriage, where power = love, not force. __________________________________________ and to forge just laws that protect and foster those relationships. • 6 Historical Associations with Sex/Marriage: Name Why Now? Five Causes for the Current Debate The 6 P Continuum to Track Change 1. The rise of LGBT identities, and post-Stonewall (1969) activism • 4 Historical Myths 2. The rise of backlash to the sexual revolution (ERA), post-1980s • 4 Historical Plotlines—A Brief History of Sex and Marriage in __________________________________________ relation to Christianity Address 3. Perception of crisis, and rise of moralistic efforts to “save” the church (or society) SESSION FOUR: CAN A HOMOPHOBE BE SAVED? 4. Contested visions of American and global destiny, and competing platforms The current DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) legislation represents a __________________________________________ form of religious violence. These laws originate in religious opposition City, State, Zip Code 5. Expanding of religious freedom, and a struggle toward “a to gay/lesbian civil rights, and operate to exclude gays and lesbians coming religious peace.” Maybe, debate is GOOD? from public recognition of their relationships in ways that harm them. They reflect heterosexual self-righteousness. Such self-righteousness SESSION TWO: BIBLICAL AUTHORITY __________________________________________ imperils the clarity of the truth that God saves by grace, through faith. How We Read Matters: Homophobia subtly implies a moralistic understanding of salvation: Telephone Number The 4 I’s of Violent Reading: “right” sexual behavior is necessary to be saved. Isolating (“Proof”) Texts The Violence Iceberg Ignoring Intention __________________________________________ Six Theses E-mail Address Imposing Context 1. DOMA Laws violate sacred texts. Ironic Significance 2. DOMA Laws elevate heterosexual marriage to idolatrous status. The Face of Faithful Reading: q Optional 6 p.m. Friday Potluck Dinner 3. DOMA Laws scapegoat gays and lesbians. Full Arguments (Scripture interprets Scripture) 4. DOMA Laws sacrifice homosexual rights, and damage civil society, Cost: $20 per person Author’s Intention in the interest of religious “purity.” Contextually Aware 5. DOMA Laws confuse legislation with religion, and violate the Eye on Significance First Amendment. Please complete this form, tear off Find God’s no and God’s yes, in light of the entire revelation of 6. DOMA Laws perpetuate an association of sex with power, and and return with your check to: Scripture (with aid from tradition, reason, and human experience) thereby do damage to any sacramental sensibility that might remain in association with even heterosexual marriage. Divinity Lutheran Church SESSION THREE: HISTORICAL GUIDANCE 11877 Blossom Avenue What does it mean to be saved? No fear; “sin” boldly (for love)…. Parma Heights, Ohio 44130 The earliest Christians (notably Paul) were radical Jewish sex reformers protesting imperial pagan sex-for-power. By about the 10th (440) 845-2060 Can a homophobe be saved?
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