I've been blogging almost exclusively about Phineas at Bay of late, and, indeed, publishing a first novel is gripping, exhilarating and a peculiarly vulnerable place to be in.
That said, though, there is more going on. I'm three weeks into a new job, which is pretty marvelous--and that's all I'll say about that. Meanwhile, I do have a new scholarly article out, this time in the prestigious Anglican Theological Review; the abstract:
Swallowing the Camel: Biblical Fidelity, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Love of MoneyYou can hear me in conversation with the Rev. Buddy Stallings on the article two weeks ago at the St. Bart's Rector's Forum, if you're curious.
As the Episcopal Church begins local discernment on the question of whether to bless same-sex relationships, evaluation of the theological strength of the arguments for and against is ongoing. I examine the case against same-sex blessings and marriage made by the Traditionalist component of a task force appointed by the House of Bishops in their report. That case’s weakness, in terms of the asserted scriptural authority and basis in philosophic reason set forth by the Traditionalists themselves, is contrasted with the much stronger case on both grounds in favor of the biblical prohibition of usury, given by the Traditionalist report as an example of a scriptural command that was appropriately discarded by the church. The Traditionalists demonstrate a much greater willingness to put aside scripture, reason, and tradition in the case of usury, which is endemic in the culture at large, while holding fast to the prohibition against same-sex marriage, which is much less strongly rooted in each category. This in turn suggests that defenders of this prohibition may be unwittingly defending obedience to scripture when it imposes a lesser challenge to the culture in which defenders are invested, and imposes costs which they only feel in the abstract.
Also, I had my final bow (for now!) as an EFM mentor at last week's Rector's Forum, discussing the program with my successor as mentor and the Rev. Lynn Sanders. I will miss EFM for this little period, but with a new job (which involves more travel than I'm used to), my last academic term as a postulant for the vocational diaconate upon me, and a writing project to follow Phineas at Bay--well, it was time to bow out.
It was a wonderful way to end my tenure as mentor--to hand off to a new mentor who I knew would make the group I had headed her own, and to reflect on the best of our time together. Sometimes leaving is bittersweet, but sometimes it can be celebratory.