Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A word about our continuing adult forums on marriage and the issues of same-sex marriage

In case you missed it, I want to draw your attention to our continuing Sunday adult forums on traditional marriage and the issues of same-sex marriage.  I am teaming up with The Rev. Dr. Heather Warren, who is a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, to bring you this series.

We've set up a special blog to post our presentation notes. You can get to that by clicking HERE.

On Sunday, we focused on traditional marriage as it has come down to us in our Christian tradition. We looked at how marriage customs and theology developed through biblical story, beginning with Adam and Eve, and we explored the Hebrew concept of covenant. We looked at Christian marriage vows since the Middle Ages, and how those vows have changed through successive versions of the Book of Common Prayer since 1549.

Christian marriage rites were once primarily property transactions (with brides as property) to where we now see marriage as an exchange of vows representing equal pledges of fidelity between husband and wife. Until recently, our prayer book proclaimed that marriage is primarily for the purpose of having children. With the changes in the prayer book in 1979, the Episcopal Church now views marriage as primarily for the "mutual joy" of a married couple.

That is a big shift, and has brought with it questions about why "mutual joy" should be restricted only to opposite sex couples.

My presentation notes are posted in full on our special blog, Marriage & Blessings. Presentations from previous weeks are also posted there. Please join us in person or here on the Internet for this important exploration of these issues.

Next week we will look at the arguments for and against same-sex blessings.

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