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Showing posts from January, 2011

Rodney Croome on Gay Marriage: A Response to Novak

Recently I posted on David Novak's essay on the Australian ABC Religion and Ethics website regarding the legitimacy of gay marriages, and the role of the State in (as he sees it) redefining marriage to include same-sex unions. I thought the essay was better argued than many of those that advance this sort of argument from tradition, though it lacked for me a developed anthropology - which I would want to see developed theologically for obvious reasons. Today the ABC site has published Rodney Croome's response to Novak. Croome is something of a celebrity figure in Tasmania. He is an LGBT rights campainger, an honourary lecturer in sociology at the University of Tasmania, and recipient of several awards for his humanitarian work. Being British, I confess I had heard little of him but his website certainly suggests that he has had a hugely influential role in the transformation of Tasmania's sexuality laws. He is also campaign co-ordinator for AME. Croome is therefore a reall…

Barth's charismatic ethics?

I've been working on Church Dogmatics III/4 recently, on Barth's special ethics in his doctrine of creation. Although it is widely known that Barth has real hang-ups about natural theology, and its ethical manifestation as systematic casuistry, it is here in the introductory paragraphs of this volume that he tackles the issue head on in the most comprehensive way. He outlines his basic understanding, and critique, of systematic casuistry and its ultimate failure to take seriously the liveliness of the Living Word addressed to humanity in Christ. However, Barth does allow for a certain kind of casuistry - what he calls 'practical casuistry' - which concerns itself not with the application of static and abstract universal moral principles but with the momentary reflection and decision regarding that same Living Word as it encounters human beings in particular concrete instances. It is this notion of encounter and response that grows out of a pneumatology that takes serio…

David Novak on state legislation and same-sex marriages

I have today been reading an article by David Novak, a Canadian Traditional Jew, professor, ethicist, lawyer, and Rabbi, on same-sex marriage and the role of state legislation. In it he revisits his previous dialogue with the Reform Jewish scholar Martha Nussbaum. Novak's basic position is conservative on the definition of marriage itself. Over against Nussbaum he rejects the idea that marriage is the wedding of two persons to one another - what he takes to be a modern development - and maintains the traditional account that it is specifically the wedding of a male and a female person to one another. The argument he makes does not rest primarily in theological considerations, but on questions about the legitimate role of state legislation with regard to the meaning of the term 'marriage'. Part of his argument consists in his locating the development of marriage within the formation of culture and not polity. Marriage is therefore pre-political in Novak's view, and so h…

Reading the Church Dogmatics in two years!

I have been away from my blog, and my home, for several weeks over the Christmas period and am still playing catchup with my thoughts so have blogged little. BUT, I came across this new blog and thought I might pass on the info to whomsoever I can. It is a group of folks who are aiming to read through Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics (all 9000 or so pages) in two years - reading roughly 15 pages per day and having Sundays to recover. Go here to read their daily comments on the reading, and here for the reading calendar so you too can join the fun. I have read the CD once before cover to cover, and another time without the small print (which I now know is the best bit!) but thought I might attempt to read along for the craic...