Last month, young adults across Queensland gathered to talk about holistic sexuality with Uniting Church President, Rev Dr Andrew Dutney. Ashley Goetze reports.
Suggestively titled Theology between the sheets, bashfulness soon subsided in exchange for sincere questions surrounding the nation’s fixation on Biblical interpretations regarding same-sex marriage.
As one young person asked, “What’s the big deal?”
Uniting Church President Rev Dr Andrew Dutney answered, “What was very much underground and even criminalised in some states has moved to the surface and been decriminalised as an ordinary part of life.”
“It’s been an incredible change in our lifetimes, so we’re just trying to get our heads around it.”
Dr Dutney went on to explain how from the introduction of the contraceptive pill in 1961 to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1997, issues that would appear to the younger generation as frustratingly easy to address make plain the generational gap between those who have lived through major political changes concerning sexuality, and those who have not.
Twenty-one-year-old Chanise Pojar from the Gold Coast was one young adult surprised to realise the contemporary nature of some of the issues.
“It was really interesting to learn about the history of sexuality and the western culture and how much it has changed in not just 50 years, but 30 years,” said Ms Pojar.
“I was definitely challenged in the way that popular culture affects me and attempting to step out of that and view sexuality the way that God designed it to be, as a gift and a beautiful thing and avoid being part of any kind of culture or media that abuses that.”
Having these conversations while remaining both cross-generational and cross-culturally unified is the harder task the Uniting Church has set itself, said Dr Dutney.
It is a task pursued in spite of the intensely divisive nature of such issues and has been proven achievable. Dr Dutney referred to the 13th National Assembly, saying that Uniting Church members unanimously placed community above theological disparity; observing Romans 14.
“We recognise that people have different understandings of how the scriptures are inspired and what their authority is,” said Dr Dutney.
“What I hope for the Church is that the result of this conversation will be a deeper level of understanding and appreciation and love for each other, in our difference.”