Last year, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA appointed a Special Committee to Study Issues of Civil Union and Christian Marriage. The committee was given two years to study how the theology and practice of marriage have developed in the Reformed tradition and the place of covenanted same-gender partnerships in the Christian community.

This adult education course tries to do something similar over an eight-week period for St. Andrew Presbyterian in Iowa City. Throughout this discussion, we hope to hear from class participants’ personal experiences and questions concerning sexuality and the Presbyterian faith.

For questions or comments, contact Jeff Charis-Carlson at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Discussion Questions for Week IV

For this Sunday, I would like us to read and be ready to discuss N.T. Wright’s “Communion and Koinonia.” It’s a long essay that helps put our discussion about sexuality into a larger context of tolerance and boundaries within the church. (Wright also passionately and rationally rejects many of the biblical interpretations offered in “For the Bible Tells Me So” — especially when it comes to contextualizing and understanding what the New Testament writers’ words could have meant in a first-century Jewish environment.)

As you read, please mark the passages you have questions about or strong responses to. And, if you’re so inclined, please write your own response to Wright. If you send them to me ahead of time ( or post them as a comment on the Web site, all the class can benefit.

To help get things started, I’ve posted my response to the essay. Please remember that I offer my response as a starting point, not an ending point, for discussion. Your responses to my response are welcome and encouraged.

If you have time, please also read through the legal briefs (May 29 and September 26) that Dell Richard has written up. Dell has been an active participant in our class and would happy to answer any questions. If you have specific questions — especially any that would require more research — send them to me.

If you still have more time, read through the other links on the site that provide more traditional readings of the biblical passages we’ve been discussing. We’ll continue that discussion next week. In order to allow for more in-class discussion, we won’t be watching the rest of the documentary for a few more weeks.

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