The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, has been visiting Nashville since Thursday. Today's Tennessean includes a good piece on the visit that has not been without controversy in the Diocese of Tennessee.
The bishop didn't fudge when asked about the debates on sexuality going on in the Church and the wider culture today:
When it comes to controversial issues, like homosexuality, Jefferts Schori says she begins with studying the Scriptures.
That includes looking at the messy human families found in the Bible.
"In the Old Testament, there are lots of examples of what holy and blessed marriage looks like, and what unholy marriage looks like," she said, "including polygamy and concubines being normal."
In the New Testament, she said, Jesus never married and was celibate. Paul wasn't married either.
"He said don't get married — unless you have to — because Jesus was coming back soon," she said.
Even among Anglicans, the idea of marriage has changed. In the 1600s, she said, one of the main reasons for marriage was to "avoid fornication.""That's not in our prayer book now," she said. "We say that the primary goal and good of marriage is companionship. That's different from even what the first Anglicans said. If our goal is to help people live holy lives, which I think is the church's function, maybe we could think about people of the same sex living holy lives together."