Hetero/Homo – normativity

I read a rant from a Facebook friend the other day, the gist of which went like this (I’m not quoting):

I can’t stand the double standard. Straight people can kiss in public all they want. They can virtually have sex in public without anyone saying anything. But if a gay or lesbian couple so much as share a peck on the cheek in public, watch out!

I can understand where my friend is coming from, and the completely skewered obsession the conservative Christian community in this country has with male homosexuality and anal sex is unreal to the point of laughable.[1] However, my reactions to this posting went in a number of directions. In exploring all these different directions, I hope to get a better understanding as to what kind of ‘standards’, double or otherwise, I can see within myself the systems within which I work and live. I also hope to get some idea as to what my response to these standards are, or should be.

First, there was my defensive posture – ‘what are you talking about, why I can remember when I was young’, etc. (God, that makes me sound so old!) Now, before anyone accuses me of hiding behind heterosexist privilege, I just want people to know that I am part of a bi-cultural couple (my wife is Korean). When I first came to South Korea, in 1997, public displays of affection between the sexes were frowned upon, as well. Ironically, women friends could walk down the street arm-in-arm, and male friends could walk down the street arms draped over each other’s shoulders (it still seems to be OK, the assumption is that they’re ‘just friends’). Nonetheless, when we were dating, my then-girlfriend made sure that overt displays of affection were not made in public, so as not to draw attention, frowns, or worse yet, public lectures (I have heard about incidents where these types of things have happened).

Now I will be the first to admit that I have been blessed with a group of strongly supportive Korean friends who have been behind us from the very beginning. It’s not insignificant that when we met, my best Korean friend was divorced, like me; starting his life over again, like me; and beginning a new relationship, like me. He and the other Korean friends I have made over the years have been unswerving and constant in their support of me and my relationship. They also happily attended my wedding, and I (and my wife) have since attended weddings of theirs, gone to birthday parties for their children, and hosted them at Christmas dinners and New Year’s Eve parties through the years. They have been a blessing.

Ah, yes, back to my defense. The main cultural factor which appears to be at play in traditional relations between the sexes is known as nunchi (눈치), which literally means ‘eye measure’. It’s the Korean equivalent to what we might call ‘emotional intelligence’, being able to read the feelings and emotional reactions of people in a given situation. Although it can play out in many different ways, I’ve heard people say that when it comes to marital relationships, it shouldn’t be necessary for the husband to tell the wife that he loves her, since she should be able to pick up on his feelings for her through her nunchi. I wonder if that’s why the Ashley Madison website has gained 150,000 members in Korea since it started business here, the majority of them women.[2]

Well, it wasn’t until we were almost three years into our relationship that I could say the playing field changed. It was when we and a group of Korean friends were walking down the main street on Wonju’s old downtown – that was when it still had bars and cafés – when one of the males in the group talked to my girlfriend. I thought, ‘Oh, God, here we go.’ After they were finished, I asked her what they were talking about (I’m ashamed to say, I’ve lived in this continent over 18 years, but neither my Korean nor my Chinese skills would give you pause to think that).

She said to me, ‘He asked me if we were a couple.’

‘And what did you say?’

‘I said, “Yes”’.

‘What did he make of that?’

‘He said to me, “Well, act like it!”’

She then proceeded to slip my hand in hers.

Since then, I’ve seen the cultural restrictions on opposite sex displays of affection in South Korea relax considerably. In spite of this, whenever I see a young Korean couple holding hands or exchanging a kiss when they’re departing, I almost want to go up, hug them both, and say, ‘Bravo, you two!’

The second direction I went in was memory. It was of a classmate of mine at Emmanuel College during my MDiv studies. She was the first classmate I met while going through the theological education process who told me she was gay/lesbian. I remember her expression of frustration with the heteronormative pressures of the culture around her. ‘I would like so much’, she once said to me, ‘to be able to walk down the street with my date, hand in hand, without having to worry about being chased by people with baseball bats!’

I also remembered that, even in a place as ‘affirming’ as my theological alma mater, Emmanuel College, was in those days, there were limits to how much that affirmation was pursued. I have distinct memories of the first end-of-year formal dinner and dance I attended, known as the ‘Emmanuel Annual’ (catchy title, eh?). There was one student there who was ‘out’ as a lesbian with another woman whom I later found out was her partner. In retrospect, it was very clear that they were having discussions as to whether they should dance together, especially during slow dances. They didn’t. I have no other memories of a same-sex couple going to the Emmanuel Annual during my time there. Even in the ‘affirming’ places, there could be the hang-overs of an unspoken, yet oppressive, pro-straight atmosphere. Can we say ‘heteronormativity’?

This led to the third direction I went in, which was, as it tends to be these days, was research. I looked up a standard definition of ‘heteronormativity’:

Heteronormativity is the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life. It asserts that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or only norm, and states that sexual and marital relations are most (or only) fitting between people of opposite sexes. Consequently, a “heteronormative” view is one that involves alignment of biological sex, sexuality, gender identity and gender roles. Heteronormativity is often linked to heterosexism and homophobia.[3]

Fair enough. A little farther down in the source I was reading, I also came across the definition of ‘homonormativity’:

Homonormativity can refer to the perceived privileging of homosexuality or the perceived assimilation of heteronormative ideals and constructs into LGBTQ culture and individual identity. The term is almost always used in its latter sense…[4]

And later on…

According to Penny Griffin, Politics and International Relations lecturer at the University of New South Wales, homonormativity upholds neoliberalism rather than critiquing monogamy, procreation, and binary gender roles as inherently heterosexist and racist.[5]

‘Ay, there’s the rub’, as Will liked to put it[6]. It’s only in the wake of the marriage equality decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that I’ve even heard of the seemingly oxymoronic ‘conservative argument for marriage equality’, although it certainly exists.[7] Yet, it seems that critics of hetero-/homo-normativity claim that to pursue marriage equality is only to go after the hallmarks of acceptability in a heterosexist society. They may have a point. I watched a sample of 14 pro-LGBT commercial campaigns from 2014[8], to see what kinds of relationships were portrayed in them. 8 featured either married or established couples, often with children; only 1 could be called trans, and that one featured two drag queens from RuPaul’s series Drag Race.

I also watched a Canadian-made documentary on how perceptions of the gay community have changed over time. Of the different phases described in the documentary, the advocacy for marriage equality was very telling. The most telling quote I heard in that section was from Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign, who said that ‘the process…(of promoting marriage equality), perhaps, (was) no different from the way that Kellogg’s goes about selling cereal to its consumers’[9]. Is that a necessary evolution in how to use modern research and advocacy techniques, or is it buying into the neo-liberal corporate capitalist, and heterosexist, culture? I don’t have an answer to that one, and I won’t even try – I’d just end up being an ass in the process.

However, I do note that many of those who rail against hetero-/homo- normativity are not just railing against what they oppose – they have proposed an alternative vision. Around 1200 academics, religious leaders, artists and musicians, and activists have signed the statement ‘Beyond Same Sex Marriage’, stating that there is a need to allow for the registry of a variety of relationships by the state. They state, boldly in my opinion, ‘Marriage is not the only worthy form of family or relationship, and it should not be legally and economically privileged above all others.’[10] The variety of relationships they name is wide-ranging, and includes:

  • Senior citizens living together, serving as each other’s caregivers, partners, and/or constructed families
  • Adult children living with and caring for their parents
  • Grandparents and other family members raising their children’s (and/or a relative’s) children
  • Committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner
  • Blended families
  • Single parent households
  • Extended families (especially in particular immigrant populations) living under one roof, whose members care for one another
  • Queer couples who decide to jointly create and raise a child with another queer person or couple, in two households
  • Close friends and siblings who live together in long-term, committed, non-conjugal relationships, serving as each other’s primary support and caregivers
  • Care-giving and partnership relationships that have been developed to provide support systems to those living with HIV/AIDS[11]

I also note, with interest, that the registration process for couples in Korea is separate from the process of planning and having a marriage ceremony. However, it’s also very clear that the purpose of registering couples is to ensure the ability to trace ancestry and bloodlines. You’ll see this very clearly whenever you have to go to your local neighbourhood government office to get a Certificate of Family Status. To be considered a family unit, there has to be a designated family ‘head’, and the parentage of that family head is named on the certificate. Interestingly enough, in my case, my wife is ‘head’ of the family, presumably to ensure the ability to trace Korean bloodlines. You can bet the family farm that if I were Korean, she wouldn’t have that status!

So, what’s the ‘Christian’ position to take on these things? I’m only beginning to wrap my head around this issue, so I don’t have any clear answers yet. However, there are some things to consider:

  • Apart from very broad principles based in our understanding of the Gospel of Jesus, appealing to the Scriptures won’t be of much help. Be very sceptical of those who talk about ‘Biblical marriage’. If you actually look within the Scriptures, you’ll find that the models of ‘Biblical marriage’ don’t look very much like the nuclear family ‘husband, wife, and 1.9 children’ model we have lived with since the end of World War II. Don’t believe me? Fine, don’t take my word for it – take the word of Betty Bowers![12]
  • We have to be aware of the perspective from which we address this issue, and if we enjoy even the slightest amount of privilege, let’s be upfront about it. I have privilege as a heterosexual male. Even though my wife has to be the head of our family unit in the Korean family registry, I can still claim the right to register my relationship with her – Korean citizens who are sexual minorities cannot.
  • It’s vital to be aware of the vested interests that are at work in your context. Here in South Korea, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family has declared that working on the establishment of LGBT+ rights is not only not within its mandate, but that it is also seeking to pressure municipalities within Korea which have proclaimed LGBT+ rights (Daejeon Metropolitan City; Gwacheon City, Gyeonggi Province) declarations to withdraw them![13] Gee, I wonder who is behind that?

However, based on those ‘broad principles in the Gospel of Jesus’, I think there is something we can appeal to. If we take seriously the principles of Jesus to withhold judgment on others lest we call down judgment on ourselves; doing to others as we would have done to us (both from the Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 7); and to love our neighbour as ourselves, and to define ‘neighbour’ to include the last person we would ever want to have as our neighbour (the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10); I can affirm the following principles:

  • the individual Christian person, with the support of a caring community, can be trusted to find the relationship(s) which give him/her fulfilment;
  • all relationships in which people engage must be mutually satisfying, rooted in justice and caring for the other, and seek to strengthen the self and community[14]; and
  • Christians are called to act responsibly in their private and public lives.

That seems like a good start.

One last thought – I remember a Catholic priest, of all people (!), suggesting at the time marriage equality became the law of the land in Canada, that all couples have a state-based registry of their relationships. Then, those who wanted to have a faith-based marriage ceremony could freely do so. Sound like an idea?

[1] For recent examples, see Iglauer, P; Lee, T H (2015, 28 June) Pride parade must be stopped because gays are ‘diseased,’ pastor says, The Korea Observer. [online] Accessed 29 June 2015 at http://www.koreaobserver.com/pride-parade-must-be-stopped-because-gays-are-diseased-pastor-says-33223/; and Koo, S W (2015, July 22) South Korean Evangelicals’ Anal Obsession, Korea Exposé [online] Accessed 20 August 2015 at http://www.koreaexpose.com/in-depth/south-korean-evangelicals-anal-obsession/.

[2] Klug, F, and Lee, Y K (AP) (2015, 12 June) Cheating site Ashley Madison is booming in South Korea. Business Insider [online] Accessed 20 August 2015 at http://www.businessinsider.com/cheating-site-ashley-madison-is-booming-in-south-korea-2015-6.

[3] From one of the answers to everything – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heteronormativity – accessed 25 August 2015.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] See Hamlet, Act iii, Scene i.

[7] For example, Angelo, G T (2015, 18 July) A conservative case for marriage equality. Washington Examiner [online]; or Olson, T B (2010, 8 January) (!)The Conservative Case For Gay Marriage, Newsweek [online]. Accessed 25 August 2015 at http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/a-conservative-case-for-marriage-equality/article/2567744, and http://www.newsweek.com/conservative-case-gay-marriage-70923 (respectively).

[8] Avery, D (2014, 29 December) The 14 Best LGBT Commercials Of 2014. Logo TV/NewNowNext [online]. Accessed 25 August 2015 at http://www.newnownext.com/14-best-lgbt-commercials-of-2014/12/2014/.

[9]In (2013, 28 November) How We Got Gay. Doc Zone. CBC Television. Accessed 10 June 2015 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvKyY382KUc (posted by ‘Darkness Documentary’).

[10] (2006, July 26) BEYOND SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: A NEW STRATEGIC VISION FOR ALL OUR FAMILIES & RELATIONSHIPS. In beyondmarriage.org [online]. Accessed 18 August 2015 at http://www.beyondmarriage.org/full_statement.html.

[11] Ibid.

[12] As found in (2009) Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage to Everyone Else [online]. Posted by Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian. Accessed 2 May 2015 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFkeKKszXTw.

[13] This is the subject of two petitions I have recently signed on avaaz.org.

[14] This is an echo of something I remember from Gift, Dilemma, and Promise, a report presented to the 30th General Council of the United Church of Canada.


The Bible’s Place in a Debate

I have to hand it to my colleague in ministry, the Rev Daniel Payne. He willingly entered into a debate with another Christian minister, Pastor Paul Warren Morgan, of an English-medium ministry from another church in Korea (Incheon, to be exact), on the topic ‘Does the Bible Condemn Homosexuality?’[1] It occurred on Saturday, July 25, and was attended by about 30-35 people – pretty good, considering the torrential rain that was falling just before the event! It was conducted in an extremely civil manner, with both debaters adhering to time limits, respectfully submitting questions and counter-points to each other, and speaking generally in a dispassionate (not un-passionate) manner.

At the beginning, the middle, and the end of the debate, people were asked to answer ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘No Answer’ to the question, ‘Does the Bible condemn homosexuality?’ There was very little movement, indicating that most people came in with their minds already made up, but there appeared to be some movement among those who initially answered ‘No Answer’, with some possibly shifting to the ‘No’ side. Nonetheless, I don’t think that’s the ultimate metric by which the debate can or should be judged. The fact that people were willing to come out on a rainy Saturday night & consider this question, and that there is a permanent video record of it that people can refer to, should suffice.

Well, there’s more to it than that – there always is, isn’t there? In the lead-up to the debate, in one of the threads on the Facebook page dedicated to the debate, someone asked, ‘Can you…share some basic principles of Christianity which you both affirm which might not be discussed during this debate because you both agree?’

My colleague Daniel took this up and answered, for the purposes of this debate, we both agree to the following: “The Bible is the authoritative, inspired word of God.”’

Well, as is my wont these days, I decided to plug this phrase into the first answer to everything (yes, Google[2]), and I found that organizations like the following tend to make these types of statements:

  • The Biblical Studies Foundation, a group of evangelical Christians who have published the website org. From their doctrinal statement: ‘We believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings…and the divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life.’[3]
  • Congregations of the Evangelical Covenant Church, such as this one: ‘WE BELIEVE The Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine and conduct.’[4]
  • The Campus Crusade for Christ: ‘The sole basis of our beliefs is the Bible…We believe that it was uniquely, verbally and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit…It is the supreme and final authority in all matters on which it speaks.’[5]
  • Groups like the First Stone Movement, seeking to ‘deliver’ people from ‘sexual brokenness’ brought about, as they believe, by influences like homosexuality and lesbianism: We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God; and therefore the supreme authoritative revelation of Truth for all Christian faith and life.’[6]
  • Statements like the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: ‘We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God…(with) all its parts, down to the very words of the original, given by divine inspiration.’ (from Articles I and VI)[7]

I wonder how these groups cope with people like Bart Ehrman, who reminds us that ‘we don’t even have copies of the copies of the copies of the (original manuscripts)[8] – but I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

I’m glad that Daniel was able to agree to that statement with Pastor Warren – I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do so. I identify as a progressive Christian. As such, I would say that my position toward the Scriptures is more – nuanced, shall we say. I come by this stance honestly – it’s not a newfound stance, but one I’ve always held, even before I could articulate it. In my original religious home, the United Church of Canada, the Scriptures are dealt with in Article II of the Articles of Faith in its Basis of Union – On Revelation. It deals with Scripture after dealing with how God is revealed in the world generally, then through people of faith, and ultimately in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It then states: ‘We receive the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, given by inspiration of God, as containing the only infallible rule of faith and life, a faithful record of God’s revelations, and as the sure witness to Christ.’[9]

‘So, what’s the big diff?’ you may ask.

Two, as far as I’m concerned:

  • In most of the previous articles on Scripture I quoted, the Bible is addressed first, and then beliefs about God, Jesus, etc. are addressed. However, in the Articles of Faith, the nature of God is addressed first, including (briefly) the revelation in Jesus, followed by the place of the Scriptures (notice the reference to ‘the Scriptures’, not ‘the Bible’).
  • That word ‘containing’. It seems to me that this word (at the very least) suggests the necessity for people to discern carefully what the rule of faith and life is, as found in the Scriptures.

I believe the second difference has huge implications for dealing with any passage of Scripture, especially those which have been traditionally used to condemn homosexuality – the ‘clobber passages’, as they are also known. For one, the necessity of discerning the word from God found within a passage of Scripture allows for the possibility that we may find out something about the context within which such passages were produced, meaning that our understanding of such passages may change. Indeed, it’s possible that multiple layers of meaning can be found within the Scriptures[10].

For another, the meaning of the Scriptures must be interpreted in the light of God’s revelation in Jesus. J D Crossan[11] and Marcus Borg[12] have made very convincing arguments (as I have read and listened to them) that Jesus, as best as we can discover about him, is the standard by which all Scripture is to be interpreted. As this relates to the ‘clobber passages’, we see that none of Jesus’ sayings in the Gospels address sexual orientation / gender identity – he speaks more about divorce! This, I know, is in stark contrast to those who would hold up the Bible as it is to be the ultimate authority. However, it seems to me that, if one wishes to hold the Bible (or certain passages therein) as above the authority of the example of Jesus, or equal to it, one has to conclude that Jesus is speaking just as much through the First Testament[13] (or such preferred passages) as through the New Testament.

As I remember, my colleague has since admitted that this is not his true stance toward the Scriptures; in fact, he did this for two reasons:

  • to help the debate happen; and
  • to acknowledge the fact that there were gay and lesbian Christians in the audience who had such a view of Scripture.

He wanted to demonstrate to evangelicals who have such a ‘high view’ of Scripture that it is possible to hold this view and conclude that ‘the Bible does not condemn homosexuality’. This is an entirely honorable intention, but I have to ask: ‘Is it really possible to do this?’

Statements which push things like ‘the authoritative, inspired Word of God’ are very loaded. From my experience, the groups which hold to and promote these statements push a lot of corollaries and related positions, such as:

  • young-earth creationism;
  • the regular intervention of the Divine into daily events, even violating and rendering obsolete the normal operation of natural principles as we understand them;
  • the uncritical acceptance that the Scriptural books, as they now exist and in the order they have been placed in the Bible, are ‘the original forms’, and that looking for earlier layers of tradition is unnecessary, or even offensive, to religious certitude;
  • the books of the Scriptures, on account of their inspired / authoritative status, have been written with the modern world, as we now have and understand it, in mind; and
  • human sexuality must be principally understood as, and reduced to, specific sex acts – more specifically, what one may or may not do with one’s sexual organs, including where they can be inserted, or what can be inserted in them, or how they can / should be stimulated (Strange! That statement could describe the porn industry!).

If what you are about to read sounds too radical, not gracious enough, or too judgmental, I’m willing to risk your disapproval (if indeed I haven’t earned it already). I’ve come to the conclusion that the so-called ‘high view’ of Scripture embodied in phrases like ‘the authoritative, inspired Word of God’ will not serve the church well in the age to come, for three reasons:

  • In order to be Christians these days, ‘we gotta know stuff’ about the Scriptures, or listen to those who do know. There has been so much scholarship done on the Scriptures as literature, and so much discovery of, and debate about, the various layers of tradition which make up the Scriptures as we now have them; this scholarship and these debates must be brought into the regular conversations of faith communities.
  • There are other voices we need to hear. There has been a lot of study on the historical circumstances through which the Scriptures as we now know them have come together. This includes alternative voices within the sources which are not part of the multiple versions (because there are multiple versions representing multiple communities) of the Scriptures. These other voices are being listened to, and they cannot be silenced anymore; we must allow these voices, at the very least, to inform our understanding of the canon we hold.
  • We cannot ignore modern science anymore. The physical and social sciences will not and should not take a back seat to the formulations of ancient texts, no matter how inspired we believe they are. Christians must accept that the creation stories in Genesis (stories, yes! – there are two of ‘em) are NOT scientific proposals. If archaeological study casts doubt on whether there was a forty-year period ‘in the wilderness’, or that the city of Jericho was besieged, we must not assume that the archaeologists are wrong. If we find that modern psychiatry, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and biology undermine what we think the traditional outlook of the Scriptures is on sexual orientation / gender identity, then we need to take another look at that outlook. We’ve had to do this concerning slavery, racism, and the place of women – we have to do the same here.

Those of an evangelical persuasion provide admirable examples in their commitment to following in the way of Jesus, and in their willingness to encourage others to do the same. We need more of them in all branches of the church. However, if someone isn’t willing to struggle with serious study of the Scriptures – not just faith-based Bible study, but also literary, historical, and other scholarly analysis – or isn’t willing to consider the conclusions of those who have done this work, I don’t think they should be let anywhere near the Scriptures. If people seek acceptance as LGBT+ Christians, or wish to affirm others who are LGBT+, I don’t see how they can do it and still say that the universe is no more than 6000 years old, or that Moses wrote the Pentateuch in its entirety, or that the Gospels are eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus, just told from four different recollections. I don’t see how the so-called ‘high view’ of Scripture can help one to find peace as an LGBT+ or LGBT+ affirming Christian.

There is an alternative – one which takes a lot more work, and opens up more questions and doubts than it gives answers or certitudes. It is, though, in my humble opinion, a more satisfying, more exciting, and more reasonable approach. It’s in places like http://progressivechristianity.org, the ‘Progressive Christian’ channel of the Patheos portal (http://www.patheos.com/Progressive-Christian), and the ‘Religion’ section of The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/religion). Yale University also has open courses available on the New Testament (http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-152) and the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) (http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-145). These are only some suggestions on where to start searching. The important thing is to start searching!

[1] A video of the debate is available at (2015) Gay Christianity Debate: Daniel Payne vs. Paul Warren. Posted by Onsege English Ministry 1 August 2015 [online]. Acessed 5 August 2015 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2hmfOKSZkk.

[2] For future reference, the second answer to everything is Wikipedia, and the third is YouTube.

[3] (2005, July 30). Doctrinal Statement. In Bible.org (Richardson: Biblical Studies Foundation) [online]. Accessed 7 August 2015 at https://bible.org/article/doctrinal-statement/.

[4] (n.d.) WE BELIEVE…. In Deerbrook Covenant Church [online]. Accessed 1 August 2015 at https://myhueintherainbow.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/a56b4-we_believe.pdf.

[5] (1994-2015). Statement of Faith. In cru (Orlando, FL: Campus Crusade for Christ) [online]. Accessed 7 August 2015 at http://www.cru.org/about/statement-of-faith.html.

[6] (2015) The Bible – What We Believe and Why It Matters. In fsm (Oklahoma City, OK: First Stone Ministries) [online]. Accessed 8 August 2015 at http://firststone.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4&Itemid=102.

[7]International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (1978). The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary Archives) [online]. Accessed 8 August 2015 at http://library.dts.edu/Pages/TL/Special/ICBI_1.pdf.

[8] For example, see Ehrman, B (2006). Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine, 1st edition (Oxford: OUP), Ch 7, ‘Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Marriage’.

[9]The United Church of Canada. Doctrine: Article II – Of Revelation, In Subscription to the Basis of Union by the Members of the First General Council of the United Church of Canada [online]. Accessed 8 August 2015 at http://www.united-church.ca/files/history/overview/basisofunion.pdf.

[10] For an interesting discussion on this, listen to ‘The Issue: John Dominic Crossan on the Historical Jesus (Episode 3)’, Sunday Nights, ABC Radio National (Sydney: ABC Radio, 13 January 2013) [online] Accessed 6 January 2015 at http://www.abc.net.au/sundaynights/stories/s3683087.htm.

[11] For example, (2012, 22 March) Interview: John Dominc Crossan on Power of Parable. In Read the Spirit [online]. Accessed 9 August 2015 at http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/interview-john-dominic-crossan-on-power-of-parable/.

[12] Borg, M (2013, 17 March) Why Jesus Matters (The All Saints’ Rector’s Forum). Posted by All Saints’ Church Pasadena on 18 March 2013. Accessed 10 February 2015 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt0g5UzTZz4.

[13] My preferred label for the Old Testament, now called the Hebrew Scriptures by many.