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by Mark D. Jordan
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Humanities
  • Author:
    Mark D. Jordan
  • ISBN:
    0226410331
  • ISBN13:
    978-0226410333
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 15, 2005)
  • Pages:
    258 pages
  • Subcategory:
    Humanities
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1451 kb
  • ePUB format
    1695 kb
  • DJVU format
    1335 kb
  • Rating:
    4.3
  • Votes:
    500
  • Formats:
    docx doc azw lit


Blessing Same-Sex Unions takes a different point of departure from usual for discussing gay marriage.

Blessing Same-Sex Unions takes a different point of departure from usual for discussing gay marriage.

Blessing Same-Sex Unions book. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking Blessing Same-Sex Unions: The Perils of Queer Romance and the Confusions of Christian Marriage as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Christian churches," he concludes "should bless same-sex unions. They should do it as a matter of justice, after reading the real signs of the times, with prayerful enthusiasm for the Gospel, and by way of securing some credible future for their marriage theology" (p. 206). Jordan complicates both Christian history and current Christian views, arguing effectively that there is not one "single Christian doctrine," nor can contemporary arguments based on Christian historical conceptions of marriage stand in the face of his withering critique.

Opponents of gay marriage, he reveals, too often confuse simplified ideals of matrimony with historical facts.

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Keywords: Jordan, Blessing, PERILS, Christian Marriage, Queer Romance, Sex Unions.

Article in Journal of the History of Sexuality 19(2):371-379 · January 2010 with 37 Reads. How we measure 'reads'. To repeat a now-familiar pun, they examine gay rights and gay rites (as in marriage) through the prism of politics and culture, transnational comparisons, and, perhaps most interestingly, Christian and Jewish theology.

Blessing Same-Sex Unions. The Perils of Queer Romance and the Confusions of Christian Marriage

Blessing Same-Sex Unions. The Perils of Queer Romance and the Confusions of Christian Marriage. Opponents of gay marriage, he reveals, too often confuse simplified ideals of matrimony with historical facts.

Rites of so-called "same-sex union" (Boswell's proposed translation) occur in ancient prayer-books of both the western and . Blessing Same-Sex Unions: The Perils of Queer Romance and the Confusions of Christian Marriage. University of Chicago Press. p. 134. ISBN 0-226-41033-1.

Rites of so-called "same-sex union" (Boswell's proposed translation) occur in ancient prayer-books of both the western and eastern churches. They are rites of adelphopoiesis, literally Greek for the making of brothers. Boswell, stated that these should be regarded as sexual unions similar to marriages.

At most church weddings, the person presiding over the ritual is not a priest or a pastor, but the wedding planner, followed by the photographer, the florist, and the caterer. And in this day and age, more wedding theology is supplied by Modern Bride magazine or reality television than by any of the Christian treatises on holy matrimony. Indeed, church weddings have strayed long and far from distinctly Christian aspirations. The costumes and gestures might still be right, but the intentions are hardly religious.Why then, asks noted gay commentator Mark D. Jordan, are so many churches vehemently opposed to blessing same-sex unions? In this incisive work, Jordan shows how carefully selected ideals of Christian marriage have come to dominate recent debates over same-sex unions. Opponents of gay marriage, he reveals, too often confuse simplified ideals of matrimony with historical facts. They suppose, for instance, that there has been a stable Christian tradition of marriage across millennia, when in reality Christians have quarreled among themselves for centuries about even the most basic elements of marital theology, authorizing experiments like polygamy and divorce. Jordan also argues that no matter what the courts do, Christian churches will have to decide for themselves whether to bless same-sex unions. No civil compromise can settle the religious questions surrounding gay marriage. And queer Christians, he contends, will have to discover for themselves what they really want out of marriage. If they are not just after legal recognition as a couple or a place at the social table, do they really seek the blessing of God? Or just the garish melodrama of a white wedding? Posing trenchant questions such as these, Blessing Same-Sex Unions will be a must-read for both sides of the debate over gay marriage in America today.

Buriwield
This review appeared in White Crane Journal #70 Fall 2006

Mark Jordan is a marvelous writer and rhetoritician. Blessing Same-Sex Unions is a delight to read. At times, of course, it is precise and theological. There’s nothing lax about the book’s argumentation. But it’s written with a certain whimsy and delightfully arch rhetorical style. In the Epilogue, Jordan compares the book to an opera buffa, a comedy of manners, and his narrative voice perhaps to what he calls “the avuncular parson’s winking approval.” From behind the curtain of his serious theological and cultural commentary, you can occasionally imagine the author sticking his head out, smiling at the audience, and delivering a great one-liner—or maybe giving a campy raspberry to all the seriousness.

Blessing Same-Sex Unions takes a different point of departure from usual for discussing gay marriage. Instead of arguing about rights and benefits and human or American liberties, Jordan addresses the question of ceremonies: what is a “wedding”? how do you put on a properly “gay” wedding? what does it mean to “bless” the union? what is the “union”?

One of the reasons, perhaps, that Jordan’s prose is so pleasantly mannered is that he is acutely concerned with language and complains that the language used to debate this contentious issue is usually imprecise and misleading. So he spends considerable space in the book analyzing the language of religion and particularly of marriage and relationship.

I recommend the book simply for its enjoyable readability and its occasional comedy about what is often so “deadly serious” on both sides of the debate. But, of course, the content matters and Jordan’s take on the content is refreshingly different from the usual.

As part of analyzing “marriage,” Jordan looks at the real issues: the wedding and the commitment (to what?). In one of the more humorous sections, he picks apart an issue of Modern Bride Magazine, showing that weddings are really for ceremonies for women and they’re mostly about spending exorbitant sums of money on dresses and catering. He jokes that gay men are intrinic to weddings—but usually as the dress designers, the planners, and the caterers (and maybe the priests!). Weddings are big business in America. They’re done through the Churches, but really have very little to do with religion.

As a Church historian, Jordan solidly refutes the notion that heterosexual marriage is the fundamental building block of society and has remained unchanged through Church history. Early Christianity did not approve of marriage at all. St. Paul wanted all Christian believers to abstain from sex, reproduction, and marriage as he did. The early Christians believed the end of the world and the return of Jesus were imminent. Having children and planning for the future were signs of unbelief. And monogamy and indissolubility as the central characteristics of Christian marriage are new ideas, certainly not consistent with the polygynist model of the Biblical patriarchs. Even Jesus’s teachings on marriage have more to do with honoring women as equal human beings than with offering a legal structure for or a theology about sex.

Christianity has been traditionally anti-sex and anti-pleasure. So marriage is less about legitimating sex or discovering the mystical significance of sexual consciousness than it is about keeping inheritance lines clear and placing sexuality in a pattern that ultimately subordinates it to child-rearing.

A theme that runs through the book is how modern gay men and lesbians might be reforming marital and childrearing expectations, perhaps, by doing it better. The (surreptiously anti-sex?) Fundamentalists complain that gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed because gay people (men especially) are more likely to be pro-sex and liberal (adulterous?) with one another. We gay men might argue, for instance, that a little outside sex, especially engaged in honestly and forthrightly within rules like “only when the partner is out of town,” can actually strengthen the bond of love between the partners. That’s what the “family values” people call redefining marriage and worry that our gay adaptations to reality might allow all marriages to be happier, more stable, and—god forbid!—more sexually satisfying.

One of the most interesting discusssions in the book is based on analysis of love letters from earlier times. In the letters between the literary critic F.O. Mathiessen and the painter Russell Cheney, for instance, who were lovers from 1924 to 1945, Jordan finds a definition of male love and bonding that blends Walt Whitman’s enthusiasm for embodiment with conventional marriage to come up with a notion of loving “companionship, devotion, and laughter” that enhances personal freedom rather than constraining it.

Jordan looks at “rites” and “liturgies” to see just what is being blessed. Looking at several scripts for gay marriage ceremonies, he elucidates just what kind of commitment the partners might be entering into based on the words they use in their, perhaps personally composed, vows. He also analyzes John Boswell’s arguments that “Pre-Modern” Christianity actually had rituals for same-sex bonding.

If you’re rushing out to join the crowd demanding the same rights—and rites—as heterosexuals because it’s the cause celebre of the moment, you might be more interested in one of those guides to gay marriage, with referral pages for the best costumes or most stylish comestibles for the reception. But if you want to delve deep into the meaning of what such a “blessing” is, here’s the book for you. And it’s a fun read!

Reviewed by Toby Johnson, author of Gay Spirituality: Gay Identity and the Transformation of Human Consciousness, The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell and other novels and books
Gathris
There have been a lot of books written recently on the topic of same-sex marriage and yet Professor Jordan still manages to say something that wasn't covered in any of the other books. He explores marriage and its associated (or claimed) theology and the intersection of marriage and the reality of gay male romantic lives. He actually says a lot more of what marriage is not and what same-sex marriage will not be and makes very few assertions about what marriage or marriage theology are or how same-sex marriage will look like. Which is an assertion in itself. Anyway, any book which cites Queer as Folk rates high in my book.
Fohuginn
I needed this book for one of my Philosophy classes so I ordered online. I did not receive the book in time.