Partly as a result of developments in biblical scholarship, many Christians now believe that it can be acceptable to enter a same-sex partnership. Savi Hensman examines differing interpretations of Christ's call: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Some church leaders ignore personal experience and scientific evidence when discussing sexuality, unless these fit in with their existing ideas. They may think this shows their faithfulness to the Bible and so to God. But they are wrong.
Just Festival and its predecessor, the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, has been concerned over the years to strike up a genuine personal, artistic, spiritual and cultural conversation among the different religions and beliefs that make up our country.
Christians and other small communities in the Middle East and North Africa face an uncertain and sometimes dangerous situation in which fear is understandable, acknowledges Dr Harry Hagopian. But there is still good reason to resist being overly gripped by insularity and despair, to question the agenda of hierarchs, and to try to respond positively to the grassroots change that will continue to sweep the region over the coming year and beyond.