Like any garment 40 years old, the 73 Report shows its age, not least because the social framework by which we understand homosexuality has shifted so much. Theologically, we have moved closer to the baptismal regeneration pole on padeo-baptism, this in turn puts the question of how we understand homosexuality as a youth phenomenon.
If that were not enough on our plate, there is from the LGBT side (or at least the “L” side) voices that suggest a different understanding of attraction than with the male. O! Gender differences!! That’s another swirl in the cultural mixmaster (see EJ Graf’s article at American Prospect, “Cynthia Nixon, Gay and Proud“). This too suggests that the understanding of 73 might now be simplistic.
As this is clearly one of the big issues in front of the church in practical terms, it is important that we think it through more carefully and thoroughly. The fact that we have the controversy, the shattering of congregations and denominations at the very least means that the older answers are not working. That’s not an invitation to surrender, but it does seem to challenge us to think with some sophistication and theological nuance.
In short, another study. And the sooner, the better.