Eugene Rogers is one of the finest Christian theologians working today in the area of sexuality. Trained in the theology of Karl Barth and Thomas Aquinas, he is unique in his insistence on making a theological, rather than a 'rights-based' argument for same-sex marriage. His recent piece in the Christian Century is a wonderful summation to his recent work on the Episcopal Church's theology committee. It should be required reading for anyone who thinks that progressive Christians need to do a soft shoe shuffle around the theological and biblical bases for full inclusion of GLBT persons.
Here's a snippet from the article:
As for Christ, orthodox theology makes him fully human and fully divine. As God, Christ occupies neither gender, since God is the source of it all. As the medieval axiom goes, God is not in a category, Deus non est in genere. The corollary reads like a translation: "God is not in a gender." Thus the seventh-century Council of Toledo could insist that the first person of the Trinity "gave birth" to the preexistent, heavenly Christ "from the womb of the Father."
Graham Ward has noticed that the maleness of Jesus is a curious thing. Lacking a human father, Jesus received no humanly produced Y chromosome, and yet he is circumcised. The Middle Ages has much to teach us about the maleness of Jesus as well. The language of Cistercian piety called Jesus the mother of monks. Male priests invited male monks to suck milk from Jesus' breasts. They urged them to crawl into the wound in his side, the better to enter his womb. That was how to be born again in the Middle Ages—from the womb of Jesus. Medieval authors never wavered from using masculine pronouns for Jesus, nor did they confine him to masculine images. Christ could be all to all. Christ was the bridegroom to women and to men. Indeed Christ's body, if male in Jesus, was female in the church.
Although the church has often used typology to enforce gender roles, the logic of typology opens roles up—because any gender can represent a type. This is part of the mystery: Christ has never been the bridegroom for women alone and the church has never been a bride composed only of men.
Consider that in the Middle Ages an abbot could be gendered male, as a physical man; female, as a member of the church; male again, as a priest; female again, as a mother of monks; and female at prayer, as a soul before God. The complementarity theory of male and female turns out to be distinctively modern in confining a person to one gender—and to that extent untraditional. In the Middle Ages, gender could vary according to the greater reality represented...
To sum up: Ephesians does not require heterosexual complementarity, even if it uses gendered language. A critic has called this interpretation "a refusal to see the obvious." But that's true only if gendered language requires gendered representation. And it doesn't. Otherwise, only women could lead a church gendered as female, and only men could be children of God on the pattern of God's Son. But that's absurd. We do permit men to represent the church, and we do admit women as children of God. An inflexible interpretation of gender confines the reading of scripture, restricts the resources of tradition, ignores the data of creation and reduces salvation to absurdity.