This is a fabulous post by someone I’ve been acquainted with for almost seven years. She gives voice to things I’ve felt for a long time.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything here and I hope to begin changing that. Grad school is in its final year and I’m going to be job-searching before much longer, but right now I’m trying to get through Hebrew translations and papers.
Lately, instead of blogging, I’ve been speaking publicly. I’ve spoken to high school students and to a group of PCUSA congregants most recently. Each experience had its own ups and downs, but it’s been an instructive few months even so.
“Because homosexuality is often reduced to the desire for gay sex (which is a very small part of being gay), Christians often don’t understand what we’re talking about. But there are gifts that come with each disposition and vocation, and we’re exploring how those gifts can be embraced and celebrated through friendship and community.”
Yes and amen.
A wonderful thought (or two) about how romantic love shouldn’t inform our friendships.
Imagine a man who quits his job and moves across the country for the woman he loves. This act is either incredibly beautiful or incredibly stupid. One critical fact makes the difference: how she responds.
“Love at first sight” only works for those who have not learned the labors of love. For how can one love another when he does not yet know how to love the other? The greatest love is less like a disembodied hook-up and more like one striking image from John Green’s The Fault in our Stars (the tragically funny book, which I saw as a movie and laughed when I wasn’t supposed to—sorry, fellow movie-goers!). The protagonist reflects, “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
A love which is truly for the other is a slow love, because it is a patient love. It does not demand…
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A thoughtful look at historical matters in a very charged debate.
Last year, Joseph Bottum wrote an essay for Commonweal entitled, “The Things We Share: A Catholic’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage.” With a title like this coming from the pen of a former editor of First Things, Bottum’s article was almost certain to generate voluminous commentary. And it did.
One year later, the commentary continues, with the most recent issue of Commonweal including responses to Bottum’s thesis from two high-profile Catholic journalists. Ross Douthat—a columnist for the New York Times—criticizes Bottum for going too far. Douthat argues that if Catholics “are to continue contending in the American public square,” then “there is no honest way for the church to avoid stating its position on what the legal definition of marriage ought to be.” Jamie L. Manson, on the other hand, thinks that Bottum does not go far enough. She argues that gay couples should…
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Hospitality is so important… So why is it so difficult and how much does it mean to single people in our lives and churches?
I always like seeing this emphasis in discussions of hospitality:
After seven years of marriage, my wife and I have welcomed numerous friends into our home. Once we decide to host friends for an evening, we usually kick into get ready mode, a fast and furious sprint in the days and hours before our friends arrive. We divide and conquer the to-do list: select a menu, complete grocery shopping, mow the lawn, sweep the floors, run the vacuum, clean the playroom, wipe the bird crap off our lawn chairs (we have lots of trees), set the table, clean the playroom (again), and somehow, someway, pray all that happens before the doorbell rings.
Over the years, that to-do list has prepared us for hosting company, but it has also prevented us from welcoming friends in our home. Unwritten Southern rules of offering hospitality with excellence have affected how often we invite…
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I’m a worship leader in my local church and I agree that worship leaders need to help their congregations sing with confidence and point them to Jesus. The church as ‘concert hall’ is problematic at best and soul-killing at worst.
I met some new people, heard some thought-provoking teaching, enjoyed some good meals and conversations with worship leader friends, and experienced in-person some of the modern worship trends that are becoming the norm in evangelicalism. It was eye-opening in many ways.
Over the last few days I’ve been processing some of what I saw and heard.
Worship Leader Magazine does a fantastic job of putting on a worship conference that will expose the attendees to a wide variety of resources, techniques, workshops, songs, new artists, approaches, teachings, and perspectives. I thought of Mark Twain’s famous quote…
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This is an especially helpful distinction.
One view, which has many defenders among Christians who believe that homosexual acts are sinful, is that the term “same-sex attraction” is the clearest and most precise term for describing the experience of those who are, from time to time, tempted to commit homosexual acts.
However, the distinction between carnal and spiritual friendship makes clear that there are different ways of desiring union with a person of the same sex, some of which are virtuous and some of which are vicious. Unfortunately, the term “same sex attraction” introduces unnecessary confusion by lumping all of these desires in under one category.
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I was once a part of a group for men who talked about their same-sex attraction experiences week by week. It wasn’t an ex-gay group; it was a group where we could talk candidly about our wives (most of the men were married) or our temptations or attractions or broader life-issues. It was very helpful for me in that season of my life, before I was more forthcoming about my attractions to people in general.
There was a bit of age divide in the group. Most of the under-40 set were unmarried (there was one exception to this that I can remember) and most of the over-40 set were married (there were one or two exceptions to this). The over-40 set never wanted to be referred to as “gay Christians.” The under-40 set (especially the under-30 set, of which I was a part) had no trouble whatsoever with the title “gay Christian;” for us, it was saying “We’re same-sex attracted and we love Jesus.” To the older guys, it was tantamount to bringing everything that would fall under the heading of “biblical sexuality” into question and to being two steps away from finding a boyfriend and giving up on Church.
In this article at the Spiritual Friendship blog, one bisexual student at a Christian liberal arts college describes what it is like for him to follow traditional, biblical sexual ethics.
Online, I was discovering there were gay celibate Christians who believed the Church could really “Be the church for the homosexual Christian” (as one of the first articles I read by Wesley Hill said). “Why did we never hear this?” I wondered. My short-lived mission to bring such dialogue to my campus began.
I was not always noble in my attitude. I fluctuated between the most genuine heart-felt concern and, at my worst, self-righteous indignation at the community around me. I felt trapped and in the one place I thought that such dialogue, about being gay and chaste, about spiritual friendship, could occur! If there was any good to a Christian education, I thought, it was that it cared for the whole person: their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual self. And I did not feel fed: I was starving.