Christian Faithfulness and Same-Sex Attraction Event Follow-Up
Last Saturday’s “Christian Faithfulness and Same-Sex Attraction” event was an important time. I appreciate the hard work, openness, and maturity that were on display, and I am incredibly grateful for Wes, Julie, and Tim, as they shared their stories in refreshing, moving, and vulnerable ways.
My hope for Christ Church is that, as a result of the time spent, we might have a greater sensitivity to those in our midst, or those not yet in our midst, who might experience same-sex attraction. Hearing Wes, Tim, and Julie share their experiences of growing up gay in the church was heartbreaking. I hope that our church would be a place where a teenager experiencing same-sex attraction would feel comfortable sharing his or her feelings, knowing that he or she would experience love and compassion, not fear and judgment.
I also hope that we might make space for same-sex attracted Christians who have chosen the challenging path of celibacy, affirming this “difficult curriculum” (to use Tim Otto’s phrase) as a gift to the church. We heard all three speakers encourage us to rethink how we understand and practice community. As Julie Rodgers so clearly put it, “You can live without sex, but you can’t live without intimacy.” The question of how we order our life together to include single people, creating contexts for intimate friendships to develop, is one that is essential to ask, and to keep asking, as we seek to grow into the kind of body that affirms with Paul, “We are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25).
Finally, I hope that we would continue to develop an intimacy with Scripture, looking to Scripture to shape and form our ideas and practices of family, sex, community, and friendship. In the pages of Scripture we find neither the radical individualism of the West, nor the idolization of the so-called “nuclear” family so common in many Christian circles, but rather the radical redefinition of family around the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We also discover marriage not as a means to self-fulfillment, nor celibacy a posture of self-hatred, but both marriage and celibacy, as Wes Hill reminded us, as holy callings to lay down our lives, anticipating the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in the New Creation.
So, ultimately, the event wasn’t about homosexuality, or even about sex, but rather about what it means to live as a community gathered around the crucified and risen Jesus, formed and shaped by the story of scripture. I hope and pray that Saturday was a step in that direction for Christ Church.
For those who weren’t there, or for those who would like – to paraphrase the Book of Common Prayer – to continue to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the material presented, the video for each of the sessions is embedded below. Feel free to share with any and all that might be interested. This is another way that we can live out our mission to bless our city.
May we be good stewards of all that God has given us. We were richly blessed last Saturday, now it is time to put it into practice.
- We still have copies of Wes’ two titles, which we will keep on hand for purchase through the end of May at the church office for $8 each. Please contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase.
- Hard copies of the audio and video from this event are available by contacting Megan as well.
- We have ordered audio and video of a similar conference held at Trinity Seminary last fall, entitled “Christian Faith & Same-Sex Attraction,” with speakers including Mark Yarhouse, Melinda Selmys, and Eve Tushnet. Copies will be available to check out from the parish library soon.