A God of Love and Surprises

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.
– 1 John 4:18 (NRSV)

Exactly one year ago, I publicly came out as gay. Today I’m formally coming out in full moral support of same-sex relationships. You probably saw this coming (especially if you read my latest post), and if you know me in person this is no surprise. But I felt it might be helpful to tell the story of how I ended up here — though if you’re looking for a theological exploration, I’m afraid that’s for another time.

Back in the summer of 2015, a friend I found on an online group for LGBT+ Christians was considering becoming a Catholic priest, and one day, he struck up a conversation with me about celibacy. I confessed to him that I had only tentatively parked myself on Side B and maintained celibacy because it was the “safe option”.

In truth, something felt very off about my experience with “lifelong” singleness. I felt trapped by my faith, forced into a vocation I never desired for myself. And though I tried to convince myself I could learn to love it, I could never shake the feeling that I was living a lie.

My primary concern through everything has always been to remain faithful to God. I never set out to prove any particular viewpoint right or wrong — I just wanted the truth, but in order to do that I needed to look further into affirming theologies. A lot of what I came across didn’t strike me as very convincing, but I was willing to dialogue with this new friend of mine, who ever so graciously walked me through his beliefs. We respectfully disagreed and began to learn from each other’s experiences.

Continue reading “A God of Love and Surprises”

Gay Theology, Part 1: The End of Clarity

Alternate title: “I don’t know anything anymore this is confusing.”

In the LGBT-Christian dialogue, there are generally two major camps of thought:
1) Side A, which believes that God blesses gay relationships under the same provisions as heterosexual relationships, and
2) Side B, which believes that God does not bless same-sex sexual activity of any kind, and therefore gay/bisexual Christians are called to abstain from sexual intimacy, unless they happen to marry someone of the opposite sex.

It has come to my attention that many people on both sides of this issue lack a comprehensive Biblical understanding of why either side believes what it does (really, who does, though?). In both cases, we usually end up regurgitating what we’ve been told our entire lives without questioning whether or not our reasoning is philosophically sound; we often do this without realizing exactly what we’re saying and end up simply talking past each other. If we ever hope to accomplish fruitful dialogue, we must learn how to communicate on the same page.

This series of posts will attempt to rectify that situation by presenting what I believe to be the most pertinent data, followed by an analysis of what we can and cannot conclude from it. I will try to keep it simple, and as I state in my disclaimer from my About page, I am not a theological authority — I’m only here to help you think, not to tell you what to think. For all our sakes, you’re more than welcome to double check my facts.

Continue reading “Gay Theology, Part 1: The End of Clarity”