Saturday Symposium: Feeling Affirmed

Good morning, folks. It’s a lovely Saturday here where we live, and we hope all of you are having an enjoyable weekend wherever you are. As usual, please allow us a bit of time to catch up on email. We’ve gotten a lot the past couple of weeks!

It’s time once again for today’s Saturday Symposium question:

How this works: It’s very simple. We ask a multi-part question related to a topic we’ve blogged about during the past week or are considering blogging about in the near future, and you, our readers, share your responses in the comments section. Feel free to be open, reflective, and vulnerable…and to challenge us. But as always, be mindful of the comment policy that ends each of our posts. Usually, we respond fairly quickly to each comment, but in order to give you time to think, come back, add more later if you want, and discuss with other readers, we will wait until after Monday to respond to comments on Saturday Symposium questions.

This week’s Saturday Symposium question: This week’s question is on a topic we would like to explore further in a future post. We’ve noticed that recently, language within the LGBT Christian conversation has been shifting. One shift we’ve observed is that many LGBT (and ally) Christian authors and bloggers are beginning to use the terms “affirming” and “non-affirming” instead of “pro-gay” and “anti-gay” (or “Side A” and “Side B”) to describe progressive and traditional positions on sexual ethics. We’re wondering: from your perspective, what does it mean to affirm LGBT Christians? If you are an LGBT Christian, what sort of things make you feel affirmed within your faith community? In general, what are your thoughts on using the terms “affirming” and “non-affirming” to describe ethical positions related to LGBT sexual practice/celibacy?

We look forward to reading your responses. If you’re concerned about having your comment publicly associated with your name, please consider using the Contact Us page to submit your comment. We can post it under a pseudonym (i.e. John says, “your comment”) or summarize your comment in our own words (i.e. One person observed…). Participating in this kind of public dialogue can be risky, and we want to do what we can to protect you even if that means we preserve your anonymity. Have a wonderful weekend!


Sarah and Lindsey

Comment Policy: Please remember that we, and all others commenting on this blog, are people. Practice kindness. Practice generosity. Practice asking questions. Practice showing love. Practice being human. If your comment is rude, it will be deleted. If you are constantly negative, argumentative, or bullish, you will not be able to comment anymore. We are the sole moderators of the combox.

5 thoughts on “Saturday Symposium: Feeling Affirmed

  1. We received the following comment on today’s Saturday Symposium question via our Contact Us form: “I’m concerned about the very narrow gap represented by the affirming/non-affirming paradigm. I think it might constitute a problem for SideB people. Of course this would stem from what affirm meant in the more public conversation. Usually when I hear the language of affirmation invoked it is usually is in a SideA context. For people who are SideB who support LGBT people as people and affirm them in aspects of their life their qualified affirmations may be seen by the affirming crowd as not full enough, incomplete or even harmful. My concern is that in affirming people and the aspects of their lives from a SideB view we do not find ourselves bullied into a corner with a non-affirming sign hung over our heads.”

  2. Being affirming in my opinion is theological affirmation with same sex relationships. When I see affirming churches I assume they’re affirming theologically of same sex relationships.

    • I’d agree with Eliel generally but I’d possibly go a bit deeper. When I came out to my LCMS theology teacher she basically was like, “Okay, cool…” and we went from there. Affirmation is support of same-sex relations but can also come by letting someone know that you seem them as equal still, as human, as not needing Jesus anymore than you do. Affirmation is treating them with full weight and dignity and allowing them the freedom of conscience. Oddly, true affirmation sounds a heck of a lot like friendship.

  3. The definition of affirming that Ellel and Jonas have articulated is how I’d define it, in an alternate universe where I’m much less verbose… 😮

    It would be helpful to have a term to describe people who don’t believe that same sex “consummated” relationships are ok, but basically aren’t jerks to LGBT folks. This could look like what Jonas described above, minus the bit about affirming consummated relationships. While I know that this would be frustrating and painful for anyone who has arrived at a place where they do wish to have – or are already in – such a relationship, in my tiny corner of the world, it would be a considerable improvement over what we have now, which is where the conservative churches tend to push an ex-gay agenda and give a pass to blatant homophobia in their midst. When there’s only one church in town that might perchance be not exclusively ex-gay “affirming” (it’s UCC, but I don’t know where it falls on the spectrum of affirmation / “third way” / non-affirmation – for lack of better terms), well, I’ll take whatever I can get…

  4. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments here. Instead of responding to each individually, we will be thinking more on what all of you have shared between now and Monday as we plan our newest post. On Monday of this coming week, we’ll be releasing a post on what it means to us to feel “affirmed.”

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