Many thanks to all who have welcomed us back after our time away. Although we haven’t been writing in this space over the past year, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the topics we enjoy discussing here. In some ways, the conversation about celibacy, vocation, and LGBTQ Christian issues hasn’t changed significantly over the past year. But in other ways, it’s in a very different place now than ever before. Before we begin posting in-depth content again, we would be interested in hearing from you about what topics and questions pique your curiosity. What has been on your mind over the past year? We continue to receive feedback on our old posts. Are there other areas we could cover that would assist you or your church in your own conversations?
For our part, we’ve had a lot on our minds. Considering everything that has happened in the life of the Church and in the lives of LGBTQ Christians within recent months, discussion of celibacy and vocation is timely. The world is hurting, and it needs people who are focused on Christ as expressed through commitment to ways of life existing at the margins. We’ve been thinking about people who don’t have families or loved ones to accompany them during life’s most trying times and how celibates can play a special role in filling some of those gaps. We’ve been thinking about what it means to participate in churches that support people discerning their vocations. We’ve also been pondering the value of community, compassion, and solidarity.
Lindsey has been especially taken by the question, “What does it mean to be evangelical in 2017?” Lindsey’s approach to this question in previous years has focused on what it might mean to bring good news to the world, which Lindsey considered a core aspect of personal spirituality regardless of what Christian tradition either of us has been part of at a given time. Having been formed in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship during college, Lindsey has been grieved by this organization’s recent position paper on human sexuality because of how it problematizes sexual orientation irrespective of sexual activity. And both of us have been praying about how to engage with various intersectional identity discussions given how churches of all kinds have failed at addressing the needs of marginalized groups over the past year. Because Lindsey identifies strongly with evangelical spirituality, witnessing these discussions shut down within evangelical environments has been troubling.
Sarah has been pondering questions of celibacy as an identity marker. We’ve spent a great deal of time in past posts discussing LGBTQ identity labels, but as much as we have discussed celibacy we have not delved into the significance of self-identification as a celibate. This topic has been at the front of Sarah’s mind as we have explored different Christian communities over the past year, including some that recognize celibacy as a vocation and others that find celibacy odd or even threatening. Until the past year, we had not spent sustained periods of time in churches where it is easy to come out as gay but difficult -even impossible- to come out as celibate. Sarah wonders how understanding of celibate identity might vary depending upon one’s Christian tradition, individual faith community, and acceptance from non-celibate friends and loved ones. Sarah has grown increasingly concerned about stigmatization of celibate ways of life as same-sex marriages have become legally recognized throughout the United States.
Those topics are a select few from what arose for us in 2016 while we weren’t writing. This post is a quick preview of what we would like to write about this year, but it’s also a call for topic ideas. If there’s a topic you would like to see us explore here, mention it in the comments or use our contact form to send us an email.
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