Writing about Queer Callings in 2017

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.

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.

8 thoughts on “Writing about Queer Callings in 2017

  1. Hi Sarah and Lindsay,
    I love your blog and am so glad you’re planning to write more. Here are some ideas….
    -life in the parish, connecting with others, especially when the parish is very oriented to families with kids
    -ways for other singles/celibates in the parish to support each other in community
    -the celibacy mandate-what it means for both homosexual and heterosexual single people
    -maintaining an open discussion when Theology of the Body is weaponized as a tool to make women be quiet and receptive (I know that’s not what TOB is, but some people do use it that way)
    -gender complementarianism: how to avoid simplistic and reductionist portrayals of women in the Church

  2. I’m glad to see you two back on this blog. I wanted to mention how I missed your voices in the blogosphere when I saw you at GCN Conference but I couldn’t figure out how to not sound weird when I approached you so I just kept silent and told myself I’d send you a note online at some point.

    I feel like I learned a lot about discerning my own calling thanks to your writing and I’m so glad to have the chance to sit with fresh thoughts from you. Your writing has also expanded the ways in which I think about celibacy and celibate vocations and the ways in which I discuss celibacy to other people even as someone who is not actively pursuing celibacy. I have definitely experienced the mistrust of celibacy in Christian circles on all sides of the spectrum that Sarah mentioned at the conference just as someone advocating for people’s right to live out a celibate vocation not someone actually living out that vocation herself, and I’d be interested in reading more about your opinions on what beliefs need to be challenged/corrected/replaced in order to make space for celibate folks in all Christian traditions. I’m also wondering if you’d be comfortable talking more about the legal fears you have around your relationship post-Obergefell vs. Hodges. I’ve started dipping my toes into political activism recently, and so I’m especially interested in learning about the legal protections people in your situation need and thinking about ways to politically fight for space for you to have those protections without getting overshadowed by those who benefitted from the Obergefell vs Hodges decision.

    • Hey Angelique! Sorry we didn’t connect at GCN conference. Awkward interactions are always welcome so don’t let that stop you next time 😉

      We’re glad that you’ve been encouraged by our writings here. Thanks for the excellent food for thought as we work on planning our upcoming posts!

  3. I was wondering about where Lindsey is with her current faith and where might be her church home? Also, what Lindsey’s qualms of catholicism are? And if there ever might be a chance for conversion?

    As a couple, I was thinking abit about…why legal marriage is completely out of the cards? Wouldn’t the greater good of insurance and legal security outweigh the sinfulness or seemingly sinful nature of being legally married?

  4. Personally, i was wondering if there will ever be more discussion of relationships and thoughts on LGBT people who are married and not celibate?

    As a gay woman who is married to a woman with a liberal theology, i just always go there…

  5. From a minister’s perspective, I think it is daunting and confusing when addressing the LGBTQ communities. Even so, I want to engage, love and build connections there. I would benefit from a conversation about what the LGBTQ communities need to hear from the church and how to initiate that conversation in a loving and sincere way.

  6. Having spent some time away from my previous haunts in the ‘blogosphere’ it feels quite timely I should start rereading your blog when you have returned to it as well!

    Being a celibate gay woman in a fairly liberal tradition is a bit odd, not least because one can feel like a bit of a sell out to the ‘dark side’ (being a little facetious there…) but also as though one is taking for granted the beauty of liberal traditions which have defended and continually enable LGBTQ Christians to more openly explore their call in the fullness of themselves.

    I will be honest and say this has often been my issue with some of my fellow celibate gay christians online, much as I respect and admire them – I am of a Nigerian background and I know for a fact that my ‘celibacy’ wouldn’t matter a jot to the majority of my sometimes violently homophobic brothers and sisters in Christ back in the motherland so sometimes I wonder if we’re getting a bit lax about how all our waxing lyrical about tradition and spiritual friendship is used against our LGBTQ siblings (whether in Christ or out of Christ) and what our responsibilities are as a type of ecumenical mediator.

    It’s a tough one, sometimes, and I suspect not helped by the fact that often it’s hard yearning for community (speaking for my own context) that doesn’t exist because it’s not really needed for anyone else but oneself!

Leave a Reply