What is the meaning behind your blog’s title? Why do you use the word “queer”?
We answer this question on our About page, which you can find here.
Which of you writes the posts? When I read your blog, I get confused about who is writing what.
Both of us write the posts. Lindsey’s posts always begin with, “A reflection by Lindsey,” and Sarah’s posts always begin with, “A reflection by Sarah.” Occasional guest posts always begin with, “A reflection by (author’s name).” Posts without any of these headings have been written by both of us as a team as we sit together on the sofa and submit ourselves to the supervision of two tabby cats and a Labrador with a strong dislike of typos and grammatical errors.
Why have you chosen celibacy?
We have chosen celibacy because we are called to this way of life. Both of us have explored the possibilities of celibate vocations for several years, including a significant amount of time before we met each other. You can read more about why we have chosen celibacy here.
Do you feel forced into celibacy by Christianity?
No, we do not feel forced into celibacy by Christianity. We are very grateful that Christianity has given us the opportunity to discover our vocation to celibacy, and we have chosen this way of life freely.
Do you believe that Christian traditions should impose a celibacy mandate on all LGBT people?
Different Christian traditions reach different conclusions on questions related to sexual morality, and we believe that churches should use their resources to assist people of all sexual orientations and gender identities to discover their vocations. We believe that vocations should not be forced upon people, and churches teaching a traditional sexual ethic have the resources to do so without discussing the issue of LGBT celibacy as an oppressive mandate. Christianity–both conservative and liberal–would do well to spend more time discussing celibacy as a meaningful way of life rather than a default. You can read more on what we think about celibacy mandates here and here.
So, does that mean you believe all approaches to sexual ethics are equally appropriate for Christians?
Not at all. We are committed to living a sexual ethic that is in accordance with the teachings of our Christian traditions, and if you read all our posts (not just the ones that challenge liberals or conservatives in particular) it should become obvious what that sexual ethic looks like. That said, we do not believe it is our place to be policing other people’s sexual ethics. There are many places on the internet where you can find apologetics for various conservative and liberal approaches to sexual ethics. We are not apologists, and we launched A Queer Calling with the intention of discussing our lived experience as celibate, LGBT Christians rather than making an argument for LGBT celibacy.
Are you part of the “gay celibacy movement” that has been getting attention in several news sources?
Our story has been referenced in articles about celibate LGBT Christians. We are open to sharing our story with news sources again in the future. However, we see A Queer Calling as part of our service to the Church — we are a ministry, not a movement. There are a variety of blogs and other internet spaces operated by celibate LGBT Christians. Each of these spaces has its own approach and specific issues of interest. A Queer Calling is not attempting to compete with these other spaces. We encourage all who are interested to check out as many celibate LGBT resources as possible.
Are you promoting celibate partnership as the ideal state of life for all LGBT Christians?
The short answer is, no. To expand that a bit, we believe that different people are best suited to different ways of life, and the question of which vocational pathway one should choose would be best discussed with a spiritual director. We do believe that our way of life is one possible means of cultivating a celibate vocation, but is not the best option for the majority of people. To provide a direct answer to one form of this question that we hear regularly: no, we aren’t trying to recruit other LGBT people for celibate partnerships. For more on this, read the post here.
Isn’t celibacy just the absence of sexual relations?
Though one dictionary definition of celibacy is “the absence of sexual relations,” we believe that celibacy as a vocation cannot be defined so narrowly. In time, we hope to expand this, but we have made our first attempt at defining the vocation of celibacy here. We’ve since revisited that here and here.
What are some of the common misconceptions about celibacy?
We have heard a great number of misconceptions about celibacy: that it is unnatural, that people only live celibate lives because they feel forced to do so, that all celibate people are virgins, etc. We have written more about this here.
Did you choose to enter into a celibate partnership because it is an alternative to a lifetime of loneliness?
We chose to enter into a celibate partnership because we sense a call to live our celibate vocations together in this way. We had a strong friendship before becoming partners, and we came into doing life together quite organically. Loneliness was the farthest thing from our minds when we began our partnership. We have written more about this here.
Do you see your partnership as a celibate marriage?
We do not see our partnership as a celibate marriage. We believe that the vocation to marriage enables married people to manifest the Kingdom of God in their households. We also believe that celibate vocations enable celibate people to manifest the Kingdom of God. Both can be good and holy ways of life. But from our perspective, calling our relationship a “marriage” simply because we are two people doing life together inappropriately removes the emphasis from our calling to celibacy. You can read more about how we define celibacy here and what we’ve learned from married couples about marriage here.
What kinds of legal protections and labels do you find most appropriate for a couple in your situation?
We believe that LGBT couples should be able to determine for themselves which forms of legal protection best suit their needs. In American society today, not enough options exist to protect families that are not bound together by marriage for whatever reason. We pray that this will change eventually, and we are strong advocates for alternative forms of legal recognition for couples who cannot marry or are not called to marriage. You can read more of our thoughts on legal issues here and here.
How did you meet?
We met through our participation in the Gay Christian Network’s online community. We answer that question more fully here.
Are you ex-gay?
No. We are not ex-gay, and we do not support any ex-gay organizations. You can read more about our past experiences with ex-gay organizations here.
Is this blog a Side B apologetic?
No. The purpose of this blog is to share our reflections on various life issues both together and individually. Many of our writings focus on the topic of celibacy, but we do not intend this blog to be an apologetic for a particular theological position on the question, “Is gay sex a sin?” There are many other places on the Internet for people to discuss that issue. Our blog focuses instead on the experience of cultivating a celibate vocation. We have explained more about why we do not use the language of Side A and Side B here and here.
What language do you use to describe your sexual orientations and gender identities?
We are a celibate, LGBT couple with a queer calling. You can read more about our preferred language here.
I am gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Are you trying to convince me that I have to be celibate?
Your decisions are your own. We are not trying to convince you to make the decisions that we have. Our writing project is intended to be reflective in nature, and although we do share our opinions on various topics from time to time, we do not see ourselves as the authoritative voices on any issue whatsoever. We are committed to living celibacy, and others who are interested in knowing more about why are free to ask. We welcome discussion with people from all ideological standpoints.
By describing celibacy as something positive, are you trying to coerce married and sexually active gay people into living as you do? Are you pretending to be accepting of Side A people?
Our only agenda is to provide a space for exploring celibacy, both for our benefit and the benefit of others who are interested for any number of reasons. We are not trying to coerce others into living as we do. We describe both positive and challenging aspects of celibacy as we have experienced them in our lives, and we hope that LGBT people who choose or are considering celibacy might find our personal reflections helpful. We are not pretending to accept Side A people. Most Side A people live differently than we do, and we have no intention of demeaning anyone who identifies with that label. Some Christian traditions have made all LGBT Christians, regardless of sexual ethic, feel unwelcome. We believe the Church would benefit from listening to the stories of sexually active LGBT people as well as stories from LGBT celibates. And once again, in most circumstances we do not use the language of Side A and Side B on this blog because we don’t see it as relevant for the type of discussion we want to foster. You can read more about this here.
How do you feel about LGBT Christian couples who say they are not called to celibacy?
We trust that God is working in the lives of all Christians, and we respect others who, within the context of their own Christian traditions, have reached different conclusions than we have on ethical questions. We do not see theological agreement as a requirement for respecting another person’s story, and we do not see it as our job to raise questions about what is or is not going on in someone else’s bedroom. We’ve found that focusing so much on assumptions about other people’s sex lives takes away from the ability to see one’s own vices and virtues clearly. We also believe that regardless of a person’s sexual ethic, there’s likely something you can learn from that person. We’ve written about lessons we’ve learned from other LGBT couples here.
What if you’re wrong about celibacy, vocation, sexual ethics, LGBT issues, or other theological issues?
Being wrong is part of being human. No person who discusses these issues is going to get everything right 100% of the time. Though we try to show kindness, hospitality, and compassion in our posts, there are times when we might fall short in those areas as well. Making mistakes and repenting is part of the Christian life, and we do not see our writing as completely free from all possible errors. You can read more of our thoughts on the topic of “being wrong” here.
What is your denomination/Christian tradition?
That’s a complicated question at the moment. The two of us were part of the Orthodox Church for quite some time. Before that, Sarah was Catholic and Lindsey was part of the Evangelical movement. As of 10/27/2015, we have announced to our readers that we are no longer able to be part of the Orthodox Church. Right now, we are trying to focus on listening to God and allowing ourselves to experience Christian love in different faith communities. Sarah has made a return to Catholicism, together as a family we are exploring additional options for our Sunday worship. We are committed to loving and supporting each other in our faith journeys as individuals and together. Please pray for us.
What is your policy for comments?
At the bottom of each post, you will see this message:
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.
Why do some of my comments show up right away while other comments do not appear?
We do our best to moderate comments because we want to encourage positive discussion. Some comments get held until we have had a chance to approve them, but we try to be reasonably quick.
Why was my comment deleted? Why am I not able to comment on your blog?
We welcome comments from all readers willing to abide by our comment policy. If your comment was deleted or was never approved, it is because the comment was rude or disrespectful. If your commenting privileges have been rescinded, it is because your comments have been consistently negative, argumentative, or bullish.
Additional Questions? Ask us, and you might see them show up here.