Tuesday, February 04, 2014

"Spiritual Friendship"

Check out Spiritual Friendship, a blog founded by Ron Belgau and Wesley Hill, where a solid line-up of Side B gay Christian writers reflect on celibacy as a positive calling and vocation, attempting to get away from the largely negative message of the evangelical church that celibacy is all about "don't do this" and "don't do that."

In this recent interview by Martyn Jones, Wes Hill explains:
Jesus had some very counter-cultural things to say about family, and he ended up relativizing its importance (Matthew 12:46-50). What ultimately mattered to him was no longer marriage and the begetting of children; he required absolute loyalty to himself, and for some people this meant renouncing marriage and childbearing for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:12). Because we’ve downplayed those themes in evangelicalism, we haven’t really been motivated to think hard about how to support the celibate vocation and how its witness could enrich—or, to switch the metaphor, be folded into and knit together with—the vocation to marriage.
. . . I’d like to see all kinds of things change in our churches: I’d like more teaching from our pulpits and classrooms about the why and how of celibacy (lots of biblical material to draw from here, especially 1 Corinthians 7). I’d like to see single people integrated into all levels of ministry, from committees and task forces to pastoral teams and vestries and Sunday School teachers. I’d like to see every after-church meal (whether in the fellowship hall or in members’ homes) include an odd number of chairs. I’d love to see singles feeling free to invite married people over for lunch or dinner without being afraid of getting head-patting comments about how nice it is that a single person knows how to cook!
I would add, if I may, that I'd like to see more gay celibate men ordained to the gospel ministry. As long as straight conservative Christians like to advocate celibacy as a solution for gay Christians, then such churches should be willing to ordain many of them as those who have a calling similar to the apostle Paul's.
He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord--how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world--how he may please his wife. -- 1 Corinthians 7:32-33
For other counter-cultural musings that ruffle feathers all around--whether in the conservative church, the liberal church or the secular world--please check out Spiritual Friendship.