An Update on the Gay Debate: evolving ideas, untidy stories, and hopes for the church

I was a senior in high school the first time I shared my story on a stage. The ex-gay ministry I had been attending for 8 months asked if I would be willing to share about the Lord’s work in my life, and I was honored. That was the beginning of what has now turned into twelve years of speaking publicly about some version of being gay and Christian. There were several motivating factors for me entering into the public conversation back in the day: one was that I wanted to be accepted by my community—I wanted to be the good kind of gay. The other reason was that I wanted to do right by the gay youth silently suffering in the pews. I wanted them to know Jesus loved them and they didn’t have to go it alone.

Twelve years later, I care a little less about approval and a lot more about the gaybies. Because I care about the gaybies and it’s right to keep it real even if it comes at a cost, it seems like a good time to share some of the ways my thinking on how to best love and support sexual minorities has evolved through the years. I’ve been troubled by the way human stories are often used to further one agenda or another in the culture war, and honest, nuanced, untidy stories seems like one way to avoid that happening (quite as much).

Though I’ve been slow to admit it to myself, I’ve quietly supported same-sex relationships for a while now. When friends have chosen to lay their lives down for their partners, I’ve celebrated their commitment to one another and supported them as they’ve lost so many Christian friends they loved. When young people have angsted at me about the gay debate, I’ve just told them to follow Jesus—to seek to honor Him with their sexuality and love others well. For some, I imagine they will feel led to commit to lifelong celibacy. For others, I think it will mean laying their lives down for spouses and staying true to that promise to the end. My main hope for all of them is that they would grow to love Jesus more and that it would overflow into a life spent on others.

While I struggle to understand how to apply Scripture to the marriage debate today (just like we all struggle to know how to interpret Scripture on countless controversial topics), I’ve become increasingly troubled by the unintended consequences of messages that insist all LGBT people commit to lifelong celibacy. No matter how graciously it’s framed, that message tends to contribute to feelings of shame and alienation for gay Christians. It leaves folks feeling like love and acceptance are contingent upon them not-gay-marrying and not-falling-in-gay-love. When that’s the case—when communion is contingent upon gays holding very narrow beliefs and making extraordinary sacrifices to live up to a standard that demands everything from an individual with little help from the community—it’s hard to believe our bodies might be an occasion for joy. It’s hard to believe we’re actually wanted in our churches. It’s hard to believe the God who loves us actually likes us.

I don’t think this happens because anyone hates gay people. Most of the Christians I know love gay people­. They simply underestimate the burden of feeling marginalized, scrutinized, unwanted and relationally toxic because one of the best things about us—the way we give our love away—is seen as sinful. It’s easy for straight Christians to underestimate how exhausting it is to simply exist in communities that feel uncomfortable with gays: we’re constantly wondering if we should tell the truth when asked that question, or sleep on the floor when there’s room in the bed, or cut that hug short, or voice that question, or publish that post, or write that tweet, or curb that mannerism, or run from that friendship, or shut down those feelings or leave the church altogether. Those fears subside around friends who simply delight in who we are as whole human beings made in the image of God.

We’re made for long-term, committed relationships that bind us to one another and cost us something. Relationships are where we realize how selfish we are and begin to delight in setting our wills aside to nourish another. They’re where we grow in tenderness, having received grace in our ugliest and most embarrassing moments. They’re where we energize one another with a love that overflows into hospitality as we welcome our neighbors into our homes.

Some might find that in friendship, which is wonderful. But most will find it in a spouse because that’s the context we have for making such serious commitments and staying true to them once life happens. When we make those kinds of promises to one another, we need a community to surround us to support us for the long haul. Communities with a traditional sexual ethic have, more often than not, dismissed sexual minorities the moment they moved in this direction. Rather than working out what it would look like for them to stay connected to the church and process all the questions in community, they’ve forced gays to go it alone.

Moreover, that kind of treatment isn’t just reserved for those in relationships. The fire I’ve come under (publicly and privately) as I’ve sought to live into the traditional ethic causes me to question whether this is about genuinely held beliefs or straight up homophobia. I say this with nothing but sadness: the kind of discrimination my friends and I have experienced as celibate gays makes me lean toward the latter.

Because many Christians assume that those who support same-sex relationships do so out of a desire to satiate their appetites rather than sincere Christian convictions, I feel the need to say that I’m not dating anyone (though I’ll add that our public obsession with total strangers’ sex lives does strike me as strange). I’m as single as ever and have remained celibate throughout my twenties. The Side B dream is one I truly believe in: it’s my lifelong goal to persuade people to make cross-country moves for friends, establish relationships across generations, share homes with married couples, and grow old with friends regardless. But it feels important for me to push for those kinds of changes as someone who also supports people in same-sex relationships so that friendship is promoted as a good in itself rather than a quick fix for the gay problem.

My goal now is the same as it’s always been: to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with the God who’s been my first love all along. When it comes to this conversation, my goal has been to help Christians create the kinds of communities that make LGBT people feel wanted—where we can worship God, use our gifts, serve our neighbors, and find a family to share in the joys and sorrows of living in a world where so many people are so lonely. That looks a little different to me now that I’ve seen so much fruit in affirming communities, but it’s a widening of my circle—not a move in a different direction.

If it turns out that I’m wrong, I trust God will be faithful to catch me. For now, though, I hope those of you who disagree will continue to welcome my friendship and serve alongside me. It’s not too late to call it quits on all the fighting. We could choose instead to focus on all we share in common and seek to mend what’s been broken in this fragile world.

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178 thoughts on “An Update on the Gay Debate: evolving ideas, untidy stories, and hopes for the church

  1. Marcia said: “ALL singles can feel marginalized, and all alike can struggle with the ways that following Jesus requires them to follow him in single celibate life . . . .” As a single celibate person, I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. It has been a sacrifice (more in the early years of my life) to forego sexual relationships in pursuit of what I really want: a close relationship to Jesus Christ, my Lord. I would never discriminate against anyone or refuse to be friends with them because of their sexual preferences or beliefs. I have gay friends that I love as much as anyone else in my life. If you think they are terrible people, keep in mind that we ALL sin, and fall short of the glory of God; so let’s not focus our wrath on one particular life style. There are married straight people who have affairs. There are single people who have kinky sex lives. So what do you do to weed them out, Christians who don’t want to taint themselves by welcoming gay people into your lives? Have everyone take a lie detector test? Here’s an idea: Why not just associate with people who are perfect? I haven’t found anyone like that yet. I lack the skills to judge people’s hearts — that is the role of God. I lack the skills to straighten people out (no pun intended there) — that is the job of the Holy Spirit. So, everyone is welcome into my life and into my heart.

    Reply
    • Let’s see: loving gay relationship, having marital affairs, pusuing kinky sex. one of these things is not like the others. Your language of “sexual preference” and “life style” gives away your view that somehow gay people choose to be gay and that it’s a sin like any other. Get to truly know a gay people and I think you’ll come to see the committed love they share is not a sin, and is certainly not a choice. I don’t see how God would condemn a relationship that contributes love, solidarity to the mission of adding love to the world. This doesn’t fit with everything else I know about God.

      Reply
      • Lee, like Julie, you need to get to know the real God. Not the one you’ve made Him to be in your own mind. God is Love but you must first understand what true Love is. Also, your view of “the mission of adding love to the world” is completely skewed. The Bible, which is God’s Word to Man, talks of no such mission. Quite to the contrary. Oh, and if you don’t think being Homosexual (there’s nothing “gay” about it. “Gay is a lie so why perpetuate it? Why not call it for what it is? Could it be because the truth hurts and “Homosexual” brings conviction?) is a choice, then how do you explain those who have left the lifestyle and not enjoy healthy true marriages and relationships with their spouses? And just for the record, even if one were to agree with you that SSA is not a choice, then that only pertains to the desire – the temptation – NOT the behavior and actual act. A Homosexual has no more compulsion to act on their desires that I do to commit adultery or fornication any other person with any kind of sexual deviancy.

  2. Pingback: Wheaton's Julie Rodgers Resigns, “Evolving” on Same-Sex Relationships - Juicy Ecumenism

  3. My son gave me this link. I really appreciate your heart. Your desire to create an environment in the church where people who are gay can feel welcome is also commendable. I would add, I would hope our churches are places where all people with any sexual sin struggles are welcome at the foot of the cross. Is there any way, for those of us who still choose to interpret scripture literally in this case, to be able to be welcoming and loving but also hold to the conviction that practicing homosexuality is a sin? I am growingly convicted that our churches tolerate way too much sin but all the while acting holier than thou…it’s a weird hypocrisy but it seems judgmentalism and toleration of personal sin seem to be a problem in our American churches…I would love to know how can I hold to my personal conviction of scripture and not be repulsive to gay Christians?

    Reply
    • Karen, you’re asking the million-dollar question. I love my gay kid as he is, and that puts me on the receiving end of “love the sinner, hate the sin.” It doesn’t feel anything remotely like love. It feels like polite shunning. Maybe if I publicly denounced my kid, or talked about him like he’s a pathetic, misguided weirdo, they’d treat me like they used to, but I expect that wouldn’t seem right to them, either. I really don’t know.

      A friend from my (former) traditional church asked the same question recently. He said, “if we hold to the traditional view that gay Christians must be celibate, how can we communicate that and still sound loving?” Honestly, I told him, I have no idea. But glossing over that paradox and insisting we’re “speaking the truth in love” only makes straight Christians feel justified. It ultimately says to LGBT people: if you don’t feel loved, it’s your own fault. (Oh look, they went away. Guess they couldn’t handle the truth.)

      Thank you for asking the hard question and acknowledging that it’s a hard one to resolve. After seeing the fallout among gay kids from solid families in conservative churches (cutting, anxiety, depression, suicide ideation, etc.), I can’t hold that position anymore. Maybe there’s a way to live out a fully loving Side B approach that is socially, psychologically, and spiritually healthy for gay kids in the church. I just haven’t seen it yet.

      Reply
      • I’m reading NOT A FAN, I’m exploring how in our own strength somethings will be impossible, but to love people right where they are and yet still believe they are not perfect (because they know that I am not as well :)) …that’s where the Holy Spirit needs to act through us, despite our limitations. I also think like with my son who struggles with porn, I love him completely as he is right now, but I still hope better for him someday…it doesn’t make my love less for him. I appreciate the kind discussions on this page though. Those of us who still firmly hold to a literal interpretation of scripture but also feel a sense of conviction that we are falling short in the grace and love dept..well that is the conversation I want to have with the Christian gay community!

      • Friendly reminder to all that the traditional view of sexuality ≠ “literal interpretation” and the non-traditional view ≠ “non-literal interpretation.” They’re just different hermeneutics, but “one man one woman for life” is not MORE literal than Rachel’s changing view. In fact, Rachel’s view may actually be more literal technically because in order to hold it one has to take into account context, original language issues, and what the original audiences of the scripture would have interpreted these words and verses to mean. So. There’s that. Carry on.

      • Emily, I can’t find “Rachel’s changing view” to comment specifically on that but I did wanna say that whether or not Homosexuality is a sin and SSM is legitimate or not is NOT determined by one’s hermeneutics. God’s truths are not based on how someone chooses to exercise their method of interpretation. God’s truths are Truth and the Bible is clear. Homosexuality is a sin and SSM is an abomination in the eyes of God. Marriage is to reflect the relationship between Christ and His Bride. “Bride” means female. The Marriage between Christ and His Bride is all that one should need to see in order to know that Marriage is between a man and a woman. Several other passages are often referred to such as Matt. 19 but one I’ve not seen referenced yet which is crystal clear is 1st Cor. 11. Verse 9 specifically.

    • As a son to another mother, I’d like to give my own reply to your comment. I respect your seeking to honor God by holding on to your convictions; I encourage you to continue honoring God by realizing that no one gets it right all the time. Our convictions matter only when they come from the heart, and only when they come from informed choice. They must be open to being challenged, and when appropriate, they must be open to change as God continues to reveal truth and its meaning to us. I’m encouraging you to let go of the need to believe one thing where that need is the only reason to believe it. I also encourage you to learn more about the few biblical passages often cited by the Church. A thoughtful post is given here: http://www.matthewvines.com/transcript/

      What we call eternal truth is what truth has existed from the beginning, long even before our arrival in Creation; we must not confuse God’s eternal truth for the invented traditions that we uphold as such. Love is one truth. The limits we’ve placed on its free and meaningful expression are inventions and contradictions to the diversity of God’s creation. Be well & may God keep you.

      Reply
    • Karen, I cannot speak as a practicing Christian. I am a believer. But, I don’t practice like Julie or it seems like the folks on this blog do. I am gay, though, and I can say with certainty that it is *only* gay Christians, and even then, only a subset of that group, that will even find it comprehensible that one could be literally “welcoming and loving” while simultaneously believing that being gay (i.e. “practicing homosexuality”) is a sin. In order to do that, you have to separate out “the sin” from the sinner, since we are all sinners, as you say. However, homosexuality is not simply a behavior. In fact, I would argue it’s not even a behavior. I enjoy reading Julie’s blog because it makes that point so beautifully. Hers is one place where I’ve actually seen someone writing intelligently and articulately about the fact that it has much more to do with a vision of the world, aesthetics, relationality, and love. Many of us, myself included, understand this dimension of ourselves as one of the most godly and beautiful. So, when another individual pinpoints that aspect of ourselves (myself) and says it’s a sin, an abomination to God, and that it is merely a temptation to pray away — that is repulsive to me because it’s akin to saying that you’d like to essentially remove the spiritual relationship from my life. It says to me, “I love you, but I hate your spirit.” It is unintelligible to me. I understand that in your mind it seems to make sense. But, a person *must* believe that the gayness is not natural (not created), a delusion, nothing to celebrate a sin or brokenness that must be redeemed by the Holy Spirit, etc. {insert any other derogatory or demeaning idea here} – for your ideas to make any sense whatsoever. For those of us who believe it’s one of God’s greatest gifts, the answer is no – there is no way to hold that view and still have a truly reciprocal relationship with a gay person. And most will probably recoil from it, feel alienated, and it definitely, as Julie points out, leads to self shame.

      Reply
  4. Pingback: Schaeffer: Excluding SSA Christians from Church Life is "Cruel and Wrong." - Mere Orthodoxy | Christianity, Politics, and Culture

  5. Pingback: Wheaton chaplain supports same-sex relationships, quits evangelical college - Faithfully LGBT

  6. This was beautifully written and I appreciate your heart for people in the church. I so wish I could join you in “stopping the fight” but it seems to me that God’s Word is abundantly clear that sex is designed for a man and a woman who are married. Although culture has changed and we will need to figure out a way to be tolerant of gay marriage and love the gay Christian, the Word of God remains the same. I applaud your efforts to respect the Word and remain celibate, but I also understand that that is a tall order for any human to live their life alone. I pray God would make this issue less confusing for those of us who are trying to “get it” without allowing our biblical convictions to escape us.

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  7. Side B is a farce. It is enough to say. Do those side B really feel justified when those who told them to remain celibate are either married or having partners ?

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  8. I can’t pretend to understand the angst and stress that you live with and how you feel when you and people like you are marginalized.

    I sympathize with you and where you’re coming from. I think it is unfair and unjust how same sex attracted people are treated by Christians. I feel like that you are the only ones in this whole debate without a home. People that celebrate and practice homosexuality are now free to marry and are celebrated and defended by the larger society. Heterosexual Christians still have a home and place within the church. But where do homosexual Christians who believe the bible regarding homosexuality go? Do they have a home? I don’t think most people can begin to comprehend the burden that is placed on you and others who have made a similar choice.

    In some ways it seems you’ve been put in an impossible situation. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But God’s design and purpose for male and female and for human sexuality hasn’t changed. Homosexuality is sinful, and ultimately destructive. Humans often respond to being sinned against by sinning. I think that’s what’s going on here. It’s part of the curse. It also points to the fact that we are not disconnected individuals. We’re to operate as a body, and when one part hurts the whole body hurts. But many don’t recognize that. Most of the body is ignoring the pain of a part they don’t like. And it’s wrong. Disregarding the pain of a whole group of people is sin. It’s awful. And it needs to change. But responding by supporting disordered sexual relationships isn’t the right response. I wish we could relearn the art of real, true, deep friendship. It is so tragic that we only have sexual intimacy in our culture and no other kind. It makes married heterosexuals like me very lonely as well. I guess that’s part of why I sympathize with your plight. I have been very lonely my whole life, and marriage did not fix it.

    I think choosing to support sinful relationships is sin, but I think the people who have put you in a nearly impossible situation share responsibility for this sin, and that’s what many don’t recognize.

    I hope you can see the heart of what I’m saying. I disagree with you, but I’m not trying to condemn you at all. I pray that you will find strength and encouragement to continue to be faithful. This post sounds like you are weary, which is understandable.

    Reply
    • My own study led me to believe it is a sin to condemn same sex relationships. I couldn’t find sufficient evidence in scripture and the real life evidence showed the message of required celibacy for LGBT people mostly led to bad fruit such as depression, hopelessness and self loathing but loving monogamous same sex relationships had the same positive impact on LGBT people that loving heterosexual relationships have on straight people. Those things combined led me to believe it was unjust and sinful to condemn same sex relationships.

      Reply
      • When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
        When he heard this, ** he became very sad ** because he was very wealthy. Luke 18: 22-23

        It would be a mistake to confuse modern ideas about self-esteem (even if they have value in their limited therapeutic sense) with the good fruit Jesus was referring to in Matthew 7.

      • Is life all about glorifying God or our personal happiness? I think that your reasoning, Liz, leans towards the latter. That is the missing piece of this discussion that only believers can truly understand. If my purpose on Earth is solely to glorify God then my personal happiness is not something that should be constantly taken into account. God promises joy when we follow Him, because we know that this life will never fully satisfy us- single, married or whatever. We were made for a greater joy than what this Earth can offer. Temporal happiness from an earthly relationship will never compare to the greater joy of eternal life with God.

      • In parts of the world, being a Christian means risking a violent death or being sold as a slave. In order to have a more fulfilling and happy life, should they reject Jesus? He didn’t come to ensure a happy life on earth- He came to ensure a joyous eternity by dying for our sins. Better to have depression from being a celibate gay person than to be temporarily happy but doomed to hell. You place your human reason above God’s Word. God condemns homosexuality. Therefore, it’s a sin, regardless of our feelings about it. As Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call good evil and evil good…Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes”.

    • I think it’s a mistake to be a slave to literal Biblical interpretation. It leads to hate, rejection, shunning and judging, not radical love — which was the message of Jesus Christ.

      In almost all cases, when the Bible has laid out “rules” for living, **at the time of the writing** they were a step UP in compassion and freedom. But when we look backwards and apply them literally to OUR time and place, they are a step BACKWARDS in love and compassion.

      When the Bible was written, slavery was okay, child abuse and even children or wives being put to death was allowed, women were treated as dirty and as property, shunning was expected, “culling the herd” was the way towards purity, etc. Do we return to that? Why enshrine judging and rejection of gays as the one thing that can’t be brought to a new understanding?

      I believe the whole point of Jesus coming to Earth as God’s son, living to show us the way, dying and resurrecting was to establish our role as God’s children, loved beyond measure, and to discover truth and connection with God within our hearts. Not just to establish a new “religion” with it’s own unique take on rules and who’s in and who’s out.

      I believe sex should be with love & commitment — with lifetime marriage as being a high IDEAL — but not where anything that is not THAT IDEAL is considered “sin” and reason for rejection and ejection from the circle of believers. Jesus said that marriage wouldn’t exist in Heaven. It’s a human, earthly institution, not the stick to bludgeon others with. Marriage is here to serve Humans. Humans were not created to serve Marriage. The HUMAN is God’s child and is precious, much more so than ideals.

      Reply
  9. Wow, thanks loads for these observations and comments.

    I especially resonate in my personal life with this comment: “…. —it’s hard to believe our bodies might be an occasion for joy. It’s hard to believe we’re actually wanted in our churches. It’s hard to believe the God who loves us actually likes us.”

    In the last two or three months, I’be been wondering if God’s love is essentially ‘against’ …. that is, destructive of ….. my being human, my being embodied. If God’s love is indeed a devouring fire, then surely over the past six decades, I have more or less been properly burned to a crisp. I live alone to prevent soot from God oven-baking me over all those years, so that burned body-mind-spirit-feelings might accidentally flake off and dust over others …. probably when we least expect it? The entire Christian narrative now seems loaded with a special animosity and a cutting edge fear …. drowning me, drowning my body …. often dressed up as talk about ‘love.’ All those we so superficially say how they seek my well-being, my thriving as a human in community, are most often really saying how utterly awful I am until and if, I ever manage to meet their high ideals for sexless singles and more than angelic married couples.

    Since I was born to a single teen mom, right after WW II, then adopted, I realize I am not much more than a mistake to these Christians, somebody who was born in circumstances they say they rightly abhor in God’s name and for the purposes of God’s ‘loving’ kingdom. The mistake of my birth has only been deepened and compounded by the years of adult struggle to find right ways of living even though I am a gay man. It’s mind-boggling, to say the least!

    Thanks for your careful and constant attention to the gaybies, to all those young folks who hopefully have not yet been burned to ashes by what is called, Good News. Yeah, right, Good News? O goodness, the red hot fire poker deity. Lord have mercy. Alas.

    Reply
  10. Pingback: Julie Rodgers former Wheaton Employee Blogs About SSM | Leadingchurch.com

  11. Thank you for expressing your opinion. Question, you express your concern for telling LGBT individuals that they need to be celibate for life. Do you have a problem telling single heterosexual individuals to be celibate for life or until they are married? If no, why the double standard?

    Reply
    • The difference is that celibacy and chastity are two different things. Celibacy comes with a promise not to marry. Chastity cones with the promise to wait until you marry but with the idea that you will fall in love and marry.

      Reply
  12. No one is “Gay”. One simply practices homosexuality or one does not. How a person “Feels” on the subject is immaterial to the discussion, and what a person “thinks” about it is also irrelevant. Because we live in season where these two experiences are THE defining standard for Truth, the Scriptures have also become a simple convenience for advancing arguments and promoting agendas rather than the Rule of Life and Conduct. The Apostle Paul has declared on the subject; 1Cor.5: 6-13

    For a secular opinion from Harvard:”Until recently, no society had seen marriage as anything other than a conjugal partner­ship: a male-female union. What Is Marriage? identifies and defends the reasons for this historic consensus and shows why redefining civil marriage is unnecessary, unreasonable, and contrary to the common good.”

    Originally published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, this book’s core argument quickly became the year’s most widely read essay on the most prominent scholarly network in the social sciences. Since then, it has been cited and debated by scholars and activists throughout the world as the most formidable defense of the tradition ever written. Now revamped, expanded, and vastly enhanced, What Is Marriage? stands poised to meet its moment as few books of this generation have. –http://www.amazon.com/What-Is-Marriage-Woman-Defense/dp/1594036225

    Reply
    • Marriage has been forever evolving. What you consider to be traditional marriage hasn’t been around for long and certainly was not what people who wrote the bible practiced.

      Reply
    • Craig Smith: This is nothing but arrogance. I can assure you that people are gay. The definition of marriage during any period in history has absolutely nothing to do with the existence of gayness or homosexuality in the world. It exists across nature and species, across history, across cultures, across faith traditions. It arguably exists in the Bible, sometimes in relatively good or benign light. It exists in some faith or spiritual traditions as a form of spiritual elevation. That being said, what you have said here is really the heart of the Christian gay debate (for Christians, that is): Do gay people really exist (spiritually pure) or is gay merely a behavior and transformation/redemption the only answer to the so-called “gay problem.” Well, Julie clearly has an answer (or partial) answer to the question after her years in ex-gay therapy. But the larger point and problem for anti-gay Christians is, unfortunately, the overwhelming evidence that sexual orientation is not a behavior, nor is it defined by sexual history, practices, or sexual behavior itself. It’s simply not. You have to maintain that argument in order to lobby your otherwise homophobic viewpoint.

      Reply
    • First Kings 11:1-3 famously gives us one view of a “conjugal partnership.” And that by an expressed Man of God. Of course, such a view requires incorporation of the idea of property rights in women (note the use of the plural) as part of its sub-structure. This is the uncomfortable “truth” about “traditional marriage:” it was foremost an expression of possession in the person of another; one which both Law and Theology would step in to protect and guard.

      To turn to the English common law, again, “traditional” marriage was more about births, deaths and the transmission of property relations than any quasi-Romantic ideal of spiritual union, the latter of which is itself is a historical product of the middle and late-modern ages. The law rolls of 13th century England show a blissful indifference to sex and child birth outside of marriage, for the simple reason that such activity did not impact property relations in any meaningful sense of that word. Put differently: Marriage was as much about raw pragmatics as theology, and (fortunately) we have been able to both preserve it and redefine it in a way where coverture became more a cultural “choice” regarding a surname than a legal construct in its own right.

      Reply
  13. I have followed you for several years and have always appreciated you transparency and honesty. I am saddened by the outcome of your employment. Please know that if you should land in Phoenix my wife and I would welcome you with open arms. Please take care and know you are loved.

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  14. Julie I love your heart! I always have loved your heart. Something in your words always touch me deeply and feel very authentic, honest and prayerful.

    I am a married, Christian lesbian and sadly there are only TWO Christian churches in the capital city in which I live that will welcome us to worship. In our particular situation our marriage has strengthened our relationship with Christ. At least with each other we are no longer alone or complete outsiders.

    I can only imagine the backlash you are probably receiving and I want to tell you the same thing I would have told you before your wrote this specific blog. While I do not personally know you, we do have mutual friends. In that light I can say without reservation your life is a testament to a heart that longs for and follows God. In that longing and following you have never been the one to do the convenient thing for convenience sake. You often take the road less travelled and as best as I can tell you ALWAYS take the higher road. So please do not take the negativity to heart too much. You have a wise heart and an ear that is in tune with God. You know his voice and he knows your name. Take comfort in truth as it is being revealed to you. God WILL NOT lead you down the wrong path and should you tend to veer to the left or the right, he will lovingly nudge you back on track.

    Contrary to what some will say, you are still very much a child who is loved and adored by Almighty God. Fully. Completely. Totally. Adopted by Almighty God.

    Thank you again for WHO you are …

    Reply
  15. Ephesians 2:1-3 makes clear that the way we are all born is in bondage to sin and death. This article denies the Gospel wholesale as it denies the ravages of the Fall on ALL humanity. What distinguishes a Christian from all other men is not that they are born into bondage in the Fall but that they are rescued from its ravaging effects by the Son of Man. To embrace how we are born in Adam is to deny what Christ came to do – to be the second Adam. Sin and misery is not the pattern that Christ has for us but has set us free to be His workmanship. This post reflects a theology of this present age. Only the light of Revelation from the Spirit will demonstrate that what is being proclaimed here is not love but an embrace of the bondage to sin and death that characterizes this Cursed world. It is not a proclamation of the Gospel but a proclamation to remain in sin and misery.

    Reply
    • Rich: Really? Are we reading the same blogs? All Julie talks about is love, and friendship, and spreading love, charity, and hope. You have your definitions of what things are and then everything is interpreted from that lens. Homosexuality = sin and bondage, therefore, everything Julie says is a proclamation to remain in sin and misery. What an anti-social theological position. There is no way to witness God (or even recognize a God) in others with this kind of viewpoint. Which to me is really the definition of bondage.

      Reply
      • Tara,

        Please exegete Ephesians 1:15-2:10 to demonstrate that what I wrote was mere opinion. Bondage to sin and death is not something that homosexuals alone find themselves but ALL who are born in Adam. Yes, I too once walked according to the pattern of this world and have in-born lusts that I did not choose but are part of the sin cursednesx of this fallen present age. The article denies Original Sin (which is what I just described) and any talk of love must be in reference to Scriptural definitions. God was rich in mercy not by leaving us to in-born slavery but by sending His Son and making alive those who trust in him. Insofar as any deny the effects of the Curse as owing to disordered sexuality and idolatry they have denied the Gospel. Yes, they have denied love itself for love is found in the gospel in which God loves us so much that we are no longer conformed to this world.

      • oops, Rich I think you meant to say the gospel is ` For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved. No one who believes in him will be judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already, because that person does not believe in the Name of God’s only Son.` John 3:16-18 NJB

  16. I understand being frustrated sexually, Even straights have to struggle with celibacy and avoiding porn, pre-marital sex, etc. Straights who are married but have absolutely no attraction to their spouse also basically have to be celibate for their whole entire lives in the sense they cannot satisfy their sexual cravings, or even just lust, since their spouse is the only source and they don’t desire them (which can be very frustrating but they too must not look to another). I am honestly at that point as a spouse, and must deprive myself to honor God and I have finally learned to accept that. Regardless of what “should have been” or what i “could have had” i realized I can’t have ‘it AND Jesus’. I can have porn, affairs, women, even ‘christian’ women, But I cannot have them and Jesus.I must choose. Out of this situation I have learned Jesus must be loved above all,even above my desires and will or a mate, so by choosing Him i forsake what I want and daily die to self want and my flesh. As a result of true surrender, though i still battle strong temptation, I have joy I’ve never had before and peace. My willingness to lay down my wants and deprive myself has actually been very fulfilling. I now see the love of Christ in my life and the fruit of the spirit at work like never before and now I genuinely care about people rather than mope around in self pity and I have joy unspeakable.

    You said in your own words, “Relationships are where we realize how selfish we are and begin to delight in setting our wills aside to nourish another.” Realize that you must lay down your will, including sexual desires (that go against Romans 1 in God’s word) down, to honor your relationship with Christ. We can’t have our sin and Jesus too. Grace is not freedom to sin or an ‘ok’, it is, for the first time as a new creation, a freedom not to sin.Liberated from the slavery of sin and no longer having to do it’s bidding as our former master. It is the power not to sin and ability to quickly repent and be forgiven when we stumble. If you feel homosexuality is unbeatable or part of who you are then beg God for a new heart and ask Him to transform you and save you. If you feel you were ‘born this way’ the message of the bible is still ‘you must be born again’. Once you are born again, you are a new creation with new desires to honor God. You may still get tempted with evil desire since you still have your fleshly wants, but now you have the Holy Spirit and the word to help you overcome. It isn’t easy but we must deny ourselves daily.A daily battle we must rely on Christ to win. I say this with great sexual frustration and I battle envy and lust for ‘very attractive Christian couples’ and have wondered why i cant have that, but daily I must give this to God and lay it down and not entertain it. I also must identify what tempts me/sources to entertain it and steer clear of it.

    You said, “the way we give our love away—is seen as sinful.” That is because….to be honest…it is. Romans 1:26-32 Read it. It calls it unnatural. You cant commit homosexuality just as i cant commit adultery or watch porn or lust. Why? Because God says so. That simple. Sin is very simply defined as disobeying God. So the reason it is wrong for me to lust is God says “no,” it is the same reason you cant have a homosexual relationship or marry the same sex is God say’s “no.” When we redefine sin, of course we can taylor the list to excuse us. But God define’s what sin is. It is dangerous for us to tell God He must be mistaken. He is not a cosmic killjoy who hates fun. I can tell you from person experience that when you lay down your pleasures (even though you feel, and I even felt, that they were legitimate and somewhow justifiable)., God fills you with a wonderful joy that is even better than the pleasure you demand. God loves you, He loves and died for the homosexual just as much as He did for the fornicator or drug addict, etc. I know churches like westboro portray hatred in an unbiblical way. The bible makes it clear God hates the sin, not the sinner, the sinner He loves very much. But we must repent. Some will argue ‘i was born this way’ so as to equate hating the sin as hating the sinner since they were made that way, to that though, the word still stands: “you must be born again.” We are all born sinners. Come helplessly to the cross, admit wickedness of heart and ask God to save and transform you through His power. You can’t take a hold of the Saviors hand, til you let go of whatever you are holding onto. The cross calls for surrender.What you won’t let go of won’t let go of you. So hang on to Jesus, not to sin. I want Jesus to hold me, not sin and all the destruction you see that comes with it. Murder, hell, and the grave come from sin. So forsake your old master and bow the knee to our loving Savior and Lord. God bless you. May you find freedom in Christ.

    Reply
    • Evan: the sin here is homophobia— so, as you said, God will love you as the sinner, even if he doesn’t love your Sin. Additionally, my hope for you and your wife is to get some marital counseling! A sexless marriage doesn’t have to be the way! Despite what you are doing to tell yourself otherwise, that issue obviously weighs upon you greatly— through your writing you sound as though you are overcompensating for your troubles at home. Best wishes to you and your wife. xoxoxoxox

      Reply
  17. Thank you for your openness and compassion, for giving us all a glimpse of your journey and your evolving ideas. As a Wheaton student, I have always seen you demonstrate love, compassion and a heart for God. Thank you for sharing your heart at Wheaton and for being such a light to the LGBTQ and heterosexual kids there. I know many of them could not have imagined their time there without you, thank you for the lives you touched. You will be missed! I hope you get to go on to a place where you are loved unconditionally and appreciated. Wheaton has lost a true lover of people and God, but their loss will be somewhere else’s gain.

    Reply
  18. Wow, Julie Rodgers I applaud you for being willing to sacrifice your career at Wheaton College to speak the truth. I have a pretty good idea of how hard this was for you. You are a smart and talented person. You will find your life taking you to some amazing places. If you are down about the loss of the Wheaton job right now, I encourage you not to give up hope. When you speak your truth, no matter the losses, in time “It gets better.” Been there, done that. And if you can’t find a place to go, I have a room for you in my house in California. Seriously. God bless you for your courage.

    Reply
  19. Julie, you and I haven’t always agreed but we have always been kind and generous with one another while living passionately into what we believe is the way of Jesus. I know you well enough to know you didn’t make this leap without a lot of careful thought. I also know (from experience) that there will be loss for you now and I am so sorry about that. I hope you will be encouraged by those of us further down the road that you will gain more than you lose. The loss will be painful but what you gain will make it worth it. Much love and light to you, Julie. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Let’s have lunch again if you head back to Big D. ❤

    Reply
  20. Julie, thank you for saying this! It is one of the most encouraging things I’ve read in…. I don’t even know. Not because you’re “coming out” as supportive of gay relationships, but because you eloquently and gently expose the subtle dangers of ex-gay ministry and attitudes in evangelical circles. (I have had my fair share of those circles and am now happily dating my future wife:-) That is a tough task, but this was beautiful. seriously, thank you for writing this. Here’s to hoping and praying for a unified church that loves Jesus and welcomes all people.

    Peace,
    Kristen

    Reply
  21. How did Christians come to believe we could be certain about what God thought and how God would judge people? We have made God far too small. We think far too much of ourselves if we believe we can know God’s mind. We cling to certainty about contested moral beliefs as a security blanket. I believe it is a sin to refuse to examine beliefs that cause harm to others — it was a sin to use the Bible support slavery.

    I have a long Wheaton pedigree. When I attended in the mid-1970’s I was deeply impressed with the intelligence and honesty of intellectual discourse. I found the professors and students thoughtful and willing to challenge each other all while holding to traditional views. I have lost that confidence in Wheaton. I know a couple of professors (one recently retired) who engaged in a broad, deep study of what the Bible really says about homosexuality. All of them who did, and in fact all Christians I have talked to who have delved deeply into the context within the Bible as well as the historical context in which it was written have changed their minds about homosexuality. Julie seems to be one of these people. They have come to the conclusion, as I have, that the way we understand homosexuality today, it simply is not a sin. We have come to that conclusion about other Biblical passages. We no longer see it as a sin to eat a cheeseburger. That seems ridiculous to us.

    It is also not true that heterosexual marriage has been the norm for millennia. There is historical evidence that the first Christian liturgy for marriage was for two men (Boswell. 1995). This and other historical evidence are not convenient and are easy to ignore. I have written to various Wheaton departments over many years asking them for an honest study: Biblical, psychological, historical, sociological, and biological. We assume the beliefs passed down to us for hundreds of years are true because we heard them from the pulpit. We accept uncritically what we learned in Sunday school. This is consensual validation – which is not adequate justification to harm others. We assume if we read it in our favorite Bible translation it must be so.

    I have never met anyone who took the Bible literally. No one lives that way. If anyone did they would be put in prison. It is against the law to stone anyone to death. Anyone who says they literally believe the Bible is not being intellectually honest. They take literally what they want to take literally. Jesus said love trumps. I’m not talking about sexual love. If everyone truly loved themselves and acted in loving ways to their neighbors (everyone is our neighbor, incidentally), we would not have to have any laws. There would be no crime and no war. Homosexual relationships do not violate Jesus’ law. If Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, we need to pay attention to what He said and what He demands of us as followers of Christ. It is a great deal more difficult to live as He calls us to live than it is to adhere to the simple do’s and don’ts we were taught as a children.

    I married a Wheaton grad. I came out gay after 35 years of repression and decades of deep, suicidal depression. I am grateful that I had a church that could support me as I divorced, welcome me with open arms, encouraging my Christian discipleship and leadership in the church. I found myself happy for the first time in my life, able to have love, joy, peace, patience, and long-suffering through the difficulties of life including the death of my wife – surely these are fruits of the spirit by which Jesus said we would know Christians.

    Reply
    • “I married a Wheaton grad. I came out gay after 35 years of repression and decades of deep, suicidal depression. I am grateful that I had a church that could support me as I divorced, welcome me with open arms, encouraging my Christian discipleship and leadership in the church. I found myself happy for the first time in my life, able to have love, joy, peace, patience, and long-suffering through the difficulties of life including the death of my wife – surely these are fruits of the spirit by which Jesus said we would know Christians.”

      Nope! Matt. 7:13-23, John 14:15, etc. ” I found myself happy for the first time in my life” – and there is your god. Too bad you are not acquainted with the Man of Sorrows and chose “happiness” over “holiness” and “comfort” over “character” and deception over dedication, temporal over eternal. You could have denied yourself as Jesus said one must to follow him, and shared in His sufferings as He said those that are His will. But instead you’ve chosen temporary pleasures. Enjoy them while you can. One day however you will see just how small they really were when compared to what you have thrown away and denied.

      Reply
  22. I’ve studied and read the bible for over 30 years and I haven’t found anything that says if you put the word Christian in front of gangster, mafia, child molester, thief, murderer, witch, etc that it makes it all right with God. All I know is to hate sin and love the sinner, not Christian sinner. Being a Christian is being like Jesus, who then was imitated by Paul who was Saul a murderer among other sins that God said would keep people out of heaven. When one becomes a Christian it’s a 180 degree turn around and walking away from the old life, leaving behind those things that have kept them in bondage. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.

    Reply
  23. The answer to Julie’s dilemma can be easily seen in her own comments:

    She starts out saying, “There were several motivating factors for me entering into the public conversation back in the day: one was that I wanted to be accepted by my community—I wanted to be the good kind of gay. The other reason was that I wanted to do right by the gay youth silently suffering in the pews. I wanted them to know Jesus loved them and they didn’t have to go it alone.” Note the priority. Don’t miss the heart motivation! Was it to obey Jesus? To please God? To put God first? NO! It was the one thing that God warns us about – PRIDE! The desire to be a People-Pleaser in order to be “accepted” by others!! Never mind being accepted and approved of my God, I wanna be accepted and approved of by People! Is that not exactly what we see at the heart of the Militant Homosexual Movement? As for her wanting to do right by gay youth and getting them to know that Jesus loved them, it wasn’t the real Jesus she wanted them to know but one of her own creation. It’s not the Jesus of the Bible but one of her own imagination.

    Julie goes on to state, ” it seems like a good time to share some of the ways my thinking on how to best love and support sexual minorities has evolved through the years. I’ve been troubled by the way human stories are often used to further one agenda or another in the culture war,” and yet she goes on to tell her own human story and NOT ONCE does she refer to Scripture.

    And then she says, “Though I’ve been slow to admit it to myself, I’ve quietly supported same-sex relationships for a while now….” God hates the double-minded. (Ps. 119:113) Publicly saying and showing oneself to be something while secretly clinging to and supporting sin. And you don’t see a problem with this? Not only that but going on to celebrate someone’s sin? Hello!!!

    I could go on but I think I’ll live it there as Robert Gagnon, and others on here, have already done a good job at addressing Julie’s errors.

    Reply
  24. Julie, Thank you for your post, your strength, and the inspiration you are to Christians (young, old, gay, straight, etc.) We need your voice. Wheaton needs your voice. They are losing more than they know in losing you.

    Reply
  25. Pingback: Wheaton Staffer Announces Support for Gay Relationships

  26. My question would be: Why do you feel that you cannot marry an opposite sex mate? If Jesus has redeemed you he made you a new creature and old things have passed away; yet from what I read, you still seem to be hanging on to the old way and do not want to be a new creature in Christ.

    Christ’s redemption are not going to break God’s rules thus you cannot return to a homosexual lifestyle. I believe it was Peter that mentions this fact

    Reply
    • This is a gross oversimplification. Let’s assume for now that you are right and everything about being gay is wrong. How does this new creation thing work? Why are there Christian diabetics and Christians who die of cancer, if Jesus apparently is an on demand fix for everything?

      Reply
  27. There is a simple, one sentence demolition of this argument; apply the same logic to the paedophile. This is NOT to confuse paedophilia and homosexuality; that many have done so over the years is a big disgrace. But given that we demand paedophiles remain celibate, it is clear that in some circumstances it IS appropriate to require celibacy from a Christian perspective. The only question after that is whether it applies to gays as well…

    Reply
    • The fact you can even go there says something about you. Pedophilia involved non-consent while loving same sex relationships involves loving and consent.

      Reply
    • I’m glad you recognize allusion to pedophilia when discussing homosexuality is inappropriate and offensive…if only you’d had the good sense to shut your trap there instead of continuing in that same foolish action. In addition to the arguments about consent that others have commented on, there is a more crucial mistake you make here because it’s an apples and oranges comparison: the vast majority of pedophiles are NOT exclusively attracted to children, thus we do not ask celibacy of them. We ask for restraint in the part of their attraction directed towards those who can’t give consent. the ONLY class of people we ask/expect lifelong celibacy of is gay people. And it’s a damnable thing.

      Reply
      • Actually DJ, whereas you may find Bruce’s allusion offensive it is nonetheless valid and his logic is sound. Sometimes the most offensive thing is the truth because it hurts. God says the Gospel is an offense to the Unbeliever and yet it is the most loving thing one can give another.

        It is a bit ironic, and even somewhat comical, though to read you say “We ask for restraint in the part of their attraction…” At least we all know now where you draw the line. It’s “consent” that matters! Too bad you’re not in tune with the concept of Total Depravity and that God is God and He is the One who gets to decide what’s right and wrong.

  28. An excellent piece and as a transwoman who identifies as a lesbian I can relate to so much of what you say. Sadly since coming out as trans I’ve been forced to leave the church I was part of as they basically told me that transitioning was a selfish sinful act and that they would support me only to live a life of self-sacrifice which to me felt like they simply didn’t udnerstand what it means to be trans. I’ve lost pretty much all my former Christian “friends” since coming out and I’ve sadly drifted to the point where I still believe in Jesus but can’t ever see msyelf being part of a Christian community again – all the more sad when you consider that I used to be invovled in Christian leadership and actually led a church-plant a few years ago here in the UK. I find your honesty humbling and refreshing and I wish you every blessing in your ongoing journey.

    Reply
  29. I have always wondered about the entire celibate life thing. I have lived that type of life since I became a “Christian” and I took so much grief from faith communities I was involved in I just plain do not care anymore about such issues. It is a no win situation if you do live the “faithful” life you are castigated as weak, lazy, nonloving, selfish etc for not being married. If you have a partner outside of wedlock you are a well you know what is said about folks. Most of it is mind games. Good for you Julie for stepping outside the tent into the light. Oh and nevermind the grief you might get from the sidelines and those that say you are not a “Christian”. You went with your experience as a human being and seek to understand the bible in said experience.

    Funny thing is those that criticize do the exact same thing only clothe it in biblical text and rhetoric.

    Reply
  30. It is sad to see Christians buckle in and accept sin. Homosexuality is sin, the bible is very clear on that. There is forgiveness in Christ only if it is repented of and turned from, just like any other sin. Saying it is okay to continue in sin is very displeasing to God. The most loving thing you can do for a gay person is to warn them of there way.

    Reply
    • Jordan, the most loving thing you can do for a gay person is befriend them. It was a Christian who befriended me that brought me back to Christ. He accepted me as I was, he was friendly and warm, joked with me and treated me like a valued person. It was the first time a Christian who knew I was gay demonstrated that he cared about me anyway. That was how I experienced the love of Christ through a professing Christian.

      Reply
      • No Kathy, that is NOT the “most loving thing you can do” for a Homosexual. See Prov. 14:12. The most loving thing one can do is exactly what God says to do. Why? Because God knows best and God is Love and God knows how true love works and is supposed to work.

        I’m sorry you think it was a Christian who brought you back to Christ. Not sure what “back to Christ” means but if he were a Christian, he would be the first to tell you that it had nothing to do with him and that the power of bringing someone to Christ is in the Holy Spirit.

        When you say he “accepted me as I was”, how do you mean? Did he not tell you that you must confess (agree with God) and repent (turn from your sin)? If not, that is not love. Are you a practicing homosexual now? You say he befriended you, how does that fit with John 15:14, James 4:4, Eph. 5:11 and other passages that tell the Believer to not be joined to darkness?

        Your post seems to indicate that you have bought into the whole Seeker-Sensitive Gospel which is false. Can you name one person that Jesus befriended who refused to leave their sin and maintained an unrepentant lifestyle? In fact, can you name one person that Jesus did not meet and address their sin with?

  31. Pingback: Chaplaincy Staffer Quits Wheaton College After Announcing Support of Homosexual Relationships | BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

  32. Pingback: Chaplaincy Staffer Quits Wheaton College After Announcing Support of Homosexual Relationships | BCNN1 WP

  33. Ms. Rodgers, I notice that you included precisely zero references from Scripture in your post. You wrote …

    When young people have angsted at me about the gay debate, I’ve just told them to follow Jesus—to seek to honor Him with their sexuality and love others well. … My main hope for all of them is that they would grow to love Jesus more

    If I recall correctly, Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commands.” Since you want to love & follow Jesus, you should want to keep His commands, yes? Since Jesus is God the Son, and since Scripture is the Word of God, it would seem logical to look in the Bible to see if there are any commands concerning marriage and concerning homosexual conduct.

    What does the Bible teach about these things, Ms. Rodgers?

    Reply
  34. Pingback: Christian counsellor resigns from Wheaton College over support for same-sex relationships | Genesis CNC

  35. Ms Rodgers- smiling- “No matter how graciously it’s framed, that message tends to contribute to feelings of shame and alienation for gay Christians”. I feel you “GET IT” now! thank you for writing this!

    Reply
  36. My apologies to both Julie and the others who, like me, are guests visiting her page – for being so talkative, but one **KEY** thing escaped me last few posts: Jesus’ #1 and/or #2 Commandments!

    While Jesus does want us to follow the Bible’s clear standards on behaviour (sexual and otherwise), and while I am a very far-right Conservative Christian, who believes these standards, I really do *LOVE* and *CARE* about my gay friends and neighbours, and do NOT wish to insult or offend anyone — and, if I’m going to *VOCALLY* advocate for 1-man, 1-woman marriage, and ask others to listen to me, then I *owe* it to others to show my intentions are pure. (They won’t care what I know -until they know that I care!!) – To wit:

    My email to Fla. Gov. Rick Scott, asking him to sign into law CS/HB-7013, which formally repealed the ban on gay adoptions: yes, this made some of my righting peers uncomfortable, but I was and am right!) –

    http://GordonWatts.com/redux-on-CS-HB-7013.html

    http://GordonWayneWatts.com/redux-on-CS-HB-7013.html

    Also, on pages 11 to 14, the 2nd argument in my recent Amicus brief before the high court, asking them to see to it that gays are not mistreated in things like adoptions, hospital visitation, survivor-ship policies, etc.: “II. Prejudice Against Homosexuals is Wrong……11-14”

    http://GordonWatts.com/GayMarriageSuit/14-571_bsac_GordonWayneWatts.pdf

    http://GordonWayneWatts.com/GayMarriageSuit/14-571_bsac_GordonWayneWatts.pdf

    I’m not merely posting “hidden links” to trick you: These links, above, are front-page news on my namesake blogs. Observe:

    http://GordonWatts.com (GoDaddy’s mirror)

    http://GordonWayneWatts.com (HostGator’s mirror)

    …proving that I am truly and genuinely trying to be vocal in defending gays against mistreatment. (Yes, I have at least 2 mirrors, hosted by 2 totally different companies, just in case 1 gets a flat tire on the Internet Highway, I “have a spare.”)

    Yes, I’m more spooky-far-right Conservative than Rush Limbaugh; and moreover, I’m not perfect :p LOL, but I’m not a hater. (And neither should you be either.) 🙂

    Gordon Wayne Watts
    LAKELAN, Fla., USA (between Orlando & Tampa)

    Reply
  37. Thanks so much for sharing, Ms. Rodgers! Some of your language encapsulated so accurately and so poignantly what it feels like to be gay and interact with certain Christian friends and family members. “[W]e’re constantly wondering if we should tell the truth when asked that question, or sleep on the floor when there’s room in the bed, or cut that hug short, or voice that question, or publish that post, or write that tweet, or curb that mannerism, or run from that friendship, or shut down those feelings or leave the church altogether. Those fears subside around friends who simply delight in who we are as whole human beings made in the image of God.”

    Reply
  38. Pingback: Better to be an alive atheist than a dead Christian (Joey’s story) | Ben Irwin

  39. Sweet Julie, I commend your open heart to understanding God loves everyone and everyone deserves to be loved. I hope not to discourage you but to encourage you to consider side A. Here is why: I am a 56 year old woman who God has never brought a husband to. For over 30 years I have committed to my faith and to the church -serving the church in different capacities-teaching Sunday school, greeting, information booths, passing out bulletins, serving communion, etc. etc. I have never been invited to be or made a part of anyone’s family. Even among the most loving and generous, the line in the sand is ALWAYS drawn in blood and marriage. I have come to realize the evangelical church idolizes the traditional family. This leaves those of us who do not have a traditional family on the outside always looking in. Oh sure churches put on holiday dinners for those without families however those do little to take the place of the love intimacy and safety that families provide. I would not wish my journey of living this life alone on anyone. This has nothing to do with celibacy and everything to do with living life with a best friend. I wish you the best on your journey.

    Reply
  40. Well-intentioned, but flawed logic. Encouraging gay Christians to fulfill their sexual desires is like telling an alcoholic Christian to go get wasted or the kleptomaniac Christian to go steal some stuff. Sin is sin and it can’t glorify God. I’m not anti-gay agenda, but to live the homosexual lifestyle AND live a life for Christ is an oxymoron.

    Reply
  41. Pingback: Link Wednesday 6- Mucho Feminism

  42. Pingback: Gay Chaplaincy Staffer at Wheaton College Resigns Over Celibacy Issue - Atheist Boutique

  43. Pingback: Celibate Gay Wheaton Counselor Resigns After Beliefs Change About Same-Sex Relationships - Urban Christian News

  44. Julie, earlier you wrote: I don’t mean to accuse—only to say the lack of charity shown in these conversations makes it hard for people to wrestle openly.

    I have a few things to say in response
    1. At this point I really don’t think this issue should be wrestled with openly if by openly that means publicly. With a few trusted friends and leaders then, yes, by all means as openly and contentiously as need be. And I would be saddened and frustrated to hear of any SSA Christian not being able to find a community to do this. But publicly is too dangerous because there is so much evidence in the Bible and millennia of church history saying that homosexuality is wrong. And therefore, in my mind for example, there is too much risk of leading people astray towards, among other things, Romans 1:32. So i, and maybe people like me, feel compelled to respond strongly.

    2. I think the idea of “responding with charity” is tricky. I don’t want to nit pick your words but i see this issue as like people being stuck in a burning building and don’t know it’s burning. That situation doesn’t call for charity as much as for urgency and forcefulness because lives souls are at stake. I would be bummed to hear about any mean spiritedness you’ve encountered from the body but I hope you can understand that in many Christians minds, the stakes are really high.

    3. Finally, I’ve found it very rare, and with this post included, that someone is
    “honestly wrestling”…it really reads to me a lot more like moving in a direction, asking challenging/accusative questions aimed more to persuade or shut down opponents as “harsh” than having open dialogue. Given what I’ve read and heard from you, i highly doubt that is your intention but the impact of words like yours seems to be more to move people towards your point of view than open discussion. So, given that many of these “discussions” are more about making points, i know I feel compelled personally to respond strongly. I imagine others do as well.

    Reply

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