…Of course, respect does not mean agreement. Eve and I still disagree on several things.
Eve believes the church needs to do more to recognize non-romantic forms of love, and I agree with that. It’s important for all of us, and especially for those who are celibate—by choice or by circumstance. But I don’t think that’s a sufficient answer to the challenges gay Christians face. As I argued in my original article, I believe romantic love is also a critically important part of the puzzle, and I’m very concerned that it’s been neglected in many church discussions of LGBT people. All too often, the arguments focus only on sex, and that speaks to me of misplaced priorities. I’d far rather endure a life without sex than a life without romance, but I don’t think we should be asking people to choose between them anyway. The two should go together, finding their home in marriage.
In her response to my article, Eve challenged my emphasis on romance, saying that my “approach is still too much shaped by contemporary American culture.” I disagree. Though the language and specifics have changed over the centuries, romance is hardly a modern American invention. It is, rather, a deeply ingrained part of the human condition. We see it in Shakespeare. We see it in Greek mythology. And we see it in the Bible.
When Genesis 29:20 tells us that “Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her,” what is that other than a description of passionately romantic love (though filtered through an unfortunately paternalistic culture)? And what is Song of Songs if not an extended poem about romance and erotic love? There is certainly romantic love in the Bible, even if the word “romance” itself doesn’t appear.