“Celibacy, Self-Acceptance, And the Extra Inkling”: I’m at First Things

readin': I’ve just finished Charles Williams's 1937 novel Descent into Hell, which was recommended to me by a couple of Catholic friends. Williams might be called “the extra Inkling.” Everybody knows J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but far fewer people remember the other, less aggressively punctuated members of the club, including the philosopher Owen Barfield and Tolkien's son Christopher.Williams is the best-known of these auxiliary Inklings, and his writing is indeed what the youth of toda … [Read more...]

Unchosen Blessings: Gay Celibacy and Unplanned Pregnancy

Someone who knows I volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center sent me a recent article from Medicine Anthropology Theory, "Blessing unintended pregnancy: Religion and the discourse of women's agency in public health." It's a qualitative study of the reproductive histories and practical spirituality of women at a homeless shelter in the Southeast. The things the women say really sound like things our clients say; but what struck me most was how much of their experiences resonated with the religious … [Read more...]

What Might Apology and Amends to LGBT People Look Like? I’m at Vox

doin' my thing:On June 26, while flying back from a trip to Armenia, Pope Francis told a reporter that he agreed with Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany: The Catholic Church owes an apology to gay people. The Pope's comments were short but rambling — not as deft and pithy as his well-known statement from an earlier airplane interview, "If [gay people] accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?" — but even the best apology is only a beginning. Good apologies allow us to live to … [Read more...]

“If the Church Were a Haven”: Wesley Hill

at First Things: Or I think of a story I’ve heard Shane Claiborne recount, in which a frustrated young lesbian woman confided her discomfort with traditional Catholic sexual ethics to Mother Teresa. Afterwards, the young woman came to Claiborne beaming. What had Mother Teresa said to cause such joy? Claiborne wondered. It turned out, instead of rebuffing the woman’s questions or offering an easy solution to her uncertainty about whether or not to embrace celibacy, Mother Teresa had mostly lis … [Read more...]

“Grieving Together”: Interview with a Latino Pentecostal Minister in Orlando on Reaching Out to His LGBT Neighbors

Christianity Today: For a Latino, Pentecostal megachurch just 10 minutes south of the Orlando nightclub Pulse, the scriptural call to “mourn with those who mourn” has become their heartbreaking reality in the wake of Sunday’s deadly rampage. This week, Iglesia El Calvario prepares to host funerals for victims, offer grief counseling, and conduct ongoing outreach for their city and its LGBT community. The nearly 4,000-person Assemblies of God church prayed, gave blood, and passed out water on Su … [Read more...]

“Christian Love and Kinship Outside Marriage: Thoughts from a Gay Catholic”

My talk at Calvin College is available at Livestream and YouTube (below):I thought this one went well. Oh man though, I'm so glad I got new glasses about a week after this was filmed. Look at how far I have to push these down the bridge of my nose to read. … [Read more...]

Four Kinds of Argument on “True Fulfillment” for Gay Christians

Tim Otto (I reviewed his book here) asks a question about those of us who call for a revival of devoted, intimate same-sex love within the historic Christian sexual ethic: [I]f Wesley is encouraging people of the same sex to “go all the way” in spiritual, emotional, and intellectual ways, why not “go all the way” with the body as well?…I’m curious as to how Wesley would respond to concerns that by singling out physical intimacy as wrong, his proposal is dualist or even gnostic. (from here, … [Read more...]