Hello all. I’m doing a piece for America on what you might call “alternative kinship.” Nonmarital, nonsexual forms of belonging and making family, which take place in a Christian context. The ones I’m most interested in are those adorned with ritual and formal promises, like the vows of friendship Wes Hill describes in his excellent Spiritual Friendship, but I’d also be interested in other ways people build practical and spiritual ties outside of marriage and religious orders/priesthood.
If you have promised to share your life with someone as their friend, godmother, godbrother, community member, “sister in Christ,” celibate partner, or anything else, I’d love to hear from you. You don’t have to be Catholic although I am currently narrowing this huge subject down by only looking at promises and rituals within Christian faith. I’m looking for relationships which have both practical consequences and spiritual beauty; I’d like to explore not only what these vocations can offer our churches, but also what the challenges are of living out forms of love that often go unrecognized by society, the economy, and even the churches.
If you’re willing to be interviewed, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org . And if you know someone who might fit the bill, please share this with them! I’d like to get as many voices as possible.