I am hearing truly wonderful news of love and warmth and transformative experiences coming from the Gay Christian Network conference this past week. Let me say, before I get a bit rant-tacular, that I am immensely grateful for the many hearts, minds and bodies that were embraced, maybe some for the first time ever, at the GCN event.
Folks have asked why I was not there. To be get right to the point, it’s the whole GCN “Great Debate” and the Side B shenanigans. I just can’t get past it. Maybe I need to take a few more walks on the beach, drink some decaf and pray a little more.
Or maybe not.
I wholly, resoundingly and without an ounce of doubt, reject the view that holds that the Bible condemns gay sex, and that gay Christians should commit themselves to lifelong celibacy.
Yes, there are some people who are called to a life of celibacy for all sorts of reasons and I am not saying that celibacy is wrong for all people. I am clear though that prescribed celibacy for otherwise sexual people is predicated on the erroneous theological bifurcation of the body (bad) and soul (good). It is based on the fallacy that the bible is a literal/factual, inerrant, God breathed book from which we can understand every law of the universe and for our lives.
As long as this framework is part of the GCN then the GCN is not for me because it suggests that the “truly faithful” would remain celibate while those of us who are living fully into the bodies we were created to live in are less faithful, sinful and bound for hell. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not really all excited about spending days and evenings, praying, eating, laughing and crying with people who in all truthfulness regard me as less of a Christian than those who remain celibate. Sorry, been there, done that, got the t-shirt and scars to prove it.
Sure, I hear ya, we need to stand in the gap with folks who are still struggling with this idea. I am grateful for those of you who have loving and generous hearts for this work, but about my humanity, sacred worth and very life, I no longer have to make room for people to have an opinion or disagree. We can disagree about all sorts of ideas, issues and a myriad of concepts, but not about my life.
That is not my calling.
My calling is to stand firm and state over and over again that claiming celibacy as the higher choice for LGBT people is very dangerous since it is often wielded as prescriptive for all LGBT people. “If Josh and Jane can do it, so can you, you just need to have more faith and submit to God’s will.”
Nope. Nope. Nope.
My calling to to be a voice that says what gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians daily tell me they are afraid to say.
I love and try my dead-level best to follow Jesus. I am queer. I am in a loving, committed partnership that includes natural, physical expressions of that love and commitment.
Side B diminishes my love for my partner as contrary to God’s will rather than the one of the greatest gifts God as given me. Side B diminishes my faith as weak or lacking since I will not conscript myself to celibacy. Side B diminishes my sacred worth, telling me God is angry or disappointed with me unless I remain celibate.
Most importantly – Side B diminishes God.
Side B says that God made me wrong, so I have to half the life others are able to live in order for God to love me. Side B shrinks God to a very small and angry God trapped in one Book and disproportionately fixated on sex rather than celebrating an immense God who permeates time, space and all traditions of the earth Who yearns for love, peace and justice for all of creation.
There is no Side B.
PS – Jan. 22-24 I WILL be representing The United Church of Christ and Extravagance UCC at The National LGBTQ Task Force’s pre-eminent political, leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBTQ social justice movement, Creating Change Conference.
PPS – I have WAY stronger feelings about Side B and though they got me into some hot water, I stand by them…