Sexuality

Mixed Bag of Reactions

The PCA’s report on human sexuality sparked an interesting assortment of reactions when it came out last month. Revoice co-founder Stephen Moss called it a “solid resource for our denomination,” even as Denny Burk, who is publicly and passionately vocal about his opposition to Revoice, similarly praised the report as merely a re-articulation of the Nashville StatementSpiritual Friendship’s Ron Belgau tweeted a link by Kevin DeYoung that was clearly a jab at the report, writing, “This week on Moving the Goalposts.” But at the same time, Kyle Keating participated in drafting the report and is a contributor to Spiritual Friendship.

Pretty much every single “side b” friend of mine expressed a degree of muddled and disoriented feelings about it. Appreciation for some aspects, dismay over others, and general exhaustion at needing to break down the good, the bad, and the ugly—yet again—about another church statement on human sexuality.

I can’t possibly vocalize what everyone is thinking in the side b LGBTQ+ community. But I don’t want to be silent either. Christians of all stripes need perspective as they read this report. Hopefully more responses from thoughtful Christians follow.

Revoice is just a week away! One of my biggest hopes is that this conference will carve out a space for LGBTQ+ Christians to adhere to historic teachings apart from threats of hell. If we ever hope to make conservative churches a safe environment for LGBTQ+ people, this absolutely must become the norm. Also, if you plan to be at the conference, please don't hesitate to say hi! I can't wait to talk! One of the single most common reasons for gay celibacy amongst celibate gay Christians is fear of hell. Letting go of my white-knuckle grip of celibacy was the best thing I ever did. Now wait a minute. Letting go of celibacy? But isn’t celibacy the very thing that gay Christians must desperately maintain apart from getting married to the opposite sex? Isn’t celibacy, like, the point? In many conservative churches, it is. The focus upon “no gay sex” in Christian communities often amounts to a type of spiritual suffocation, whereby celibate gay Christians slowly strangle themselves under the mounting pressure to avoid gay sex. Okay, maybe they’re dying, but at least they’re celibate. So, like, it’s fine. Right? Unfortunately, it’s not. It’s impossible to cling to Jesus and receive his gift of grace when we’re desperately clinging to something else. God calls us to be desperate for Jesus, not works of the law, and to cling to his righteousness, not our own. But unfortunately, the counsel given to far too many celibate gay Christians amounts to a call to cling to their celibacy and not their Savior.

If you'd like to read the original articles on effeminacy by Desiring God, to which I am responding, check out the following links:   Male effeminacy, malakos, or malakoi has nothing to do with being gay or homosexuality and everything to do with toxic masculinity.   The English word “effeminate” harkens back to a time in history when “femininity” occupied the lowest rung of the social ladder. We get the word “virtue” from the Latin word “virtus,” which itself came from “vir,” meaning man. Think about that. Historically, virtue was inherently masculine. The implication for the feminine isn’t that difficult to figure out. Even today, we stumble under the weight of our misogynistic history, commonly associating the feminine with what is "less." People still say things like, “You throw like a girl,” and hardly think twice about the implications. What’s more, people still write articles condemning men who don’t fit a very narrow construction of masculinity by accusing them of being womanly, or “effeminate.” Most recently, Desiring God published two articles touching upon the topic of effeminacy (linked above), where gay men are condemned for their "effeminate habits," first implicitly and then explicitly. But the most common passages of Scripture used to justify this sort of thinking paint a very different picture of what effeminacy actually entails.