Here’s something that may interest some of you.
On Saturday I spoke at a conference on singleness at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, and the videos are all online if you want to watch them. My session starts (I’ve been told, I think!) around the 40-minute mark in the video labeled “Morning Sessions,” and I was also on a panel with the other speakers in the afternoon.
It was a real joy to finally have the chance to visit Redeemer. I’ve been listening to Tim Keller’s preaching since I was in high school, so it was a huge honor to meet him and Kathy and Brent Bounds the other amazing conference organizers. If any of you are reading this, thank you again for the warm hospitality and the stimulating conversation!
The Catechism teaches that, while all people are equal in dignity, God also makes differences among people. “These differences belong to God’s plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed with particular ‘talents’ share the benefits with those who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods.”
I have not always appreciated the ways in which God has made me different. For a long time, I used to pray that God would make me stop being gay. It gave me particular struggles. It made discernment difficult. It was painful. All I could see was a disordered and broken part of myself that I’d rather do away with. I had failed to grasp the truth that, as C. S. Lewis once put it, “every disability conceals a vocation, if only we can find it, which will ‘turn the necessity to glorious gain.’”
Yesterday, Tom Daley, the Olympic medalist in diving from England, came out in a short five-minute video on YouTube.
You’ll note I said, “came out,” which in current parlance can mean several things, but is most commonly taken to mean publicly identifying as gay. Indeed as this article in the Guardian points out, many major media outlets took it this way, describing Daley as having come out as gay. However, if you watch the video, Daley never claims a particular sexual identity (gay, bisexual, or otherwise), but simply says that he is in a relationship with another guy. Indeed, he adds that he still fancies girls and that his relationship with this guy seemingly took him by surprise. What do we make of a statement like this? And is it even our job to make something of it?
And one more video.
While I was out in California to talk at Biola, I also spoke with Father Josiah Trenham, the pastor of St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside. Here’s the interview (with a rather intense-looking freeze frame to start, unfortunately!):
I spoke in a chapel service at Biola University last month on the themes of gay experience, Christian faith, and spiritual friendship. Here is the video:
I gave a very similar talk at Calvin College the week before, and I’m still working on trying to refine this and figure out exactly how I want to talk about these things. If you have any feedback for me, I’m all ears!
Pepperdine University is a Christian school affiliated with the Churches of Christ. Like other Church of Christ schools, Pepperdine embraces the traditional view that sexual intimacy is only appropriate within marriage between a man and a woman.
The following chapel talk invites students to talk about gay issues with honesty and integrity:
One of the most helpful books for coming to grips with classic Christian theologies of marriage is Christopher Roberts’ Creation and Covenant: The Significance of Sexual Difference in the Moral Theology of Marriage. Prior to writing this book, Roberts was a research assistant to Bill Moyers and worked as a reporter for PBS’ show Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. More recently, he has taught ethics at Villanova University.
Roberts’ book is a survey of some of the primary things the Christian tradition has said about the significance of our creation as male and female for the theology of marriage. Beginning with early theologians like Gregory of Nyssa and continuing on to look at Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Karl Barth, Pope John Paul II, and others, Roberts concludes the book with a charitable discussion of some of the “revisionist” arguments for an explicitly Christian theology of gay marriage. Along the way, and particularly at the end, he offers sensitive pastoral reflections on both marriage and celibacy.
In this video, Roberts summarizes the book’s main argument and fields some questions from the audience (1 hr 15 mins).