Pepperdine: transforming the conversation (video)

I recently spoke at Pepperdine with Justin Lee, founder of the Gay Christian Network.

Justin believes that God blesses gay marriage. I embrace the traditional Christian belief that God intends marriage only to join a man and a woman. Both of us are gay.  And despite our differences, we’ve been good friends for a decade and a half now.

In 2003, we created The Great Debate, a pair of (very long!) essays explaining our respective views.

This year, Pepperdine University invited us to speak about Transforming the Conversation: how to have productive dialogue between those who disagree about gay marriage, and why each of us believes our position more faithfully represents the Gospel. Videos of this event have now been posted on Vimeo, and may be viewed below.

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Faces: a pet peeve

One of my pet peeves involves Christian publishers who are allergic to presenting faces of lesbian or gay Christians.

There’s an old adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover. And for those who don’t know the publishing business, I should add that you can’t judge the author by the book cover, either. Authors usually have very little control over the cover design of their book. In most cases, the fault for the cover designs I critique below lies with the publisher rather than the author.

So here, presented with some comment, is a rogues’ gallery of homosexuals without faces.

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What’s in a name?

A few weeks ago, a new acquaintance, who had read some of my essays about homosexuality, asked me what words I use to describe myself. Would I describe myself as gay? Homosexual? Same-sex attracted? When I tried to deflect the question with something about not being too concerned about what words to use, he responded with surprise: shouldn’t a philosopher be very concerned about using precisely the right word?

He’s right, of course. I certainly think a lot about how best to describe myself. As a celibate Christian, I think about my sexuality in the a way that is, at least in some important respects, very different from the way Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, or Lady Gaga think about theirs. So why would I call myself “gay”?

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Wesley Hill: why am I here?

Greetings, folks. My name is Wes, and along with Ron, I’m one of the guys who helped start this blog. Here’s a bit about me and why I’m here. Currently, I’m trying to finish up a PhD in New Testament studies at Durham University (UK); I’m writing on Paul’s epistles and the doctrine of the Trinity. I’m also in the initial stages of pursuing ordination in the Anglican Church in North America. On a more personal note, I happen to be gay and celibate. My book Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality tells a bit of the story of my faith and sexuality and how I came to think of celibacy as my vocation, and I won’t rehash all of that here. Suffice it to say, in light of my earlier reflections on Christian faith and gay experience, my primary interest these days has to do with the “So now what?” question. If I’m signed up to the church’s historic teaching on marriage and celibacy, what does it look like to try to make that teaching beautiful in the life I’m now living?

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Ron Belgau: why am I here?

Ron Belgau 2First, who am I?

I am a Catholic graduate student in Philosophy at Saint Louis University. Before grad school, from the end of my teens to my mid twenties, I worked as a programmer at Microsoft. Now, I teach medical ethics and philosophy of the human person, and am working on a dissertation looking at how recent discoveries in artificial intelligence and neuroscience should shape our understanding of the mind-body relation.

I’m also gay and celibate.

For the last decade and a half, I’ve been trying to articulate Christian teaching on human sexuality (particularly homosexuality) more clearly, and to bring a more respectful, Christ-like attitude to an often-hostile discussion. Along the way, I’ve asked myself a lot of questions about what it means to be gay and Christian. I’ve also spent a lot of time talking to gays and lesbians, to ex-gays, to confused college students, to concerned parents, and to anyone else who is interested in the issue and wants to learn more.

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