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?

I’ve started working on a few personal essays about friendship that I hope, sooner or later, to turn into a book, a sort of follow-up to Washed and Waiting. My hope is to talk through a lot of my ideas for that project here on this blog and get constructive feedback. Most of my concerns can be boiled down to a few basic questions: Should celibate gay Christians think of friendship as some of kind of “replacement” for marriage? If that’s the wrong way to think of it, what should we expect from friendship? What kind of thing is friendship? How does philia differ from eros? Can friendship be a form of sublimated eros? What would it mean to see friendship not as something mutable or optional but as, in a sense, given or even vowed?

Hopefully this blog will be a good platform for me to fill out those questions a bit more… and venture some answers!

12 thoughts on “Wesley Hill: why am I here?

  1. Dear Wes:

    I am interested in your work as an academic and person, who, while not restricted from a gay relationship by “orthodox” visions of theology, still finds himself celibate by virtue of his life calling as a missionary and professor abroad (for 15 years now). One hope I have of this specific website is more focus on the philosophical questions you pose here on definitions of friendship, rather than the usual “conservative/liberal” justifications given (or not) for our very existence. Thank you for your witness and work in a most vexing context!

  2. Dear Wes:

    I just wanted to thank you for writing your book–for all its personal honesty, its theological astuteness, and its practical immediacy. In all the warring over the issue of homosexuality and the church (especially in America), it’s nice to know that lives of *humble wrestling* are possible. My copy is quite dog-eared, and, as I begin to open my struggles with my sexual identity to a few of my friends, I look forward to sharing this book and how it has affirmed and challenged me with them.

    I also follow your tumblr (how I landed here). I enjoy discovering authors and people and perspectives I would not have found otherwise. 🙂

    Thanks, and grace and peace be with you.

  3. Hi Wes,

    I heard about you on Rachel Held Evans’ blog, and have been reading through several things you’ve written online over the past couple of days. I want to say thank you for your wise and honest and godly words which I have so much appreciated reading. Your thoughts on faith, sexuality, friendship and community have been so helpful to me. I’m looking forward to following your blog and hearing more of what you have to say. I’m a Durham graduate and I still live in the city fifteen years after graduating – I really hope you enjoyed your time here; Durham’s beautiful, isn’t it?

    Thanks again, and God bless you,


  4. Wesley,

    My name is Will Spokes. I am the Minister of Outreach at Tenth Pres in Philadelphia. If you would be interested, I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you about some ideas I have to perhaps collaborate with you on some things here at Tenth.

    I look forward to hearing from you.


    Will Spokes

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  9. Hi Wes ,
    I read W&W and felt it was the first time someone actually “got me”. The struggle of celibacy in a hyper sexualized world is a most narrow path. Made even more so by the normalization of homosexuality inside and outside of the church in recent years. I’ve been at this longer than most of your readers, and it feels as if someone changed the rules in the middle of the game, which only adds to the feeling of being the odd man out. Most days the longing for community is much greater than the one for sex (not that that is easy either). Glad you are writing on this, as I feel slightly less isolated when I read your posts.

  10. I appreciate this website and this discussion. However I’m bothered by the amount of effort given over to ‘intentional’ living. I realize that living celibate, alone, without a partner for the rest of your life will take a positive effort, particularly in later years to avoid the struggle and pain of loneliness, the aloneness that only single people who have consciously chosen to remain single, will feel. What I would like to know is when does ‘intentional’ living, – consciously surrounding yourself with community, fall into the category of ‘contrived’ living? – When you know you are spending all this conscious effort surrounding yourself with community as much as to avoid the painful and perhaps rather grim reality that are always going to be stuck living in a box by yourself, so to speak. I’m not asking for the ‘with Jesus you are never alone’ sort of answers, because I know Christians in this situation who are really struggling, and will occasionally admit, that they really are miserable and that life for them really is a struggle to be positive. None resorts to the ‘comfort’ derived from knowing that their misery and struggle is ‘pleasing’ to God, because it no longer makes sense to them. They are surviving as much by being on ‘automatic pilot’ as anything else, – getting on with things while remaining emotionally kind of dead, which I think is pretty sad.


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  12. I would like to state for the record that you are a stronger man than I am. Your commitment to God and his plan and your place in it, leaves me feeling a bit inadequate in my relationship with God.
    I am a Catholic heterosexual white male with 5 children. No one in my household is gay or lesbian and I find it difficult to find common ground on this issue.
    Whatever my personal beliefs are on the subject, I can say that you are an inspiration to people to follow Gods word and live by his plan. Thank You for your inspiration.

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