The Freedom to Love

When many of my friends moved toward a theology that affirms gay sexual relationships, they did so because they grew weary of saying “no” to love. Several of them described an experience where they were fully committed to the church’s traditional teaching on sexual ethics when they grew to deeply love someone of the same sex. They remained chaste for a season and prayed for direction, then eventually sensed the Lord saying: You’re free to love.

While many Christians considered their shift an act of rebellion—a plunge into sin—they saw it as the only path to love and intimacy. They recognized that “It’s not good for man to be alone,” and they longed to serve the one they love, share their lives with the one they love, and mutually draw energy from that love to better serve those around them. Many felt like the traditional ethic required them to cut off fundamental aspects of being human in order to be chaste: they felt saying “no” to sexual relationships meant saying “no” to love, and that saying “no” to love meant saying “no” to any intimacy, and that saying “no” to intimacy meant saying “no” to feelings altogether, which eventually led to detachment and isolation. The burden felt unbearable.

To be honest, I sympathize with this response and feel it in my soul. I believe church teaching to be true, but the practical application of the theology often creates a division between the head and the heart that we intuitively know not to be good. It seems the problem is less related to theology than with the way it’s applied to gay people in many Christian communities. We tend to be fearful that if people open their hearts to love then they’re inevitably going to have sex. I know when I’ve had feelings of affection for other women, Christians have often bolted me with questions about those affections: Were they appropriate feelings? Did I have inappropriate thoughts about her? Was it the result of a deficiency in me that I was using her to fill? Was it actually enmeshment masking itself as love? What boundaries had we put in place? Were we watching how much time we spent together? Were we spending time together primarily in groups? Were we open to accountability to ensure we remained free from stumbling?

The underlying message was that if I didn’t place myself and the relationship under a microscope, inviting others to peer through with a critical eye, then there was a good chance it was a broken sort of love that would naturally end in sex. Gay sex. Lots of gay sex. While I appreciate the accountability and want to be encouraged to love well, it often comes off as more fear-based rather than helpful. Eventually many feel they’re better off avoiding love and intimacy altogether rather than risking the sex and the microscope. Many then shut down. Many lock their love away. Many manage to be chaste by managing not to love at all.

Christian theology values love, friendship and intimate connection in a way that probably pushes the boundaries of what many are comfortable with in our modern context (think David and Jonathan). When my friends have heard they’re free to love, I believe it was because they’re truly free to love. The question is whether or not love = sex, and unfortunately we live in a society where deeply sharing life with another person primarily occurs within a union that points toward marriage. So when many decide they’re free to love, they believe the path of love to be a sexual relationship or one that leads to gay marriage.

However, that doesn’t seem like the only response one can have to the realization that we’re free to love. Jesus told us to love our neighbors, but I can’t imagine He meant to have sex with our neighbors. He told us to love our enemies, but obviously didn’t mean to have sex with our enemies. 1 John says we’ll be known by our love for one another, and we realize that doesn’t mean we’ll be known by our sexing with one another. It’s not unreasonable, though, for Christians to feel like love and intimacy naturally progress into sexual expression when the primary place we see love celebrated in the church is through romantic relationships that lead to marriage.

In many ways we’ve affirmed the idea that love = sex by freaking out about sex when one opens up to love. Rather than freaking out about sex, we could begin to elevate the myriad manifestations of love that we’ve often devalued in our modern context. We could explore what it looks like to press into intimacy, affection, and self-giving love in a way that recognizes the risks of isolation are greater than the risks of relationship. This would offer gay people the freedom to love and allow the church to be a greater witness to the surrounding culture: that we are, indeed, a people rooted and built upon love, and that we affirm the expression of rich intimacy through non-sexual relationships just as much as we value marriage. Then when gay Christians feel deep love for someone of the same sex, it won’t be an occasion for shame and despair that potentially leads to a departure from orthodoxy; rather, an occasion for celebration.

I believe Christians who express concern about the nature of a gay person’s affections are well-intentioned and often wise. You want to encourage us in our quest to be chaste. But I long for Christians to acknowledge that just like love does not equal sex, chastity does not equal a rejection of love and intimacy. We need room to discern how chastity and intimacy hold hands. If gay Christians continue to feel like Christian theology requires a denial of love and suppression of affection, then many will continue to depart from orthodoxy when the isolation becomes unbearable. Thankfully, the denial of love is the result of application rather than theology, so we can prayerfully explore what it looks like to recover a robust expression of love between two people.

Julie Rodgers

Julie Rodgers shares life with inner city youth in West Dallas. She also writes and speaks about faith and sexuality, so check out her blog or find her on Twitter:@Julie_rodgers.

33 thoughts on “The Freedom to Love

  1. This makes sense to me if you are talking about deep, sisterly love. I have women in my life (two of them my actual sisters) and a handful of others where there is a beautiful, deep connection. These women know be better than anyone else. There is an intimacy of shared life experiences, and we love one another as sisters in Christ. They are a part of my life as I am a part of there’s. Is this what you mean or are you referring to something more exclusive? Appreciate your blog!

  2. Thanks for sharing and asking, Kristin! I personally think a brotherly or sisterly love is ideal. It is sometimes difficult to parse out the particular nature of affection we feel in a given relationship or situation, though, and many gay Christians feel the need to run rather than press in and learn together what it looks like to express that love in healthy ways. It would be nice to have less fear (regardless of the nature of the affection) and more of a positive vision to live into. Does that make sense? I’m wide open to feedback, as it’s challenging to discern how to be fully connected in intimate relationships while pursuing chastity and faithful stewardship of our sexuality. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Wow, these thoughts are reaching in exciting, positive directions.

      My own personal unfinished business involves two areas of daily life.

      Firstly, male embodiment. I cannot say what daily life is like in detail for women in female bodies. I can try to be as honest with myself as I am able at any given time, about what my daily life is like as a man in a male body.

      Simply put, the continuing experience is this: I honestly cannot find a dimension, level, or whatever of genuine enthusiasm, joy in living, and intimacy-heartfelt service to the other(s) …. that does not honestly seem to involve some real form of embodiment. And I have so far found no form or reality of embodiment which does not involve a lived and living sensuality, and thus, amounts to some reality or other of my sexuality.

      This lived equivalence often works out quite simply when I can, for example, be in human connection with women …. since so far I can reasonably rely on never being all that overtly physically interested in her. It just doesn’t work that way with men.

      In any case, I have payed attention, sought diligently, and done my best so far to be honest with myself …. the truth that persists is, simply put, that I am always embodied which honestly equates to basic sensuality which in some honest sense (no matter how unapparent to anybody else?) amounts to an experience of my real sexuality.

      I can find no particular point on this admittedly wide panorama of inner male embodied life or awareness or selfhood, where I could honestly with a clear conscience, parse body/sensuality/sexuality off into ‘good’ parts’ while seeking to mark off ‘bad parts.’

      The second aspect I will not explain in detail. Just let me say that all manner of intellectual nuances pertain so far, to my work of noticing and feeling this through while thinking this through.

  3. Thank you for this post. As a naturally shy person, I struggle with maintaining boundaries, and the attitude of, “if I am not going to date this woman, what’s the point.” The sexualization of American culture, especially on TV, has driven us apart, and we lack that discernment you mentioned.
    I’m also particularly troubled by that gay-rights crux that just because you feel something, it’s justifiable to act on it. When the ELCA (a church with whom my church body shares roots) reversed its position on homosexuality, they held this long meeting where they kept praying & praying, & then in essence said, “Listen, Scripture hasn’t changed, but our consciences are bound, & our consciences are equal in authority with Scripture.” What they meant was, “Our partner churches have embraced this, & all our self-esteem is wrapped up in agreeing with others.”

    • Derek, you bring up a good point here about men and women often pursuing relationships based on whether or not there is potential for romance (or at least it seems that way in many of my circles). I think we would all benefit from developing closer friendships with one another across genders, age groups, etc. Of course it’s wise to consider healthy boundaries in all our relationships, but the run-for-your-life approach that often surfaces in close relationships that fall a little outside the norm seems problematic. Can’t be beneficial for anyone.

      • How does one go about defining these outside-norm relationships? This is unmapped territory. How do you establish a relationship that is well beyond ‘friend’ but also clearly not in sexual realm?

  4. Great post Julie! I totally agree. The ex-gay movement perpetuated fear at times–always pulling out the “emotional dependency” card any time something was serious. Not to say there isn’t such a thing as dysfunctional exclusivity, but we need relationships to thrive–deep relationships. At some point I made the decision to take risks and sometimes that has meant things have been a little messy at first, including working through attractions and healthy boundaries. But I have some true gifts from God in certain friendships because I did not run (and they did not run either).

    One thing I’ve noticed is that it seems to be easier to have sex than it is to ask a close friend to hold you. Affection is actually more vulnerable than sex in our culture. We often have to have sex in order to get to the place where we are free to express intimate non-sexual affection. Thus, outside of romantic, sexual relationships I notice a dearth of affection among platonic friends. It seems friends often don’t know how to touch. So much fear around all touch being somehow sexual. So sad.

    I’ve also noticed that it seems my non-Christian friends are more comfortable with deeper affection than my Christian ones. Non-Christians can seem more comfortable with their bodies. So, I find affection in the church can be a bit frigid. I think because Christians have more hang-ups and fears about body and intimacy. That is how it seems anyway.

    • Agreed on all points, Karen! To your first point: I found that the freak out over sex and enmeshment was often presented as healthy “boundaries”, but the walls and avoidance weren’t boundaries—they were playing into the very thing they were set in place to avoid. It seems like we have to take the risks you were talking about to even begin to move toward healthy affection, relationships, boundaries, etc. I’ve also found that non-Christians or nominal Christians seem much more comfortable with intimacy and affection. During the season I described above, I remember coming to life around many of my non-Christian friends because I felt like I could finally exhale. Thanks for sharing all of this!

  5. Julie, a wonderful post. Thank you. There is a great need for more study and writing on this very issue. I am currently reading ‘The Friend’ by Alan Bray which examines much of this.

  6. I value my male friendships a lot. The risk in loving them, particularly my gay friends, is worth it. Christians can make it sound like we’re beasts without control of our desires if put in the wrong situation. We certainly need to be wise and not place ourselves in stupid situations, but God has placed more within us than beastly instincts to reproduce. We possess God’s image and His likeness. We feel deep yearnings and deep desires to connect and feel wanted, but we also have the choice in how to channel those feelings for God’s glory and love of our neighbor.

    I love film depictions that reveal platonic love at its fullest. It’s usually some epic death scene, a character with his friend at his side, and you witness perhaps the purest form of love between two people. In that moment no one cares how gay their affection may look to the outside world. It’s depressing how constrained we are to love each other when we give romantic love a monopoly on intimacy. No wonder celibacy feels like such a let down when we view friendship as superficial and disposable in the greater pursuit of “the one.”

    • I feel so much of this as well, Bridge Builder. I also love the scenes in films that offer beautiful depictions of friendship. This is one area where people like you (and so many here) can be a gift to the church: reigniting a deep appreciation for love and intimacy that’s expressed outside of the typically celebrated forms.

  7. “The underlying message was that if I didn’t place myself and the relationship under a microscope, inviting others to peer through with a critical eye, then there was a good chance it was a broken sort of love that would naturally end in sex. .”

    Life under a microscope. LOL – love how you say it so well. 🙂

  8. But God commends his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 God’s love for us does not result in romance or a mushy intimacy such as holding hands or kissing, rather it results in Jesus dying for us as a sin substitute. I submit that true Christian love results in a lying down of one’s life toward another in sacrifice and service. As I understand the New Testament, romance and mush intimacy is a prelude to lifelong marriage. This romance and mushy intimacy is not an option for a person called to singleness and celibacy and it certainly does not apply to same sex relationships or multiple heterosexual relationships. There is no bed hopping in the New Testament. The only ‘bed’ the New Testament knows is as Hebrews 13:4 states: ‘The marriage bed is undefiled, but adulterers and whoremongers God shall judge.’ Our Christian love outside of heterosexual monogamous marriage can result in friendship and mutual service but never in romance and mushy intimacy.

    • Mushy intimacy, no. But our modern culture seems to have an unnatural revulsion toward any physical contact at all. In photos from the mid 1800s it is not unusual to see men holding hands. There was nothing sexual in that. Kissing, even on the lips, between men is an accepted non-sexual greeting in many cultures. In the first century AD, if a Jewish family had a visitor, it was considered rude to make him sleep alone. A same sex member of the family would sleep with him. Again, there was nothing sexual in this. It was simply rude to make a person sleep alone in a strange place.

      Is one of the driving forces and that pushes people toward sexual misconduct, perhaps, the fact that our society has withheld from them nearly every form of legitimate physical contact with other human beings?

    • “I submit that true Christian love results in a lying down of one’s life toward another in sacrifice and service. ”

      I would agree with that.

      “As I understand the New Testament, romance and mush intimacy is a prelude to lifelong marriage.”

      In those times, the prelude to lifelong marriage didn’t involve courting, hand holding, bonding, or anything of the sort. Traditional marriage involved your parents setting you up with a woman (or finding you a husband if you were a man). It was a contract for enlarging a family and joining two smaller families together as one. Concepts like romance and intimacy were saved for concubines and the like, I suspect. This is not even mentioning that no such words appear in the bible (no Greek or Hebrew words for “cuddling” or “mushy intimacy stuff”).

      So your interpretation leaves us without any recourse. Should we fall in love we have to just walk away from it and spend our lives starving for affection, shackled to a miserable life of unchosen celibacy, praying every day that God finally sees fit to kill us and free us from the hell he has forced us to live in so arbitrarily. All the while you get to experience affection and love. You get to grow older with someone who will care for you and whom you can care for in turn. We grow old alone and we die, probably younger than most. Or is us dying off faster the whole point? What do you gain by being right in this assertion out of curiosity?

  9. Dear Nathaniel,

    Perhaps I misread the post (which I thought was lovely), but I’m not sure I understand your response here:

    “Should we fall in love we have to just walk away from it and spend our lives starving for affection, shackled to a miserable life of unchosen celibacy…”

    In the orthodox position, even “falling in love” does not justify acting contrary to the way of life that leads us to deep communion with God. (This is contra mundum in a culture that seems to think “falling in love” with someone else is justification enough for divorce.) From the Christian viewpoint, the spiritual-emotional-hormonal connection of “falling in love” is not goal of our lives and, while it can be temporally satisfying, cannot satisfy our ultimate longing or replace a right relationship with our Creator who made us in love, for love.

    That may seem contrary superficially, but that leads me to my next concern, which I think Julie touched on. There is not only ONE important and healthy type of love in human life. It is so important for everyone of whatever sexuality to have a variety of loving relationships and affection. The reliance on “romance” as a source of life fulfillment obscures the importance of familial love and affection, as well as various platonic forms among the different types and depths of friendships as well. Then there is the form of love par excellence, charity, the type of love poured out by Jesus. Perhaps one could say he was “shackled” by his calling to a life of ‘unchosen celibacy.’ It was that celibacy which has been described to me by people I know in religious orders as a great mechanism that allows them to open fully to serve all in the self-disinterested love. A love that truly frees us to know we are not valuable solely for some asset we bring to another human. We are already valued by God who loved us into being who we are for a purpose, however surprising, however difficult, however obscured, however marvelous. I am reminded of a Haitian prayer that runs something like, “Lord, we do not know why we have not starved, why we have not died in fire or flood or earthquake or illness, why we still woke up today, but we trust that You know the reason and that Your reason is good.”

    Our life can find no higher value than recognizing this fact and living in response to His love.

    I have often been afraid of dying–o heck, living–alone and lonely and unloved; the older I get, the more I have noticed this fear surfaces when I am not living to love others without expecting a return on my “investment.” When we feed others, we often find ourselves mysteriously fed. Pax et bonum.

    • You are correct in the initial assertion that you misunderstood my response. Or rather, your assumption of what love is from my perspective. In all honesty, the error was mine for using succinct language to encompass such a vast and easily misunderstood concept.

      The culture has a shallow and self-serving view that conflates infatuation to love. I can grant you that. When I refer to “falling in love” I am referencing more the spiritual connection, not so much the hormonal connection. Love is self-sacrificing and puts the needs of another first. Infatuation, while often mistaken for love, is not love. At least not as I meant it. As far as spiritual-emotional-hormonal love I will say that I feel you are two thirds correct. I believe that there is no such thing as emotional or hormonal love. The hormones exist simply to propagate the meat and the emotions are little more than another word for this hormonal, just involving a different hormone. I would consider these infatuation by their own right.

      At this point, I would like to point out that I don’t disagree with almost any of the things you are saying. I was responding to Tiger’s statement on affection, specifically. Cutting us off from affection and claiming it as the sole domain of heterosexual marriage and courting strikes me as a claim made in error (and I pointed out this error, explaining why this is not accurate in terms of traditional marriage as history understands it).

      It isn’t fear that drives me it is having fallen in love with another man in the past that drives me. It didn’t work out and we lost touch but it made me realize that, for some of us, celibacy isn’t a matter of maintaining charitable love for others and not fretting over being lonely. For some of us, it means meeting someone special and then being asked to walk away from them, not just sexually but entirely, by people who don’t really know anything about what it is like to be us and, furthermore, don’t (or can’t) give any good reasons why we should comply with this demand that aren’t easily refuted.

    • I took a little time and reread this post along with the comments.

      You, HildegardBingenensis hit the
      Bull’s-eye…with much of your reply. It deserves repeating

      (“Should we fall in love we have to just walk away from it and spend our lives starving for affection, shackled to a miserable life of unchosen celibacy…”)

      “” From the Christian viewpoint, the spiritual-emotional-hormonal connection of “falling in love” is not the goal of our lives and, while it can be temporally satisfying, cannot satisfy our ultimate longing or replace a right relationship with our Creator who made us in love, for love.””

      The term “falling in love”, I think, is the stumbling block for most. I would even go as far as to say it is a purely hollywood invention. Not biblical!

      “”The reliance on “romance” as a source of life fulfillment obscures the importance of familial love and affection, as well as various platonic forms among the different types and depths of friendships as well. Then there is the form of love par excellence, charity, the type of love poured out by Jesus.””

      {Perhaps one could say he was “shackled” by his calling to a life of ‘unchosen celibacy.’}
      I love your sense of humor…

      “”It was that celibacy which has been described to me by people I know in religious orders as a great mechanism that allows them to open fully to serve all in the self-disinterested love. A love that truly frees us to know we are not valuable solely for some asset we bring to another human.””

      Love is an action, NOT, a feeling…we constantly confuse the two.

      “”We are already valued by God who loved us into being who we are-for a purpose, however surprising, however difficult, however obscured, however marvelous. “”

      “”Our life can find no higher value than recognizing this fact and living in response to His love.””

      Recognizing this fact beats warm and fuzzy any day…

      “”I have often been afraid of dying–o heck, living–alone and lonely and unloved; the older I get, the more I have noticed this fear surfaces when I am not living to love others without expecting a return on my “investment.” When we feed others, we often find ourselves mysteriously fed. Pax et bonum.””

      This fear of Living-alone and lonely and unloved is, I think, where/when we get ourselves into all kinds of trouble.
      1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to
      do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
      We all have so much to learn about love, don’t you think?

  10. Singleness, according to the New Testament (especially the Apostle Paul) is to be preferred because it allows a person more time for the work of spreading the gospel and Christian service. Married heterosexuals with children have to spend the bulk of their time earning income for their family and the rearing of children which is a good and holy thing but it limits the amount of time a married couple with children can devote to gospel work. Now, many singles I know live a life that involves work, entertainment, travel, recreation and not much time in the ministry work. That is just wrong. If single people would throw themselves into the work of the gospel and Christian charity, then they would not have as much inclination and time to pine away in self misery because they are denied romance and sexual activity. God help us and all single people that know the Lord and for single people that do not know the Lord to come to know the Lord and to serve Him.

    • I will grant that singleness can give those who are single the benefit of time which they can use to serve their fellow men and women in charitable love. And I can even grant that throwing yourself into charitable work and service to others can reduce your penchant for feeling sorry for yourself.

      It isn’t really that you are denying single gay people any sort of affection or romance at all, it is that you aren’t offering a good reason for this restriction. With sexuality there is at least a reason for the restriction in place (that is, the purpose of sex being to serve a procreative purpose). I can agree with most here. I can agree that it isn’t good for people to seek out love as if it will fix their problems.

      The issue, though, is sometimes that love does find you and I don’t really see much issue with two gay people emotionally supporting, being affectionate with, and caring for each other yet still serving Christ and doing the things you mentioned. In a properly ordered relationship where child bearing is not an option due to age, I can just as easily see an analogous older married male-female couple dedicated to the same service after their own kids leave the nest.

      • Nathaniel
        “The issue, though, is sometimes love does find you and I don’t really see much issue with two gay people emotionally supporting, being affectionate with, and caring for each other yet still serving Christ and doing the things you mentioned.”

        John 13:23
        “One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved dearly, was reclining against him, his head on his shoulder.”
        Nothing wrong with emotional support or affection or caring for one another…

        Romance, at least the hollywood version, is an entirely different issue.

        If this is what you are disappointed about you might try reading something by John Eldredge.

        Chin up old boy, with God you never miss out on the best.

      • Hollywood romance is just infatuation, usually. I would go so far as to say that not only should homosexuals avoid gravitating towards Hollywood romance but heterosexuals should stay away from it as well. Infatuation is a selfish and shallow drive that is short lived, ultimately.

        For me, romantic love is identical to love between a married couple. The sexual component is optional and, perhaps, best left out for the homosexual couple wishing to remain chaste, but I don’t really see why such a couple couldn’t enjoy such a relationship stripped of the more profane sexual aspects of it.

        But, in these conversations, I am beginning to realize I am the alien component. Sex means less to me and is pursued less by me than most, evidently. I would be happy just to cuddle, finding the prospect even more gratifying than sex which I don’t even find all that attractive a prospect (more something I would do to keep a partner happy, if at all).

        Perhaps I am the weird one and my libido is just broken compared to the normal guy. I am beginning to think that is the case, the more I read responses and blogs here and elsewhere. I may have to rethink my views.

  11. Julie,

    Beautiful words. I am of those you speak of who couldn’t bear the weight of saying “no” to intimacy anymore. I didn’t realize I’d held such a deep and unconscious fear of having feelings for another woman, that I was unable to let myself be known as I am or invite others to trust me in authentic self-disclosure and relationship.

    After 10 years of committing myself to an orthodox understanding of sexuality and faith, still utterly lonely, I moved away from the orthodoxy I’d held onto so tightly, and began to pursue romantic relationship with other women. Though I am currently still in a state of confusion over my beliefs and their application, I could not be more grateful for the freedom and joy that has come from allowing myself to feel deeply and to love greatly. Intimacy is so very worth the risk. I thank you for articulating this other way, also characterized by the freedom, joy, and hope of intimacy in relationship while still being faithful to the orthodox way.

    I am seeking, through prayer and study, the way forward, and I am grateful for the gracious conversation going on here.

    • Mollie, thank you so much for sharing this. It’s always refreshing to hear someone speak with honesty and humility about the process, as it’s difficult for all of us to discern how to love deeply in light of the unique situation we find ourselves in as gay Christians. I’m grateful to hear about the freedom you’re experiencing in opening yourself up to intimacy, and hope the Lord gives you clarity as you continue to seek Him on all of this. So glad to hear you resonated with this.

  12. Pingback: A Review of God and the Gay Christian | Spiritual Friendship

  13. Julie,

    Thanks for this encouraging post. I’m curious to hear more about your friends who’ve moved away from a traditional Christian sexual ethic toward a theology that affirms gay sexual relationships.

    1. How much, in your judgment, did the pressure to scrutinize their same-sex friendships “under a microscope” play into their eventual decision to find a gay partner?

    2. I’m sure many did find their intimacy needs stifled by other concerned believers, under the guise–however well-intended–of church accountability, and as a result, felt painfully deprived of any intimate relationship with others. For those who began pursuing gay relationships for this very reason, would they say they’ve found that–formerly missing–intimacy in their current gay partner? (assuming you’ve kept in touch with them enough to know) Have they found more freedom to build closer non-romantic same-sex friendships, too, in addition to finding same-sex love?

    3. Do you know of anyone who would say they were always satisfied with the level of intimacy of their (non-romantic) friendships–they simply wanted something more, and that’s why they went looking for a gay partner? This would seem to be a fairly common experience–if not, the norm–for straight people: where your desire for a significant other isn’t driven by this sort of felt lack of intimacy in your other relationships, since you might already have enough close friends. My reason for asking is: for those who have left behind old moral convictions, I just wonder how much of that is driven by the desire for intimate friendship vs. the desire for intimate romance.

    – Guy

  14. Hi,

    Thanks for this post Julie, and all the thoughtful comments from everyone!

    Nathaniel, I think you are right that you are in the minority of men in not having a strong sexual drive. That isn’t necessarily bad though. I know that personally, my own sexual desires for other men have lead to a lot of frustration and, sadly, sin. And they can be a huge distraction.
    BTW, super refreshing to read a line like “I may have to rethink my views.” in a comments section.

    I must disagree that falling in love is an invention of Hollywood. Go read Song of Songs; it’s hard to deny that the concept of being in love is there. In this book, love is not just an action. It IS a feeling. It is delighting in who the person is. Love is appreciating the other person, not just desiring the best for them.

    There are other times when the bible seems to use love as a description of something that is not an action, i.e. Mark 10:21. God’s love for us is not just his actions for us. He delights in us. And we are to delight ourselves in him. Does God want emotionless acts of duty from us? I think he wants us to be emotionally passionate for him too.

    Switching gears, there is a particular guy that I would say I am in love with. I haven’t admitted my feelings to him, and I’m not sure how he feels. But the situation makes these questions imminently relevant for me. I’m not sure what to do in the relationship.

    What can these non-sexual love relationships look like?

    As Nathaniel suggests, there are a lot of things about marriage besides sex that aren’t usually (or ever) found in friendship:
    – life-long commitment
    – priority above all others besides God
    – living together
    – interdependency
    – combination of finances
    – having children
    – a shared understanding that you were particularly made for this one other person to be their help-mate

    This leads to questions like, can you have a relationship where you expect someone to move cities with you if you need to for work, or where you quit your job to stay with them? Can you be the bread-winner for someone in a non-sexual friendship? Can you adopt a child and raise it with someone in this type of friendship? Can you expect to spend time every day with someone? Can you mark occasions and anniversaries of your relationship? None of these things are physical or sexual, but they are usually reserved for marriage. A lot of people would object to these components being part of a same-sex relationship.

    The word love really has more than one meaning. In what sense are we free to love people of the same sex that we feel drawn to?

    -Will

  15. Pingback: The gay Christians who’ve embraced celibacy | Matter Of Facts

  16. Pingback: Some Clarifications Regarding Sexual Orientation and Spiritual Friendship | Spiritual Friendship

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s