Gay Is Not The Scandal, Celibacy Is

I’m sure the last thing that most of us want to read is yet another pontification on the term “gay”. Hear me out.

In his book, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, the great Reformed theologian John Murray makes a helpful observation that sheds some light on our modern discussion of LGBT terminology. Discussing the Calvinist teaching of Limited Atonement, he asks whether or not the title of the doctrine is a fair representation of the content. He concludes, “But it is not the term used that is important; it is that which it denotes.”

I bring this up, not to discuss controversial doctrines, but because John Murray has unintentionally put his finger on one of the main issues in the gay debate. It seems that one of the questions of perennial interest in this conversation about sexuality is, “What does the term ‘gay’ denote?” Does it denote a particular behavior or sinful lifestyle? Or does it simply describe an experience of sexuality, and say nothing one way or the other about how that experience is lived out? Many conservatives insist on anathematizing the term because they argue it necessarily entails a sinful expression of sexuality. They assert that people who label themselves as gay usually mean to say that they also engage in gay sex.

We here at Spiritual Friendship are living testaments to the fact that this is a false assumption. There are many people that mean no such thing by labeling themselves as gay. In fact, I truly believe that most people in our culture, even unbelievers, do not normally give the term “gay” such a meaning that would denote sexual activity. So why, then, is it such a widely held assumption?

Here’s what I think is happening. We live in a hyper-sexualized society, so much so that it is widely assumed that everyone is having sex. Indeed, from sitcoms to birth control mandates, the prevailing cultural script is that sexual fulfillment is a must for a happy, liberated life. This means that there are many gay people who are indeed having sex. However, it also means that there are many straight people who are having sex. This reality gets at the fundamental issue: the problem is not with the term “gay”; the problem is with our sex-obsessed culture.

I think that many conservatives look around and say, “See? Those gay people are having sex. Therefore, gay means having gay sex.” But that is category confusion. They see the sexual ethic of our culture and import that ethic into the term. In reality, however, gay simply means attracted to the same sex, and straight simply means attracted to the opposite sex, and everyone is having sex quite apart from the term.

To put it slightly differently, I could tell a person I randomly meet on the street that I “experience same-sex attraction”, and their assumption would still be that I was sexually active with men. Simply avoiding the term “gay” does not combat our cultures idolization of sexual activity. Indeed, the real scandal is not, “I’m gay,” but rather, “I’m celibate.” Embracing celibacy will get people looking at you sideways.

I understand the impulse to be set apart as Christians. But in rejecting a straw man of the term “gay”, we are setting ourselves apart from something that doesn’t actually exist. In order to send a truly redemptive, countercultural message to a watching world, our cry should not be, “Don’t call yourselves gay!” but rather, “Celibacy is a life-giving path to joy and fulfillment and community in Jesus.” Now we’re getting somewhere! How powerful would it be if gay and straight Christians, together with one voice, testified, “Yes, I have sexual urges, but they do not rule my life because Jesus is better. And celibacy is not primarily a lack, but an invitation to deep relationships, intentional community, and sacrificial love.”

It seems to me that this narrative is more effective in addressing the very issue that the “don’t use gay” folks are trying to tackle. The intentions are noble, but the focus is misguided. Focus on celibacy. It is good. Get on board.

nickroenNick Roen is currently pursuing a M.Div. with an emphasis in worship at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He previously graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Lacrosse, receiving a bachelors degree in Music Theory and Composition.  He can be found on Twitter @roenaboat.

52 thoughts on “Gay Is Not The Scandal, Celibacy Is

  1. Nick, Yes! Love your thoughts on this and especially that final quote, “Yes, I have sexual urges, but they do not rule my life because Jesus is better. And celibacy is not primarily a lack, but an invitation to deep relationships, intentional community, and sacrificial love.” I want to get that tattooed on my forehead, printed on a t-shirt and bumperstickered onto my car! That so resonates with my heart. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Whoa. Thanks for this, Nick. It articulates *perfectly* what for yeeeaars was (sometimes still) a stumbling block. “What am I?” was the inner caucophony. I would prefer homosexual & joke it made me sound British. Twelve years celibate the joke is now “ho-hum-osexual” … *gay* always sounded political, polarizing, & promiscuous (enter Pride, stage right)

    But at the end of the day the goal is to seek Christ; not identify solely with a label or be defined by a past. Jesus is better

  3. Fantastic insight Nick! I sign up for the revolution in thinking. We could do more for fidelity to our faith by proclaiming “I am celebate” as the response when someone asks marital or girlfriend status. It shows a commitment to walking in the word of God. I have always believed that those of us with same sex attraction have a calling because of it. I have never thought that Gay marriage was a solution. Mirroring straight relationships stops short of what our purpose is, making us blind to the other way; how we are meant to serve. I do not have the purpose in specifics, but we have fewer responsibilities resulting in less encumberments to serve a purpose.

  4. This is “spot on!” I have been trying my best to communicate this very thing in different avenues. This article can be another piece in my communication. Good stuff!

  5. Hi Nick,

    What bothers me is not the term “gay” or “homosexual”. I really use them interchangeably. What I don’t understand is the use of the term “celibate” to indicate a person that has chosen not to have sex. This is an accepted use according to the dictionary but it is not the biblical, historical and church-traditional use of the word. To be celibate indicates that you are not married. To embrace celibacy means you have no intention to marry. Then there is chastity which is the virtue that allow us to take control of our sexuality. Celibacy is a vocation, a path. Chastity is a virtue. Chastity is expressed differently depending on the path we decide to follow. These are very important differences. One is a vocation, the other is a virtue. Very much different when we view them through the lens of what they’ve meant through history.

    You say our society is “hyper-sexualized” and it is. I agree. But I think equating a vocation to “not having sex” (celibacy = not having sex) validates the hyper-sexualization of our times. Celibacy is not about not having sex. It is about not being attached in marriage to a special other. It is about being opened to spiritual progress by being opened to the Church at large and to your particular community. What do you think?

    • Rosa, I think you are putting way more weight on the word “celibacy” than it will bear. There simply is no other word that works to describe a person who chooses not to have sex until either marriage or death. Chaste does not work as too many people today define chaste as “remaining faithful to one lover.” And the whole idea of a special calling to celibacy outside of a requirement for a religious order is a fairly recent invention, coming out of the reformation. Though I admire Luther, his whole argument of a “gift of celibacy” is badly flawed and has done more harm than good.

      So “celibacy” is the best word to use for what Nick is talking about.

      • Matt,

        I have an issue with the use of the word celibacy that you are describing. Please look for the traditional meaning of the word celibacy or celibate. You don’t need to belong to an order to monks to be celibate under the traditional definition. You’ll see it means not being married. Not having sex when you are single is being chaste. Having sex only with your spouse when married is also being haste.

      • What Rosais trying to say is there is diffenrences between the physical act of of celebacy, and the virtue of or chasity, or purity, which is a matter of the heart.

        One might be physically celebate, but as Jesus said, if a man looks at a woman with lust he commits adultery. He is impure and unchaste.

        The over sexualisation of our culture looks at only intercourse as being a sign of whether or not someone is pure.

        “Have you had sex?” people might ask. ” No, we haven’t.” Might be their response.

        But the matter is also one of the heart. Not having sex outside of a marriage is great. But not having lust in the heart is what jesus is looking for. And what He is aiming for in making us like him.

      • That beig said, every caveot must be made in regards to grace.
        That he is gracious when we do lust and seek forgiveness. Gracious when we have temptations, but look to him for resistance.
        Gracious in everything the cross does for us, in taking the old man and having him die. That we might become the righteousness of God.

        Because on our own, none of us is pure. But with him, with the exchange grace provides, we can be.

        And at the end of things, when you’re a christian, what it comes down to is what does God want.

        Thining someone is good looking is not a sin.

        Covetting is. Lust is.

        And I would say that while maybe not mentally a straight up sin, same sex attractedness (not thinking the same sex is good looking- as you would think a sunset is beautiful- but the sexual desire and attraction to the same sex.) is not how God intended for things to be.

        But we are fallen. Given to lust and pride and un-righteous anger. To differing extents we are given to every thing that is a corruption of something God intended to be good.

        But he is gracious towards fallen man. Gracious to the humble and lowly in spirit. To those who hunger and thirst for righteiousness.

        So if someone is fallen in different ways then you, remember that god is forgiving.

        And also remember that you are fallen. Be it pride, lust, homosexuality, gluttony, idolatry.
        And the only path to not being fallen is not to say you are not fallen,
        But to say you are and give it all to Jesus. To trust that he took all our sin and shame and death,. And in exchage lets us off scot-free and gives us love and life. Remembering our sin and flaws no more.

  6. Hi Nick,

    I must say that in your writing you do use the word celibacy and/or celibate as it should be used. I guess I’m hanged on some many others that do not use this word appropriately. I’m also hanged when I perceive (it is a perception that I have… nothing absolutely solid) that gay people do not consider marriage as a valid vocation for them. It seems that non-Christian gay people ask the question: how can celibacy be a vocation when it is imposed and you really don’t have a choice. But you do have a choice: you could marry a person of the opposite sex. If we don’t see this as a choice then we are giving credibility to our hyper-sexualized society. If it is an scandal to be celibate being gay and married is a greater scandal, it seems to me…

  7. Yes, yes, and yes.

    But, I think people use the term “gay” to mean more than same-sex attraction. To my understanding, the way the culture uses it has a connotation of identity. That’s where I see the real issue. For the believer, it then becomes, “I’m gay, and I’m a Christian,” rather than simply, “I’m a Christian.” Or, as Matthew Vines so aptly puts it, “God and the gay Christian.”

    You don’t hear heterosexual people walking around and saying, “I’m straight, and I’m a Christian.” Or simply, “I’m straight.”

    With regards to the comment on John Murray and limited atonement, I think it would make more sense to do away with the term altogether (see “From Heaven He Came and Sought Her”) so as to avoid confusion and continual correction when people ask about it. The same would apply with using the word gay.

    Thoughts?

    • Anonymous, I agree that often people use “gay” to describe an identity. But I think we have various levels of identity, each with different importance. You might say that some things about me (I’m southern, bookish, etc.) are my identity with a lowercase “i”, but the fact that I am a Christian is my Identity with a capital “I.”

      Along those lines, I am heterosexual and I DO actually say “I’m straight” like you describe. Especially with my unbelieving friends for whom “gay” and “straight” are an easy shorthand for “what gender do you want to date / have sex with / marry” (usually in that order for them, and in a different order for me).

      To me, “do you want to date the same sex or the opposite sex” (what the terms “gay” and “straight” are often used to describe in our culture) is one question, and “does your sexual orientation comprise the whole of your identity” is a different question. I can say “I’m straight,” and also have a conversation about how my ultimate Identity is more than my sexual orientation. And I would assume the same about my friends who prefer to call themselves gay Christians.

    • I’m 100% with you on this one. There’s a good book that I’m in the middle of reading that talks about this: The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are by Jenell Williams Paris.

    • My thoughts would be to wonder if you have as much of an issue with someone who would identify as a “black Christian” or ” a Christian who also has autism”. To me there is little difference so all this hand wringing over adjectives makes me wonder “what is the real play here?

      Homosexuality is not unlike any other minority. Tends to seek others who experience the same.

    • @Anonymous

      In general, members of an in-class don’t refer to themselves by the feature upon which the privilege is conferred. For example, it’s common for people to describe a church as a “black church” if the majority of its regular attenders are black. But one rarely uses the term “white church” to refer to a church whose regular attenders are primarily white.

    • Of course straight people don’t walk around saying “I’m straight!” verbally. They say it in so many other ways.

      I really enjoy this website. One thing I’d like to see is a discussion of the idea of privilege here. I think this understanding is something that is alien to most Christians even though it is critical to being a true Christian.

  8. I guess what I’m getting at is there are many (as proven here in SF) gay people who seek holiness through celibacy, but there are others who are also holly within marriage. If we do not take marriage seriously as a true option for gay people we are feeding the monster of ultra-sexualized society. We are basically saying that you need to feel sexual attraction to your spouse in order to be married. That it is not just a fine aspect but a must. People in mix orientation marriages are downplayed by celibate-chaste gay people as well as sexually active gay people and by heterosexuals too, whether they are married our not. Celibate-chaste gay people don’t think as marriage as an option. This can be viewed as a confirmation of their vocation to celibacy but the problem is that when asked about their vocation, celibate-chaste gay people seem to not consider being married as a real possibility. As an option. This only feeds into the idea of “marriage is about romantic love, sexual attraction, sexual fulfillment etc etc”. This notion fits very well into our hyper-sexual society. In a hyper-sexual society marriage has no meaning other than personal sexual fulfillment, at many levels but it is mostly about sex.

    • Hi Rosa, thanks for your comments! I would certainly NOT want to downplay marriage as a viable option for gay folks, and I heartily celebrate the writers here at SF and elsewhere that are living out mixed orientation marriages to the glory of Christ! I am simply acknowledging here that celibacy is not seen as a viable option in our culture. The discussion of MO marriage for gay people seems like a different post, which folks like Kyle Keating and others have already written so well. I’m sorry if my use of language has made you think I would scoff at mixed orientation marriage. Certainly not my intent!

    • Rosa, Gay and same sex attraction can be viewed in sexual terms, but that is not the end of it. Gay or SSA goes deeper than sex, it is also emotional. I am celebate because it is a sin to act on my natural attraction. I would not marry a woman just to be married because she would not have all of her needs met through me. A woman expects more than agape love in a relationship. Marriage is not a requirement for salvation so not sure why a person is better off to marry rather than to be celebate.

      • You know LRoss… Your comment about a woman with needs that you would not be able to meet made me smile. I’m married to an heterosexual man and I have needs (sexual and otherwise) that he doesn’t meet… And after 20 years I’m almost certain he never will…

      • I am always curious about the denial of the importance of sexual attraction in marriage.
        I am not against mixed orientation marriages. But to say that “all marriages have problems” is a particular type of willful blindness.

      • Andy,,
        I’m not denying the importance of sexual attraction in marriage but I don’t hold it as an absolute value either.
        Thanks for your comment.

    • Rosa, I respect and often agree with your posts, but I have a serious question here.

      I think a poster named Karen K once wrote that she knows a 100% lesbian woman who is in a celibate marriage because she is truly physically unable to have intercourse with her husband. I think she also wrote that when she herself has tried to kiss a man, she has felt nothing at best and nauseous at worst.

      As she has said, those with some degree of bisexuality (which would include many who identify as gay) may be able to pull off a heterosexual marriage. But, the 100% gay would end up in celibate marriages.

      We need to accept that for some, celibacy is an unfortunate necessity. But, that is not a surprise. In Matthew 19:12, Jesus said some are eunuchs from birth. I believe this is shorthand that includes all with no heterosexual attraction.

      But, in the context of all suffering in this world, it is hardly the worst possible cross.

      • Hi Happiness,

        I’m glad to comment on your post. Please bare with me.

        First a note. In this answer wherever I mention marriage is between a man an a woman. In this answer wherever I mention sex is between a man an a woman.

        First, there is no such thing as a “celibate marriage”. There can be a “sexless marriage” but by definition celibate means not married (celibate = not married).

        Second, celibacy, as most anything else in life, can be a blessing or a curse and it all depends in how you live it. Celibacy is not an “unfortunate necessity”. You make it unfortunate or not. I have know people whose life circumstances can be described as hell but they are actually living them in such a way that it becomes heaven. The other way is also true: some people’s circumstances are so good, they have everything you can think of, material and not material stuff and yet they live in hell.

        Third, some women and men, homosexual or heterosexual, can’t have sex because of psychological or physical issues. They still can marry. Marriage is NOT about sex, neither it is about your capacity to have sex or not. As long as you are honest with the other person about your inability to have sex and the other person knows and accept this, you can marry. There are a million good reasons to get married: companionship, growth, intimacy (different than sex) etc etc. We Catholics know that Mary and Joseph were married in a sexless marriage. They were NOT celibate because they were married but they had no sex. And for us Catholics the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary and Joseph) is the model to follow for our families.

        And lastly, yes, Jesus mentions the eunuchs from birth. These are people who can’t have sex but still they can marry. I will always insists: marriage is not about sex. Please don’t get me wrong, sex is for marriage and this is a good thing but marriage is not for sex.

        God bless

    • Hi Rosa,

      I’m actually trying to comment on your response to Happiness1535, but it won’t let me…

      First, I want to say that I’m in a mixed orientation marriage, and it’s nice to know there’s an advocate out there who’s willing to make sure that Christians like me are represented in the discussion on gay chastity.

      However, it does make sense to me that celibacy would receive more focus than marriage would, because I do see it as the sort of default vocation of a gay Christian. They are rare and unique circumstances, I’d say, that lead a couple down the path of a mixed orientation marriage, and considering the high honor that scripture places on celibacy, it would seem rather unnecessary to push too much for something that is really sort of an anomaly.

      In my case, I didn’t go out looking to enter into a marriage; I was pursuing celibacy, when my relationship with my best friend (a woman) developed in such a way that we felt such an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual connection that marriage became something that was on the table for consideration. And even then, it was a messy, messy process leading up to our decision, and the road has been a difficult (though worth it) one on the other side of the wedding day.

      It isn’t just sex that stands as a roadblock in a mixed orientation marriage. This whole thing is really complex, more than I think one can realize from the outside of it. I think the writers at Spiritual Friendship do a pretty good job of giving the two options for gay chastity (from a traditional perspective) the proper amount of exposure. Granted, there’s not a whole lot of advice out there for M O married couples, but I think that’s probably because each one is very different from the next, and probably came about under very different circumstances, for very different reasons. And, well, that’s a whole different discussion, really.

      All that said, I do appreciate your input in the comments sections on SF blog posts. 🙂

      • Hi Mike!

        Believe it or not I did not see your comment until today! Sorry!.

        Yes, I agree with everything you say, and I mean everything. Thanks for expressing it so well.

        I guess my only point (or maybe I’m bold enough to call it an advise) to the SF crowd is that whenever they are asked about celibacy as a vocation they should really mix in their answer the reality that traditional marriage is also available for gay people (under the right circumstances). Their answers sometimes give the impression that gay people are “condemn” to celibacy, that there is no other option. That’s why Nick’s last answer was so refreshing to me.

        God Bless.

  9. I’m trying to do many things at the same time. I’m sorry.

    I don’t think you are downplaying gay people who are married. Your article is very nice at all levels. But can I ask a question of you?

    If asked about your vocation to celibacy, would your answer include a mention to the validity of marriage as an option to you and to gay people at large?

    Thanks Nick.

    • Rosa, absolutely it would. I would say that the two faithful options I see for me would be to enter into a MO marriage, or lifelong celibacy; both are legitimate options. And I would say that I feel that God is calling me to a vocation of celibacy. My only caveat would be that I don’t necessarily think that a vocation of celibacy MUST be lifelong. The Lord has every right to change my calling, bring a specific person into my life, and give me a new vocation of MO marriage sometime down the road. While I don’t think that this is likely, I think it is possible. But I am very happy in my vocation of celibacy while simultaneously celebrating the vocation of MO marriage for others.

      • This is very nice to heard! So refreshing!!! Thank you. I Belive your position to be coherent and healthy. I invite others, gay or not, to understand that there are two options for the vocation of all people: marriage (two persons of different sex) or celibacy. They are viable options for everyone and they both can bring you closer to Christ.

        Thanks Nick!

  10. Now this is a good one! I’ve never thought about the confusion around the term “gay” in light of the confusion around “limited” atonement (which I prefer to call particular redemption) but it’s a great comparison!

    Also, I loved the couple of paragraphs about people assuming gay people are having sex simply because they assume everyone is having sex. I’ve said almost this exact thing to someone in an email correspondence recently, only I think you said it here a little more articulately.

  11. Love this! I am an openly celibate Christian, although my sexuality is actually asexual, not homosexual. I used to pretend to be a lesbian, because everyone, whether in the church or outside, basically told me that celibacy was both a farce and a blanket I was covering myself with in order to ignore the real homosexuality in my life. It was awful! Now, I am openly celibate and am ready to cite scripture to back it up.

    • Hi LM,

      I’m with you. Celibacy is a vocation, not a blanket. I’m glad you are now openly acknowledging your vocation. We need brave people in the Church.

    • @LM

      I did the same thing. I’m also asexual, and mistakenly identified as gay for some time. I knew that I wasn’t straight, so I just assumed that I was gay, even though I never felt any sexual attraction to those of the same sex. But once I came out of the closet and started spending time with actual gay people, I realized that I was also not gay. One day I happened across the AVEN website, and realized, “Hey! This describes me.”

      Even though we’re technically not LGBT, I still think we have a role to play in this discussion. For one, like LGBT people, we too have suffered exclusion at the hands of a church that has improperly valorized heterosexuality and relegated us to being second-class Christians.

  12. @Nick

    I’m not really sure that I follow you here. I think it’s fairly clear to everyone except certain conservative Christians that saying “I’m gay” means that one’s sexual attractions are directed exclusively (or primarily) to persons of the same sex. This is not a novel concept, so I’m a bit suspicious of those who allege confusion over the term.

    For example, I identify as asexual, meaning that I don’t experience sexual attractions to persons of either sex. But that’s not the same as celibacy, although it makes celibacy less of a burden.

    Moreover, I feel like it’s important, for the time being, to use terms that refer to sexual orientation because they assists in identifying the ways in which heterosexuality is unnecessarily privileged in our culture. I don’t believe that one’s sexual orientation ought to be all that important to one’s social identity. But for the last 100 years, we’ve invested immense cultural energies into valorizing and celebrating heterosexuality. So, sexual orientation has become important because those of us non-heterosexuals have been cast aside and excluded. Identifying myself by my sexual orientation is my way of giving voice to the evils of that exclusion and to demand justice in response to it.

    Also, I do agree with you regarding our culture’s Freudian tendency to assume that everything is sexual at its core. In the US, we often do a poor job of distinguishing between sexual orientation, romantic orientation, and interpersonal orientation, aesthetic orientation. That’s why I dislike the term same-sex attracted, as it suggests that there’s something wrong with feeling any kind of attractions–even non-sexual attractions–to those of the same sex. For example, I’m asexual, but am romantically attracted exclusively to women (my opposite sex), interpersonally attracted exclusively to men, and am aesthetically attracted to both men and women.

  13. How can people deliberately refuse to use the common definition of an English word and still be considered to be acting in good faith?

    Is anyone else–besides conservative Christians–“confused” about this word?

    Why must we indulge them?

  14. I think there is a generational component to the use of the word ‘gay’ that cannot be ignored. Persons 35 and older, I believe, hold a common perception that the use of the word gay connotes sexual activity, where younger persons have shed this part of the definition.
    We should indulge them, and take the time to explain, because they are a large part of the body that needs to become literate and engaged in this important topic.

  15. hi Nick,

    thanks for your stimulating thoughts, though I have to admit that I’m skeptical about them.

    first, according to your solution celibacy for hetero people is an option while celibacy for gay people is a definite must. but celibacy in the Bible, as far as I know, is connected to someone who wants to live a certain, religiously, dedicated life – somewhat like a calling. a hetero can choose his celibacy, but a gay has to. to be equal celibacy has to be must even for heterosexuals. if they will suffer because of this, maybe they would think different about homosexuals.
    second, I think you’re in a way right in saying, that we live in a sexualized world. but even the testimonies from the Bible indicate – in part very strongly – that sexuality was always an issue to which celibacy wasn’t proposed as a solution.
    third, to propose celibacy in the way you seem to do, in a provocing way, in a just-being-different-way, for me it seems to me close to the strategy of our world being obsessed with ads and the search for uniqueness.

    I think, what we are called for is originality. and we do find examples of originality in the Bible, especially Jesus.
    Jesus is talking to a pharisee, Nikodemus. and those were the “biblicist” scholars of their time. to him he says, “You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
    in using this picture of the wind in face of a biblicistic scholar, Jesus – so it seems to me very strongly – is indicating that you have to somehow get rid of tradition and the run for fulfulling expectations.
    for this Jesus is an example: he broke the sabbat in healing two people. in a village where a woman could marry four times and live together with a man unmarried, Jesus is not talking about sin or judgement, just about spiritual thirst and worship in truth. (to a woman caught in adultery he said, that she shall not sin again, though he spares her from getting stoned.) Jesus is THE example for a live driven by God’s love.
    as far as I can remember there are just two cases where Jesus is very harsh and clear about condemnation; against the rich (who we are who won’t have to concern about next day’s food – as the Lord’s prayer says) and against those who don’t see God in Jesus or Jesus as God or his words as godly.
    the way I see Jesus’ appearance, it is criticism of his own religion as empasizing obedience and and subjection to false rituals and rules, and criticism of social circumstances. (then why is our religion mainly emphasizing conformity?)
    what then, what about a gay living out his sexuality in a respectful way towards his or her partner, but doesn’t give much on his/her money, is concerned with the poor and injustice, who accepts Jesus as her/his God? is he or she living a reborn life, a life compared to the wind?
    this picture seems to indicate that verbal obedience to the Bible is not the way to salvation, neither is it to do justice to religious expectations, but that we confess our sins and that it be become manifest that our deeds, our good deeds, are done in the sight of God.
    to be like the wind, in the sense of being reborn, allows originality (as an alternative to conformity and excentricity).

    best regards,
    J.A.

    • Hi,

      If you read the comments you will see that celibacy is not the only option for a gay person. Marriage is also and option, but I mean a marriage between a man and a woman. Gay people can and do marry members of the opposite sex and this is an option just as celibacy is.

  16. Enjoyed this piece very muchly! In fact, Many of your thoughts here reflect some of my own which I have written about as a celibate woman.

    What only a few of us are seeing and realizing in thie sex war is far, far from being acknowledged outside of the circles of those who are celibate. My background is grounded in historically reformed circles and trying to have the discussion of single celibacy with folks like Russ Moore or other ERLC or BMWC folks is like participating in a death match. These people actually view marriage and sex as equivalent to the gospel. Until they get right, celibacy will be a scandal inside and outside of the church.

    Anyway, thank you so much for putting this so clearly.

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  20. ‘Gay’ is a word that will probably never have a universal definition. It has too many overtones…or undertones.

    People like me who became Christians after living years as a promiscuous gay guy will have a hard time divorcing the idea of ‘having sex’ from the term. But I also use the word to denote what I call the ‘gay existential self-awareness’ that exists even where there is no sexual activity involved.

    I have found that whether or not to use the term ‘gay’ depends a lot on the audience. Not everyone hears what we intend them to hear when using the word. So we have to be careful not to cause unnecessary misunderstanding or to contend too much for our preferred terminology.

    The important thing of course is to try to promote understanding for those who think of ‘gay’ primarily in terms of behavior. I think Spiritual Friendship has done that to some extent, as has you article here.

    But there’s still a lot of work to be done because there is still so much misunderstanding among Christians on this issue.

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