Updates to STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT
- Updated the Articles & Essays page to include “Focus on Which Family?” by Branson Parler
- Updated the What I Believe page after gaining a greater appreciation for The Heidelberg Catechism and to include a link to the Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality
- Updated the Definition of Terms page because of my serious reservations about the graphic from First Stones Ministries, which I’ve hesitatingly included
- Updated the Online Resources page to include Branson Parler: With and Against the Grain
- Updated the Twitter page to include @BransonParler
“Much (certainly not all) evangelical opposition to homosexuality does boil down to bigotry in the absence of any coherent theological account of what sex difference and sexual union is for.”
“Why is the command to love God, the first and greatest commandment, left out of these discussions so often? . . . Loving God isn’t less important just because it isn’t an area of common ground with non-believers. . . . Marriage is deeper than a commitment between two humans to love one another. It is a way to honor and worship God by living the way that He ordained in creation. It is an image of our ultimate marriage to Christ in the age to come. And sex outside these bounds is an affront to God, like idolatry.”
When I ask my Catholic friends about me dating other guys, I have to know whether their concerns are coming from a perspective of “you’re dating this person” or “you’re dating a guy.” I have to know whether the primary issue is “he’s not nice to you” or “he’s a dude,” whether the concern is “you’re neglecting your friends” or “he’s a dude,” whether it’s “this doesn’t seem to be helping you with chastity” or “he’s a dude.” . . . We often underestimate the influence of desire over understanding. . . .
I’ve been listening to advice with the presumption that I was having a conversation about my relationship. Instead, I’ve gotten the prerecorded message that just happens to come out of the lips in front of me. The advice comes from the vision of someone who doesn’t want it to work, a very different moral atmosphere from someone who might hope for something. The decision’s been made, and there isn’t really a realm of possibility to explore.
“Every fall into love involves the triumph of hope over self-knowledge.”
–Alain de Botton
Chris Damian for the win this week! “It makes sense that we would want to idolize the image of God. . . . An openness to relationship might help relieve the burden of our erotic energies that we put into porn. I think of the gay men I know who have problems with pornography, and I wonder whether their churches’ condemnations of “same-sex relationships” (whatever that even means) contribute to their unhealthy sexual habits, rather than resolve them. And I wonder whether such relationships might not just relieve the longing for pornography but also make the experience of celibacy come alive.”
Also check out Chris’s followup post, “Catholicism, Pornography, and Homosexuality.”
I love this! ‘The reason I differ with affirming LGBT+ people is not because of a need to say, “No,” to their desire for a nuclear family, but because we all need to say, “Yes!” to something greater. . . . We are not sin Nazis; we are oneness champions who recognize sin prevents us from oneness, from ultimate inclusion, and from ultimate family.’
“The average hermeneutic and rhetorical moves of those who affirm same-sex marriage are aimed at loosening the historic view of marriage, but they don’t often outline a more constructive hermeneutic that explains why you would stop at the notion of monogamous marriage. . . . Having a high view of Scripture doesn’t insure that you will avoid false teaching on matters essential to the faith.”
“Friendship is important and should be a two-way street, but sometimes you have to humble yourself and be the pursuer for an extended season. . . . As a Christian that has been invited into this New Covenant, I have a lot of liberties, but my liberties are not my cornerstone, Jesus is. . . . When it comes to marriage, friendship, blood family, and neighbors we can choose to pursue those things or not. However, we must all be careful to not make the pursuit of any of those relationships our central source of hope, life, and joy.”
I don’t agree with everything in this post, but I do agree with this: “Being inclined towards actions which go against God’s plan for us is not unique to persons who live with SSA; it is a universal experience of the human condition, brought about by original sin. . . . Nonetheless, the intrinsic dignity of each person remains intact (SSA or not), as does the promise of Redemption for those who respond to the call to seek forgiveness.”
Can we even know what spiritual friendship is until we understand God’s love?
“I love the global Church, but we do NOT do a great job being unified. I often find more disagreements between other Christians than LGBT individuals. I often find myself more nervous to have a deep discussion with another Christian than with an LGBT individual.”
“If telling someone I’m gay allows me to be a light in their life, then I will do it. If saying I am SSA Side B allows me to be a light in their life, I will do that as well. At the end of the day, my desires are secondary to the Great Commission, God’s call on the life of every Christian.” Amen to that!
On Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding: “That there may be a connection between the kind of love that gives us the misty-eyed shivers (even when we’re only watching it unfold on TV) and the love that is the wellspring of creation itself—and that goes on to reshape entire societies—is the kind of thought that most of us, much of the time, ignore or disbelieve. It seems too grandiose, too metaphysical. To have it proclaimed with evident conviction, fervor, and fist-pumping cadence was to find ourselves, for a moment, confronted and beguiled by the fact that it just might be true.”
And on Lesslie Newbigin: “Love’s power is not so much something we bring about in the world by imitating Jesus, as something anchored in and energized by what Jesus has already perfected without our aid. Our efforts don’t usher in the kingdom of love; they rather attest to its arrival.”
The pastoral career of André Trocmé serves as the vehicle for a reflection on the definition of marriage within the Anglican Communion. ‘Trocmé liked to speak of “absolutes” — and in the case of nonviolence, he considered this to be an “absolute.” I do not like the term, for various reasons. But if I were to use it, I would certainly apply it to the reality of marriage between a man and a woman: this is an “ontological absolute.” . . . As a conscientious objector, Trocmé was clear that he was no better than those who rejected his position: knowing the truth is only a part of the truth; one must also live it fully, and no one but Jesus can ever do this. Thus, even those who think they are right have no business thinking that, more broadly, they are more right than anyone else.’
This is some good writing! “Fear and faith seemed to have reawakened within me in conjunction. . . . Being awakened to this existential kind of loneliness concerned me that perhaps the best sort of living was the kind where I slipped back into a life of compulsive distraction and superficiality. . . . I didn’t find a one-line answer to the concerns I had for my life during that time, but in hindsight, those times contributed to me discovering a deep sense of peace in Jesus and a recognition of the echos this world still has of Eden despite it often feeling like a dump. . . . In Jesus, by his friendship with me and the friendship he granted to me in others, I discovered a beautiful and transcendent mosaic which birthed a hope I never expected to find . . .”
Most of the growth of friendship occurs in the mundane. It grows as we spend time together, doing simple things together, facing disappointments together, eating together, and telling stories together. Most of the big moments of friendship only happen because of the myriad of other little moments we’ve had with them. And while we may have some very valuable and intimate moments with those we care most deeply about, it’s often an ordinary but faithful routine with another that makes up the beautiful mosaic we share with them.
A homily on Galatians 5:15-26, preached at the Trinity School for Ministry Baccalaureate service, May 11, 2018.
“There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”
“De-conversion stories are designed not to reach non-Christians but to reach Christians. And their purpose is to convince them that their outdated, naïve beliefs are no longer worthy of their assent. A person simply shares his testimony of how he once thought like you did but have now seen the light.”
Poetry by Kevin Slusher
Two heartbreaking short poems by one of my favorite people.