Wesley Hill in his book, Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian, poses the following question, “Perhaps celibate gay and lesbian Christians, precisely in and out of their celibacy, are called to express, rather than simply renounce and deny, same-sex love. And perhaps this is where, for all the potential trials and temptations that come with this way of thinking, same-sex friendship represents one way for gay Christians who wish to be celibate to say: “I am embracing a positive calling. I am, along with every other Christian, called to love and be loved.” As Anne Kennedy notes in her article, “This is the central, pressing concern of the Spiritual Friendship movement. How same-sex attracted Christians order their relationships increasingly touches on today’s fluid assumptions about identity, acceptance, and belonging. The issues underscored by Hill deserve to be studied and understood. Their answers carry immense spiritual and practical implications for Christian doctrine, worship, and community life. While I am sorely sympathetic to the desires of same-sex attracted Christians and their need for family and belonging, I believe that the proponents of modern-day spiritual friendship disorder the precious mystery of friendship. In collapsing the good desire for home and belonging with the wrong one for familial and even romantic intimacy with the same sex, the Spiritual Friendship movement, relying as it does on categories derived from the Sexual Revolution and postmodernism, devalues the institution of marriage and wanders into self-defeating contradiction.”
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with JOURNAL author Anne Kennedy about her online-exclusive article, “Spiritual Friendship: Temptation or Belonging?” and the above questions and issues.
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