A conversation with three Jesus followers who are living a vocation of celibacy
With so many competing narratives around sexuality and gender today, both inside and outside the church, Christian leaders can easily feel confused about how to care for the LGTBQ+ people in their midst. They need a safe place to ask questions of queer people from all walks of life, including those who are among the most marginalized of all—sexual minorities who embrace the traditional theology on sexuality but who are so often misunderstood, unseen and/or poorly used by the church.
Regardless of your theological position—or confusion—on these matters, we want to offer you the chance to meet and deepen your insights into Christians who identify as queer (or gay, or “same-sex attracted”) and are following the call they sense on their lives—a call to lean into the vocation of celibacy.
- What is celibacy, and why would anyone pursue it?
- How is celibacy a “vocation”?
- How do the experiences of celibate queer people compare to and differ from those of heterosexual single people in the church?
- What gifts do celibate Christians bring to the church?
- What do celibate Christians most need from the church?
- How can churches be more inclusive, life-giving communities for people from all walks of life, regardless of marital status, economic background, ethnicity, sexuality or gender?
Bethany is a multiracial (Latina and White) queer/SSA (same-sex attracted) woman who was born in Central America as a missionary kid. She moved to the States at a young age, spent a portion of her life in the Midwest Bible Belt, moved to the East Coast for college, and has been working as a campus minister with university students for the past 5 years. She is an Elder in her church and is committed to following Jesus with her entire life. In fact, she is currently exploring a new calling to unreached people groups overseas!
During college Bethany began to explore her sexuality and attraction to women for the first time. It was Christians who walked with her in her journey, offering grace in place of self-condemnation and freedom in place of shame. While she would say that sexuality is not her entire identity, she has met Jesus deeply in the journey and has a passion to walk with others and share what the Lord has done and is doing in her life.
Henry lives in the great state of Texas! He lives his life as a celibate gay man in order to adhere to how he sees scripture and church teaching. He is originally from Kenya and moved to the States when he was 9.
Henry believes that shared DNA is the last thing that makes someone family. He has “tons” of chosen family—he is actively involved in their life and they in his. His friendships are the most important thing to him outside of Jesus and the church.
He’s on the leadership team for men’s ministry/equipping at his church, a lay leader role that he finds both challenging and rewarding.
Henry loves hosting dinner parties weekly and throwing a few big social events each year. Gathering people from all walks of life and bringing them to a table to get to know one another is a passion of his. This is why he is so drawn to this webinar. In today’s society, we see a lot of arguing but very little dialogue—so he sees this as an opportunity to equip those in ministry with his story, as the Lord sees fit.
Peter is a pastor in Canada. He is a celibate gay Christian, and disclosed that information to his church a few years ago. He has a Masters of Divinity and Bachelor of Arts in Theology. Peter participates in a lot of dialogues and panels and presentations on LGBTQ+ matters and the church.
He desires for churches to address the prejudice, shame, and loneliness that LGBTQ+ people experience and for churches to understand that these painful experiences are often caused by churches. Peter also desires for churches to have a positive and more inclusive understanding of singleness, and an understanding of how singleness is vital for healthy churches, marriages, and families.
Even though he enjoys being a part of these important conversations, he would prefer just to drink a cup of fine coffee and study historical theology (especially post-Reformation dogmatics).
This 90-minute webinar was recorded on April 14, 2020, engaging a delightfully open conversation with three Jesus followers who generously agreed to share their individual stories, respond to questions, and engage in conversation with each other and attendees. To watch, please register ($10 fee) by clicking on the button below.
The need for confidentiality is addressed by our panelists at the beginning of the webinar, but we need you to understand now that by registering for this webinar, you are promising not to record, download, screen-grab, share your registration/password, or distribute the webinar content without express of permission of CSA/Oriented to Love. For the privacy and protection of our panelists, by your participation, you agree to keep the identity of the panelists and the content of the session in total confidence.
Other webinars of interest (click to register to watch the recording):
- Gender, Jesus, and the Body of Christ: A Conversation with Christians who have transgender or intersex experiences
- Gay Marriage in the Body of Christ: A conversation with two same-sex married couples who love Jesus (FREE)
- Parenting Queer Kids: A conversation with Christian parents about the joys & challenges of raising and relating to their LGBTQ children
- Gender Exploration, Identity, and Expression in the Body of Christ
- Law, Religious Liberty & LGBTQ Lives in America: A conversation about recent federal nondiscrimination policy decisions and their real-world implications (FREE)
- Members of the Same Body: A conversation with theologically diverse LGB Christians