2017: Family, Friendship, and Celibacy: A Gospel-Centered Conversation on Homosexuality
Today our country feels intensely divided and the Church reflects that reality. However, the Body of Christ is called to share a common life like that of the early church above from the Book of Acts. The greatest roadblock to that unity, from the very beginning of the Church, is found in the ways we divide ourselves according to the viewpoints of the societies we come from.
The decision by the US Supreme Court to legalize same sex marriage has left the Body of Christ in division over issues surrounding the ethics of love and sexuality. But the very real relationships many of us have with those who are not heterosexual show that the work of proclaiming the Gospel to the whole world isn’t as easy as simply holding the right opinions.
- How are we being faithful, as Christ’s Body, to Jesus’ reputation of speaking God’s Truth but not limiting His love to those who “really deserve it”?
- How can we honor relationships with family members or close friends who are Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual or Transgender, while also being honest about the truths Scripture reveals about God’s intentions for creation and for His people?
- How can we be faithful to the Gospel and traditions of the Church and yet full of real love for those who are in the LGBTQ community?
- How can the Church love and encourage those in its midst who love Jesus and yet have only ever known an attraction to those of their same sex?
For this year’s Cross and Culture we have invited noted speakers, Ron Belgau and his mother Beverley Belgau, who have first hand experience living the answers to many of the questions listed above. Two years ago Pope Francis invited Ron and Beverley to speak at the World Celebration of Families in Philadelphia where they shared their experience of Ron coming to terms both with his sexuality and his faith to over 2000 people. Ron is also friends with Wesley Hill, and together they started a website called Spiritual Friendship, as a resource for Christians who are not heterosexual and for the Church. Here is how Ron describes himself and why he speaks on the topic:
“I have become more open about being a celibate gay Christian because I want to combat the shame that young men and women who are coming to terms with their sexuality often feel in Christian circles. I want them to be able to be known by their friends, family members, pastors, and others who are close to them.”