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  • Marco Casanova and Abbey Foard

Courage of Our Convictions #2

“I will never move someplace without Nick, and Nick won’t move anywhere without me. When Nick dates he lets women know, ‘Hey, this guy’s my best friend, he’s my brother, but he’s also gonna be part of my household. So I can’t pursue a marriage that wouldn’t make room for that.”[1]  -‘Gay’-identified Art Pereira, Director of Events and Partnerships for Revoice, on his committed friendship with a ‘straight’ man.


“Gay Christian” movements like Revoice are gaining momentum in the Church.  And both Catholic and evangelical pastors are going with the flow. It’s appealing: insist on a biblical ethic (no sex outside marriage) but give LGBTQ+ persons the freedom to ‘be’ who they are on the rainbow spectrum. No undue expectations, no boast in the Cross or Kingdom: just love, love love—and the ‘queering’ of Christianity.

 

Disturbing? This pastoral approach for LGBTQ+ identified persons splits biblical ethics from biblical personhood—who each one is in truth as a man or woman created as ‘gift’ for friendship and marital partnerships.  

 

These movements are represented by Revoice, Preston Sprinkle, and Eden Invitation (a Catholic parallel). They believe that God blesses queer identity but not gay sex. Accept that God “made you like this”[2] and loves you “as you are.”[3] Accept your felt LGBTQ+ orientation as something God is probably not interested in delivering you from and that celibacy is a hard but necessary concession.[4]  Acknowledge that “gay” is the best way of describing your persistent, unchangeable, God-blessed orientation.[5]

 

Wait a moment. Aren’t LGBTQ+ inclinations disordered?[6] Why would a pastor bless that inclination as someone’s true self?

We at DSM/LW pass no judgment on the depth and difficulty of sexual identity conflicts. But we will not morally neutralize homosexuality or transgenderism. That sows deception and confusion in the lives of earnest Christians.

 

We cannot separate personhood from our moral actions.

 

If we don’t remain oriented to God’s vision, we get weird. We try to fit our emotional and sexual longings into strange couplings—what “gay” Christians call “celibate partnerships” or “committed friendships.”

 

The language can sound reasonable enough. (Celibate. Friendship.) But how do rainbow Christians work this out?

 

We draw from their own words:

 

Preston Sprinkle’s Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender describes celibate partnership as being many things, including “a lifelong non-sexual commitment between two same-sex friends…who live in the same home and function as a single household”.[7] “Some avoid romance within their relationship, others embrace non-sexual romance…[including] cuddling, kissing and holding hands.”[8]

 

Lifelong? Commitment? Non-sexual romance? (Confused?)

 

Enmeshed, exclusive, emotionally dependent relationships are not chaste. We are naive if we nudge two same-sex individuals to enjoy “everything but sex” and think this serves them well.

Call it emotional foreplay. We see it as a “near occasion of sin” and we’re troubled by the lack of vision it gives struggling Christians.

 

Eve Tushnet, Catholic Revoice speaker, began as a Catholic celibate, but now glowingly speaks of her lesbian partnership[9] as an end in itself, declaring: “If you see us out and about, including at Mass, you’ll likely guess that we are a lesbian couple. We are!”[10]

 

There is a similar confusion in the Catholic group, Eden Invitation. Despite professed faithfulness to a Christian ethic they, like the Revoice camp, don’t cast the entire vision. They welcome LGBTQ+ identification and offer confusing messages about how to handle LGBTQ+ feelings/ experiences.

 

In their resources for pastoral care, they say: “We omit sources that focus heavily on ‘change’ or ‘healing’ of sexual orientation. Eden Invitation respects the Church's teaching on the enduring reality of concupiscence (i.e. the tendency towards sin). We believe, along with the unchanging teaching of the Catholic Church, that the true hope of the believer is found in union with God in Heaven, not in the pursuit of eradicating temptation in this life.”[11] 

 

We agree, in part. Life is all about union with God and a daily choice to navigate temptation well. But aren’t we called and enabled by Jesus and friends to become who we are? Revoice, Eden Invitation, and Sprinkle give LGBTQ+-identified men and women a “pass” from the work of sexual integration.

 

What a low ceiling. We love our brothers and sisters and have great patience for all the fits and starts towards integration.  But we find serious error in believing that God encourages anyone to peacefully embrace an LGBTQ+ “self,” whether gay, lesbian, transgender or in a mixed/ queer-orientation marriage.

 

Calling all pastors! Please refuse the “gay” Christian movement that blesses rainbow selves while upholding “no sex please,” a flimsy orthodoxy at best. That defies the Gospel essence—His Kingdom come. Jesus Christ and community unite broken lives into whole enough expressions of man and womanhood while enabling us to reserve physical intimacy for marriage.

 

Give every person the dignity of a deeper, higher biblical vision. We can act in accord with who we are.


Join Marco and Abbey on Desert Streaming as they dive deeper into their blog. Watch here or listen on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.


[1] Preston Sprinkle. “Finding Intimacy and Community As a Celibate Gay Christian: Art Pereira.” Youtube, March 16, 2023. https://youtu.be/eth4TmrnJWY?si=jt-aaUppixoD_rOG&t=1958

[2] Delia Gallagher and Hada Messia, “Pope Francis tells gay man: ‘God made you like that and loves you like that,” CNN.com, last update May 21, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/21/europe/pope-francis-gay-comments-intl/index.html 

[3] Pope tells transgender person: 'God loves us as we are', Reuters.com, last update July 25, 2023,

[4] Preston Sprinkle. “Gay, Christian, Celibate: An Evening with Wesley Hill.” Youtube, August 13, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk9Nmrk2Wzo

[5] Rachel Gilson and Greg Coles. “Sexuality and Terminology.” 2020.  https://watch.revoice.org/videos/greg-coles-rachel-gilson-terminology

[6] Cardinal Ratzinger knew that the Church needed pastoral clarity on these issues, lest people give “benign interpretation…to the homosexual condition…call[ing] it neutral, or even good.” He speaks clearly: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.” Joseph Ratzinger. “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.” 1 October, 1986. https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html

[7] Gregory Coles, “Understanding Celibate Partnerships and Committed Friendships,” The Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender, 1.

[8] Ibid, 2.

[9] Eve Tushnet, “The King Of Love My Shepherd Is: Some Thoughts That Are Gay And Also Happy,” www.patheos.com, last update March 17, 2023,

[10] Eve Tushnet, “Hope Is The Thing With Feather Boas: Two Small Gay Catholic Thoughts,” www.patheos.com, last update January 30, 2023, https://www.patheos.com/blogs/evetushnet/2023/01/hope-is-the-thing-with-feather-boas-two-small-gay-catholic-thoughts.html

 

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