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Porn shaming

Recently I’ve had friends send me some conservative Christian screeds on the terrible horribleness of pornography (examples 1, 2, 3, and 4). The amount of porn shaming that happens in conservative Christian circles wasn’t obvious to me for a long time. I had friends in the past who complained about the shaming they went through for porn, but I’ve never watched much porn (it’s not really my thing, every now and then it sounds fun but that’s about it) so it was never on my radar. Continue reading

Reflection: Is there an argument for God’s existence?

The other night I got into one of those internet “black holes” where you endlessly click from one link on a site to the next. Somewhere along the way, I came across this post from J. Cecil’s Progressive Catholic Reflections (a seemingly defunct blog) in which the author offers some defenses of the existence of God from well established philosophers with some commentary on the weaknesses of the arguments. It was brief, but still fascinating. One thing that caught my attention was the section from Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae. I read this section of the Summa when I was exploring Catholicism, and I thought of it then as a pretty solid defense of the existence of God. Of course, I was coming at it from the assumption that God exists. Here’s the passage: Continue reading

Experiential religion in an ideological world

I want to start with two passages from the Christian scriptures; the first is from the Gospel of Matthew:

..the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Continue reading

Just How Controversial Are Celibate Gay and Lesbian People?

Here’s more on the subject I discussed yesterday.

Bondings 2.0

This past Sunday, The Washington Post printed a story about the growing movement of celibate lesbian and gay Christians.  One of the leaders of this movement is Eve Tushnet, a convert to Catholicism who recently published a book on celibacy and friendship entitled Gay and Catholic.

Eve Tushnet

For the record, I have not read Tushnet’s book yet, but I have read other things that she has written and heard her speak. In some ways, I find her to be a very credible spokesperson for celibacy because, while embracing the orthodox Catholic position for lesbian and gay people, she never insists that everyone embrace this option.  She remains non-judgmental about lesbian and gay people who choose to be part of a committed sexual relationship.  Her primary form of argument is to explain why celibacy is a life-giving option for herself.  I applaud both her free decision to choose celibacy and…

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Forced gay celibacy…why?

As I’ve mentioned before, the Church’s treatment of LGBTQ people played a big role in my gradual fall away from the Church (of which I am still formally a member). After I became Catholic, I got to know a few people who identify as “celibate gays” – they fully acknowledge their sexual orientation but live “fully in accordance with the Church’s teaching on homosexuality” (that is, homosexual orientation is totally fine, but any and all gay sex acts are necessarily abominable to God).  Coming from Evangelicalism, it was quite refreshing to see sexual orientation acknowledged as being real and that it was okay to identify as gay – very different from what I observed in Evagelicalism (case in point: some discomfort over Wheaton College hiring a celibate gay woman because she identifies as “gay”).

LGBTQ celibates have become a visible and vocal group within conservative Christianity in the last few years – the Washington Post even recently ran an article about these people. This gay celibacy movement is diverse – from chaste coupling to monasticism to singleness. But, as I’ve observed this growing movement, I’ve been growing largely uncomfortable with it. In response to the Washington Post article, Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington (D.C.) wrote a long-winded reflection on it: Continue reading

Getting out of life alive

If you want to know what it feels like to be under a power, it is exactly to be possessed by the desire to get out of life alive…

-Stanley Hauerwas

First, I will acknowledge that Hauerwas goes on to say that Christianity is the alternative to this subjection, which is basically the opposite of what I’m about to say. But, I like this quote, and it’s an idea that Hauerwas repeats often – that like modern approaches to medicine, American Christianity tries to offer “getting out of life alive,” which is of course impossible. None of us will get out of life alive, but we often do whatever we can to escape that reality. Continue reading