Lecture on Homosexuality Now Available

Since, as you know, I try to avoid controversy as much as possible and simply repeat bromides and other crowd-pleasers all I can, I’m letting you know that Regent Audio has put up on the Net a long (2.5 hours) lecture on homosexuality by your servant.

The lecture originally came at the end of a course on the Theology of Culture and indicates the sort of ethical reasoning I outline in Making the Best of It: Following Christ in the Real World (OUP, 2008). The lecture has the rough edges of a classroom discussion, and I certainly wish I had put various elements of it better than I did. But since I have been asked for this teaching a number of times, especially since it ranges beyond sexual ethics per se to matters of pastoral practice and public policy and yet does so in less than three hours (!), I offer it for what it’s worth.

(According to Regent Audio, it’s worth six bucks. Caveat emptor!)

0 Responses to “Lecture on Homosexuality Now Available”

  1. Andrew

    Thanks for posting that this is available. Our church is just now beginning a process of discussion with the local school board as they propose a new policy in dealing with “LGBTQ+” individuals.

  2. Joel Short

    Thanks for sharing this. I appreciated most of your thoughts, but I was surprised to hear you say “healthy sexuality is very important in the Bible.” It’s certainly true that the Bible talks a lot about sex, but I don’t sexual health is its top priority. I’m thinking of the Mosaic law permitting polygamy, requiring brothers-in-law to marry childless widows, and instructing rapists to marry their victims. Sexual laws in the Bible are generally quite pragmatic and instrumental. (And thus quite specific to the time and culture to which they were given.)

    So yes, the Bible does seem pretty strongly opposed to gay sex, but I don’t really appreciate it’s reasoning, which seems to boil down to 1) God doesn’t like it, and 2) it threatens the smooth functioning of society.

    The latter doesn’t seem to be very true anymore, despite the protests of the American religious right. The former certainly gives me pause as a Christian, but isn’t very satisfying as an explanation.

  3. Drew

    I’ve read some of your other blog entries on this subject and purchased and listened to your lecture on the subject. I do appreciate your compassionate, balanced and thoughtful perspective. Intellectually, I find myself in synch with a lot of what you say.

    However, I grow increasingly weary of the debate and the intellectualizing. I’m a gay 50 year old man, entering the 3rd act of his life with, I fear, only the remnants of a formerly deeply rooted and orthodox faith. I believe my life has been tremendously impacted by the lack of relational “fuel” that familial relations provide.

    I also believe that those who enjoy a committed spousal relationship and the relationships that ripple out from that usually have only a dim idea of how positively challenging, energizing, maturing,and civilizing those bonds are because they are second nature.

    “Loneliness doesn’t have to be the gay person’s life, just as it doesn’t have to be the life of anyone struggling with personal difficulties.” This sounds fine as do some of the concluding thoughts of your audio lecture but the reality is even good Christians friends really aren’t willing to enter into the kind of mutual, committed long term relationships that begin to address that horrible void.

    I’m not sure what I believe anymore but I’m pretty certain I’m not willing to sacrifice the remainder of my life on the altar of single celibacy. This sacrifice doesn’t appear to do fellow Christians any good other than to bolster a certain vague sense of smugness about their theology. And tucked away in their own little homes, living their busy lives it’s all too apparent they don’t really want what I have to offer anyway.

    • John Stackhouse

      Brother Drew, thanks for this candid and courteous response. I do sympathize with anyone who is lonely, growing up lonely as I did and feeling loneliness at times quite acutely even when I do have the remarkable blessings of a fine wife and three terrific sons.

      Middle-aged men, such as we are, are notorious in the social science literature for the few (= usually none) friendships we have, friendships that aren’t just “hockey teammates” or “drinking buddies” or “card game regulars” but relationships in which people actually call or e-mail just because they want to connect. Relationships in which we talk about what abidingly matters, not just “the news.” Relationships in which we follow up with each other: “Say, how DID that go? What DID happen after all?” particularly because we pray for each other in between conversations.

      Friend David Bentall has written a book for guys like us, The Company You Keep, and more of us need sustaining friendships–whether we’re straight or gay, celibate or chaste or promiscuous.

      I hope you won’t stop trying to be a friend, Drew, and inviting other people, men and women, into friendship. The cultural tide is against us: we’re all so busy with work and our Most Significant Other(s) that we keep ourselves cut off from some of what we need most. But you get it, and I hope you’ll help other people get it, too!

      • Drew

        Thanks, John. I do appreciate your response.

        I’m afraid I haven’t the energy left anymore to invest so heavily in something which has proven consistently to provide little return. So, I’ll be focusing my resources on finding a long time partner (while remaining open to significant friendships), being well aware what that may cost me.

        I don’t doubt that happily and healthily married people experience times of loneliness and I don’t want invalidate your feelings. I’m also not the type that feels that only those who have walked in my shoes have truth to speak into my life. Having said that, I think those with spouses and families are often unaware what benefits those relationships bring to their lives because are so deeply woven into the warp and woof of their existence: the touch, the look, the word, the cry, the pain, even just the very presence – bringing encouragement, motivation, challenge, safety into one’s life. The fuel of life.

        So, again, the theory sounds wonderful. The idea of a genuine Christian community hinted at in the New Testament sounds great but the reality it is my “fuel” is not in high demand. It is perhaps not entirely unwanted but certainly not needed and I can’t carry on much longer without “fuel” of my own.

        I will check out the reference that you listed and I do wish you the best as you seek out more meaningful friendships and seek to grow the ones you have.

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