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Current Conversation: 
Christian Faithfulness and Human Sexuality 

Current Topic: 
Biology, Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology 

Upcoming Topic:  
Same-Sex Marriage: Policy and Constitutional Framework (October 2015) 

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Current Conversation:  Christian Faithfulness and Human Sexuality

Topic #3: Biology, Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology (September 2015)

Conversation Partners:

  • Christopher Grace, Professor of Psychology & Director, Center for Marriage and Relationships, Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University
  • David Myers, Professor of Psychology, Hope College

Leading Question: “What is your understanding of the best findings from the academic disciplines of biology, anthropology, psychology and sociology relative to same-sex attraction, sexual orientation, and sexual behavior for human beings?”

Postings from “conversation partners” are scheduled for September 1, 10 and 20 (presented below with the latest post on top)

For postings on all previous topics, go to Overview and click on "All Postings" for a given topic.

REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF SUBMITTED COMMENTS: Before submitting a comment on a given posting, please review our “Guidelines for Conversation” for our expectations for respectful engagement with those with whom you may disagree.

Science and Same-Sex Orientation and Behavior: Is the Evidence Really That Neat and Tidy?

Integration is more than a mere academic exercise. It is enthroning Christ as King in every aspect of creation and every sphere of human endeavor, finding expression in our hearts and our conduct.

Science done well—by scholars committed to objectivity and free from obvious bias and political agendas—produces the best findings, which are then published in peer-reviewed academic journals.

Here are some findings that I find noteworthy relative to this blog topic

Click to read more ...

Most Are Straight, Some Are Gay, And Why It Is That Way: The Science and Future of Sexual Orientation

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided, but what do you think: Should same-sex marriages “be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?”

In 2015, a record 60 percent of Americans told Gallup, yes; only 37 percent said no. This flip from the 37/59 percent split a decade earlier (and from the 27/68 percent split of 1996), represents an astonishing transformation of public opinion. This momentum of gay support will likely continue as gay friends and relatives continue coming out, and as attitudes follow behavior (with same-sex marriage now the law of the land).

Click to read more ...

Topic #2: Biblical Understandings (August 2015)

Conversation Partners:

  • Mark Strauss, University Professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary San Diego
  • James Brownson, James and Jean Cook Professor of New Testament Western Theological Seminary

Leading Question: What is your understanding of biblical/theological teachings relevant to issues being raised by Christians who identify themselves as members of the LGBT community?

Interpreting Scripture, Round 3

I am grateful for this conversation with Dr. Strauss.  It helps me to see the more clearly those areas that still need work, and more particularly, those areas that are most prone to misunderstanding and ineffective communication.  That, of course, is no assurance that such “misunderstanding” can be easily fixed, but it does provide a focus for further work.

Click to read more ...

Biblical Perspectives, Round 3

I have greatly appreciated this opportunity for dialogue. I have learned a great deal and expect to keep learning. I want to thank Dr. Brownson for his incisive but fair and cordial engagement.

In this final post, we have been asked to respond to our dialogue partner’s previous post and then to identify issues that need more thought and that form the basis for further conversation. I will take on these two tasks in order, first with responses to the previous post.

Click to read more ...

Biblical Perspectives, Round 2

I want to thank James Brownson for his thought-provoking essay.  It challenged me to go deeper and keep exploring this issue.   

There are a number of points on which we can agree.  First, Dr. Brownson begins with the assumption that there are gay and lesbian Christians in committed relationships who show evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (Gal. 5:22–23). I completely agree. The fruit of the Spirit is evidence that a believer has a relationship with Jesus Christ and has God’s Spirit in their life. But the fruit of the Spirit is not proof that a person is sinless or that they are not struggling with sin in certain areas. 

Click to read more ...

Reading Scripture, Round 2

Here are the questions I’ve been given, and some responses:

  • What can you affirm about the other person’s position and his/her reasons for taking that position?

There is a great deal that Dr. Strauss and I share in common.  I essentially agree with what he identifies as “some contextual points of agreement,” and I also think they represent an important delineation of common ground from which to begin our work.

I also find Dr. Strauss’s “criterion of purpose” to be essentially in agreement with what I am saying, using the language of “moral logic.”  We agree that we need to ask why the Bible says what it does, particularly when dealing with complex, cross-cultural matters.  I also find myself to be essentially in agreement with Dr. Strauss with respect to how to interpret the Bible when it comes to the role and authority of women--the diversity of the canonical witness is an important clue here.

Click to read more ...

Looking at Scripture in Fresh Ways

I begin with two assumptions that are not directly found in Scripture, but which frame the way the church approaches Scripture on this issue.  The first assumption is that there are gay and lesbian Christians in committed relationships who show evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (Gal 5:22f.).  I do not intend, by making this claim, to declare that the conversation is over, and there is nothing remaining to speak of in Scripture.  Rather, I make this claim to suggest that the church has a problem and a challenge in dealing with the Bible’s witness regarding same-sex relationships. 

Click to read more ...

God's design for human sexuality

Issues related to same-sex attraction are without a doubt the most difficult and volatile issue facing the church today. In the context of these Respectful Conversations, I have been asked to address the question of the Bible’s teaching on this issue from the traditional perspective that same-sex sexual relations are outside God’s design for human sexuality.

I have to admit from the beginning that I am torn on this issue.  Like many other Christians, I find that my positive personal experiences with those who identify with the LGBT community are often at odds with the Bible’s apparent teaching on this issue.

Click to read more ...

Topic #1: Voices from the Gay Community (July 2015)

 

Launch Date for Conversation: July 1, 2015

Conversation Partners:

            Eve Tushnet, Catholic Patheos Blogger

            Justin Lee, Executive Director, The Gay Christian Network

Leading Question: What are your beliefs about morally appropriate relationships between persons who experience same-sex attraction?