Sex, temptation, and the gay christian: What chastity demands


Being a ‘gay Christian’ is an exceptional life: that is, it is a life that marks a kind of moral exception, a deviation from a norm that discloses certain truths about the world which we may not see otherwise. But as Stanley Hauerwas has noted, “Exceptions are not a problem for a community that is secure in its essential practices.” The absence of such internal security in our own practices requires us to denounce those outside, or redraw the boundaries if we discover those within who undermine our interests. It is a sign of evangelicalism’s frailty that it cannot abide by ‘risky’ attempts to affirm the goods of a life marked by a pervasive susceptibility to same-sex sexual desires, not of its strength or sanctity. Evangelicalism will only speak with the authority of true conviction on such questions when it remembers what chastity demands for its own marriages, and is unhesitating in risking the scorn and repudiation of its own members through naming the respectable sins we have let fester for the sake of our idolatrous commitments to sexual pleasure and biological children. When practices like IVF, surrogacy, and contraception are met with force equal to that with which we have met the great drama of gay marriage before us, I will begin again to trust the leaders God has currently given us. Until then, their denunciations of the world sound to this ear like resounding gongs, and their professions of love for gay Christians like clanging cymbals.