Posts by EC

Ethics & Gay Christians

Introduction.

I approach this topic with some sense of uneasiness, not only because of the recurring poverty of ethics in my own life but also because I know that due to some understandably bad experiences with oppression at the hands of homophobic church people, discussion of ethics in the lives of lesbians and gay men can be a thankless and even resented undertaking. It can be experienced as threatening to all of us. Recently, a director of Dignity (the Roman Catholic lesbian and gay male organization) wrote: “When I first joined Dignity in 1975, 1 was told that if we pursued the discussion of ‘morality and ethics’ we could possibly split the membership of Dignity right down the middle.” (Dignity Newsletter, Feb., 1982) Perhaps that “goes with the territory,” so to speak. After all, when what is meant by “morality and ethics” in this context usually means “sexual ethics” in general and, more specifically matters of promiscuity, monogamy, S&M, “open relationships,” and so on, discussion can get quite heated. Read more →

With Sunshine & Rainfall for All

An Evangelical Affirmation of Gay Rights

This is an expanded version of an address delivered by Dr. Blair at the 34th Annual Meeting of The Evangelical Theological Society in 1982. Dr. Blair is a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. He is the founder and president of Evangelicals Concerned and is a member of The Evangelical Theological Society, The Christian Association for Psychological Studies, and The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues of The American Psychological Association.

If we evangelical Christians are going to have anything worth saying in response to proposed gay civil rights legislation, we would do well first to hear what is being said. Quite apart from our having nothing intelligent to say if we really haven’t heard what’s being said, we fail to render what Bonhoeffer reminded us was the “first service one owes to others:” that of “listening to them.” When the early church faced what seemed to be strange claims of Gentiles to full rights in the church, believers did what evangelicals today are not so willing to do with homosexuals: they engaged in dialogue and really tried to hear each other. And they began by emphasizing truths about which they were all in agreement (Acts 15). Read more →

Getting Closer: Structure For Intimacy

KEYNOTES-Getting Closer: Structure For Intimacy

This material is based upon Dr. Ralph Blair’s address at connECtion 1981,the summer conference of Evangelicals Concerned, Inc.
© Copyright 1981 by Ralph Blair

According to social psychologist Daniel Yankelovich, “Surveys and my own interviews show a widening acceptance of cultural pluralism. We are not going back to … the notion that [for example] homosexuality is intolerable … The Moral Majoritarians are counter revolutionaries, trying—I think futilely—to roll back what has already happened.”1 Although Yankelovich reports that “The public is still mired in unrealistic expectations and still entranced by the seductions of duty-to-self,” (which he sanely dubs a “moral and social absurdity”) he observes that “Peoples’s life experiments … now drive home the lesson that duty-to-self is not a viable guide to conduct.”2 He sadly notes, but wisely interprets: “The most ardent seekers of self-fulfilment fallaciously view the self as an endless series of gratifiable needs and desires.”3 Then he asks a crucial question: “Will we achieve a synthesis between traditional commitments and new forms of fulfilment? Or will we indeed end up with the worst of two worlds—a society fragmented and anomic, the family a shambles, the work ethic collapsed, the economy uncompetitive, our morality flabby and self-centred, and our personal freedom even more restricted than under the old order?”4 Read more →

Getting Close: Steps Toward Intimacy

This material was originally presented by Dr. Ralph Blair at connECtion 1980, the summer conference of Evangelicals Concerned, Inc.

I am going to begin with a neglected passage from Ecclesiastes 4:1 and 4:8-12.

Then I looked again at all the injustice that goes on in this world.  The oppressed were crying, and no one would help them.  No one would help them because their oppressors had power on their side.  … Here is one who lives alone.  This person has no children, no sister or brother, yet this person is always working, never satisfied with the income.  For whom is this person working so hard and denying self any pleasure?  This is useless, too — and a miserable way to live.  Two are better-off than one, because together they can work more effectively.  If one of them falls down, the other can help the person up.  But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help.  If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself?  Two can resist an attack that would defeat one alone.

 In the May 1980 issue of Inter-varsity Christian Fellowship’s His magazine, singleness is called “The Gift Nobody Wants.”  This is the rather revealing title of an article by IVCF staffer Paul Friesen, extolling singleness as a gift of God.  That singleness-for-those-happily-called-to-it-with-the-gift-of-celibacy can be a real gift from God must not mislead us into thinking that enforced singleness, however subtle the enforcement, must be seen as what God wants for all of those who are unwillingly and unably single.  But again, after centuries, it is becoming theologically fashionable for some evangelicals to write in this vein, albeit in vain, for it is true that it does seem that nobody wants this so-called gift of singleness.  This “gift” is an especially attractive “solution,” however contrived, to more and more evangelical leaders as they try to foist it onto Christian men and women whose homosexual orientation is becoming more and more obviously unalterable.  Friesen goes on and on about how God gives good gifts and about “how freeing” is the idea that “marriage may never come!”  But here’s Read more →

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