Last weekend Eternity News published this article by Nathan Campbell that I contributed to. Our article explores how the church might respond differently to things like the Victorian Change or Suppression Practices Prohibition Bill if we formed habits of listening better… listening to stories of gay and trans people, the kind of stories that led … Continue reading Listening Well
"Do you love him?" "No, we're just friends." "They were 'intimate' with each other." "During lockdown, we were only allowed to visit a person if we had an 'intimate relationship' with them." I’ve been finding that there's a lot of confusion out there about the difference between intimacy and sex. The quotes above show how we often use love/intimacy as a stand-in to describe sexual/romantic relationships as though they are basically the same thing.
I've been thinking a lot about what it means for humans to be embodied people--not just spirits, but people made of physical bodies who relate to each other in embodied ways. I am someone who deeply craves physical touch, and it's been a weird year to think about this stuff during 2020 while touching other people has suddenly gained a whole lot more baggage than usual.
A few weeks ago I was on a late an evening walk through the park talking to a dear friend on the phone about how lockdown and social distancing have affected us this year. Both of us are people that have always been good at long-distance friendships, and we’ve both managed to stay closely connected to our friends this year through phone calls, video calls, 1-1 catchups and small group gatherings. But something was missing.
I initially journaled these thoughts in 2019, but with today being National Coming Out Day, I thought I'd post them here to mark the occasion. Here's to celebrating greater authenticity and closeness!
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the power of narrative and the way sharing stories reveals our values. Telling stories helps people understand how we experience the world, and they help us imagine what our world could—or should—look like. If you read my blog, it's no surprise to you that I think this. But lately I’ve been thinking particularly about the insidious potential for weaponising narratives: the potential for telling stories in a way that seeks to control or subvert someone else’s experience of the world. Perhaps the most subtle but powerful form of this is when people take stories that were originally told with innocence, good intent, and truth, and then weaponise those stories to control others.
Last week a good friend had me over for dinner. He and his wife were great company, and we enjoyed chatting about all sorts of things, both funny and serious; and I came away feeling really encouraged by them. In particular, I felt really seen and loved in my journey as a single gay Christian. Occasionally you have these beautiful moments of feeling the verbal equivalent of a warm hug (since real-life hugs are off limits at the moment) where a conversation just leaves you feeling really cared for—really embraced.
Most of my readers are probably aware that I'm a passionate bassoon player. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I’ve devoted a significant portion of my lifetime to pursuing a professional career in playing the bassoon. You could even say it’s one of the most distinctive things about me. It’s not unusual for me to run in to someone I haven’t seen for years (you know, the kind of person you met that one time at a conference and have long since erased from your memory) and while we’re standing there trying to recall each other’s names, the other person confidently blurts out: “All I remember about you is you’re the guy who plays the bassoon!”
I’ve been [very] single for 25 years. Mostly it’s been a great time and I’ve written about the joys of single life in earlier posts. I will keep on saying that singleness is a good calling worth celebrating more, and when I say that I will mean it from my heart as I experientially delight in the richness and freedom of single life. But alongside all of that, I want to also talk about the hard stuff. I want to name the grief we experience in singleness, the kind of loss that might be so subtle that even we ourselves don’t see it as actual loss.
It’s been four months. Four months since we did real church in a real building with real people. All this time I’ve been looking forward to the day when things finally go back to ‘normal’ and imagining what that moment will be like.