As I’ve noted before Pastor Sam Allberry has pushed for Christian families to give gay Christians like himself trusted access to our children. Via his Living Out Church Audit he and The Gospel Coalition’s (TGC) Tim Keller insist that every Christian church should have gay members. At TGC he also praises a children’s book that normalizes gay marriage and teaches children not to have their guards up (emphasis mine).
Homosexuality is presented through a human lens. Archer encounters homosexuality in the same way the vast majority of us encounter it: through people close to him telling him they’re gay. This is welcome. In our own assessment of human sexuality, and especially in our talking through such things with children, we must keep at the forefront the fact we’re talking about real people. For some Christians, this humanizing of homosexuals may be an important corrective. The two gay characters in the book come across as real, not as stereotypes. They’re not activists or pushing an agenda; they’re normal people who happen to be gay. (The only stereotyping is with the student from England, who’s inevitably eccentric and posh.)
The goal is to have no more taboos.
But this is all old news. Today’s new news is that Allberry and TGC want Christian “singles” to be encouraged to adopt children:
So why did TGC choose Pastor Allberry, their frontman for gay Christian activism, to deliver this particular message? If they didn’t mean to suggest that they are pushing for gay singles to adopt children, they failed miserably. Even worse, Allberry is using the same arguments in the video regarding adoption that he makes elsewhere to claim that in order to be faithful to Christ we must invite gay Christians to babysit our kids, take them to and from school, and put them to bed at night.
Keep in mind that gay “singles” is a flexible term. I’ve mentioned the Spiritual Friendship movement before, and Allberry’s site Living Out is a big proponent of the movement. Spiritual Friendship is where gay Christians have a same sex “special friend” that they live with whom everyone knows is their (non sexual, they swear) life partner. As Allberry’s Living Out explains, navigating this special friendship can be tricky. From Celibate Same Sex Couples (all emphasis mine):
People want to know: if we stop the sexual side of our relationship, how far is it OK to go in terms of physical affection for one another? If sex as such is off the agenda, what about stuff that isn’t sex but expresses the love between them, like kissing? In the terms of the age-old youth group question, how far can you go before it ‘counts’ as sex?
Living Out is on the conservative side of the Christian gay rights movement, so the author explains that gays making out and fondling each other while living together is off the table. But holy kissing is fine, as is lots of hugging and non sexual physical affection. Indeed, such a relationship between two gay men (or women) is actually honoring God:
But, and this takes me back to my first point, holding back from sexual intimacy doesn’t spell an end to physical intimacy, not for a moment. Our culture finds it hard to distinguish between the two. But there are wonderful ways to be physically close to other people without being sexually close to them. We hug and kiss our friends and relatives in non-sexual ways. We hold hands with children. Some people (especially guys?) love to play fight (my sons love to do this with me – personally, I would prefer to cuddle them, but I have to play fight with them, because it is a way they give and receive physical affection!). None of these things necessarily have anything to do with sex, but they have much to do with physical affection and intimacy – as St Paul puts it, greet one another with a holy kiss (2 Corinthians 13:12). We need both bits of his description – it is a holy kiss, and it is a holy kiss.
Of course, it may take time and a bit of trial and error for a couple to redefine the boundaries and work out how they can best remain physically close to one another, without crossing the line again into sexual intimacy. But I believe this is worth working at, in order both to honour God by not crossing that line, and to honour him by sharing healthy physical affection with the people he has given you to and to you.
Hat Tip: Pulpet & Pen