Critique Magazine on a Challenge for the Church

If memory serves, at least a couple of us have mentioned a ministry called Ransom Fellowship on this blog before. In their own words, Ransom exists for those who “want to know more about what it means to be a Christian in the everyday life of the 21st century.” To do this, Denis and Margie Haack (Ransom’s founders), together with a handful of other contributors, offer up biblically informed reflection on an ambitiously wide range of concerns. To visit their website or flip through the pages of Critique (a magazine Ransom publishes several times a year) will bring you in contact with the consideration of everything from larger cultural trends and challenges to mundane yet significant activities of our day-to-day routines, with reviews of books, music, and films thrown in as well.

For all those reasons, I’ve found Ransom to be a consistently solid resource to deepen the understanding and practice of one’s faith. To show you what I mean, I thought I’d mention an article from the latest issue of Critique (which unfortunately has yet to make it to publication on the website) that I found particularly informative and challenging. Written by Wes Hill, “A Few Like You” affords a sober glimpse into the experience of Christians who wrestle with homosexuality while trying to remain faithful to the commands of Scripture. A few excerpts:

Since puberty, I’ve been conscious of an exclusive attraction to persons of my own sex. Though I have never been in a gay relationship as [English poet W.H.] Auden was, I have also never experienced the “healing” or transformation of my sexual orientation that some formerly gay Christians professed to have received. But I remain a Christian, a follower of Jesus. And, like Auden, I accept the Christian teaching that homosexuality is a tragic sin that things are “not the way they’re supposed to be.” Reading New Testament texts like Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 through the lens of time-honored Christians reflection on the meaning and purpose of marriage between a man and a woman, I find myself—much as I might wish things to be otherwise—compelled to abstain from homosexual practice.

As a result, I feel, more often than not, desperately lonely.
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The same theme—loneliness—is sounded over and over in biographies of homosexual Christians I’ve read. Auden’s, [Catholic priest and author Henri] Nouwen’s, many others I can’t name here—it comes up in all of them. And it is my experience.
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In light of all this, I would echo Auden’s sentiment: If it weren’t for other people, I don’t think I’d make it. For me to live faithfully before God as a sexually-abstinent homosexual Christian must be to trust that God in Christ can meet me in my loneliness not simply with God’s own love but with God’s love mediated through the human faces and arms of my fellow believers.
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In a recent reflection on contemporary society, novelist Marilynne Robinson posed a simple question: “will people shelter and nourish and humanize one another?” Read in light of the Christian Church’s relationship to its gay members, her question takes on added poignancy. Will the Church shelter and nourish and humanize those who are deeply lonely and struggling desperately to remain faithful?

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