Happy New Year
from Sex & the Gay Christian!
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.Galatians 5:1 NRSVue
German reformer Martin Luther had a habit of writing and saying provocative things. Some of what he wrote, especially about Jews, has encouraged attempts at genocide. Therefore, it is with some trepidation that I admit to being intrigued by one of his more famous statements, “Sin boldly. But believe even more boldly in Christ, and rejoice.“
This statement, written on 01 August 1521, seems like a direct answer to the question asked by the apostle Paul in Romans 6, “What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may increase?” (Romans 6:1 NRSVue). Although the answer Paul suggests is a resounding, “No!” Luther, with his flawed but superior grasp of human nature, realizes another danger: self-righteousness. I believe Luther is attempting to liberate faithful followers of Christ from the systems of penance and groveling imposed by the Roman church, and focus attention, instead, on the free gift of grace through Jesus Christ.
In other words, Luther isn’t saying that we should stop trying not to sin–quite the contrary as shown by the rest of the letter from which “Sin boldly!” was taken. Luther realizes that we as faithful followers of Christ are constantly missing the marks we set for ourselves, and realize that we have a safety net in Christ.
Ironically, Luther’s statement reminds me of another bold statement, attributed to the apostle Paul, which states, “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1 NRSVue) Without preaching a whole sermon on the circumcision debate in which Paul is engaged, I think of those religious figures who use their religious authority to restrict the freedom of faithful Christians to follow their consciences and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in living out Christ’s supreme command to love God and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. As Paul insists in the circumcision debates, it is not the external signs and marks of conventional righteousness that save, but faith in Christ.
This year, at Sex & the Gay Christian, I’d like us to explore this concept of freedom in Christ. I’d like to mindfully consider what this means for our sexual lives, specifically, how do we individually and in community seek to live out the two greatest commandments in ways that honor God and honor our neighbor, while at the same time honoring the very particular and individual ways we have been formed by God to live out those commandments and bring forth good fruit.
I don’t have all the answers to these questions, so I hope you’ll share with me your wisdom and concerns–as well as any questions these concepts raise for you. Feel free to comment, below, or send your thoughts directly to me at email@example.com. And, if you’re interested, I’d love to schedule a time to chat with you about whatever these topics bring up for you–or whatever is on your mind with respect to integrating the sexual and spiritual aspects of your being. You can contact me using the form, below:
Here are a few events you may find interesting.
Q Conference 2023 (05-08 January 2023)
From Thursday, 05 January through Sunday, 08 January, hundreds of queer Christians will convene in Washington, DC, for Liberated to Love, the annual Q Christian Fellowship Conference, held in person for the first time in several years. Featured speakers will include Kai Ngu, Semler, Karen Keen, Bishop O.C. Allen, and Bishop Michael Curry! For more info visit qcfconf.org.
The Feast of the Epiphany (06 January 2023)
The 6th of January each year marks the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the visit of wise ones from the east to the Christ child, and beginning the season of the church year that ends on Ash Wednesday (22 February) when Lent begins. In the season of Epiphany, we celebrate the visible presence of Christ with us, incarnate long ago in the birth of Jesus, and incarnate today in the Body of Christ.
Wild Goose Festival (13-16 July 2023)
Tickets are available for the Wild Goose Festival in central North Carolina this coming July. Sex & the Gay Christian presented a talk on queer Christian sexuality at the queer friendly conference last year. We made lots of friends and connected with virtual friends in real life, so we will definitely be attending again this year. If you’re interested in presenting (i.e. being a co-creator) applications are being accepted through the end of January. For more information, visit wildgoosefestival.org.
I greatly appreciate your support, and I thank you for your time and attention.
May God richly bless you as you live into the freedom of abundant life in Christ–sex included!
Sources & Inspirations
Bible Gateway. biblegateway.com.
Sanders, Fred. “Sin Boldly!” The Scriptorium Daily, 01 Aug 2009. scriptoriumdaily.com/sin-boldly, accessed 30 Dec 2022 (11:53).
Sorensen, Eric. “Sin Boldly?” 1517.org, 24 May 2017. 1517.org/articles/sin-boldly, accessed 30 Dec 2022 (11:52).