25 episodes

Building a space for honest, subversive Christian conversations on sexuality, ethnicity, and what it means to live in community.

Communion & Shalom David Frank & TJ Espinoza

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Building a space for honest, subversive Christian conversations on sexuality, ethnicity, and what it means to live in community.

    #22 - Unity and Differences in Side B

    #22 - Unity and Differences in Side B

    Contrary to (some) opinions, those of us who consider ourselves “Side B” on Christian sexuality don’t agree on everything, nor is there a shared “declaration of theology” document that we can all agree on. What ideas unite and divide the Side B community? TJ and David identify 6 areas of unity and 8 areas of difference, within the Side B community.

    Note: This episode uses the terms “Side A” and “Side B” (and X, Y) as shorthand quite a bit. If you’re new to the conversation, we recommend one of these resources as an overview.


    This article from Life on Side B gives a good quick summary: https://www.lifeonsideb.com/thefoursides
    Our Communion & Shalom episode #3, we talk through the 4 “sides” #3 - A-B-Y-X | 4 Sides on SSA/Gay Sexuality

    And, if it helps clarify…when we say someone “is Side B”, we’re referring to those of us who are ourselves queer or same-sex attracted (which is different than the larger group, queer or straight, who align with Side B’s general theology and posture).

    __________

    Timestamps

    (00:23) Why this episode is needed

    Shared Unity in Side B:
    (05:00) 1. Historic Christian sexual ethic
    (05:39) 2. The church should uphold celibate vocation
    (06:06) 3. Willingness to see the goods of being queer
    (08:30) 4. Same-sex attraction isn’t morally culpable as a sinful action (we differ on what is “indwelling sin”)
    (10:19) 5. Using wisdom, not prescribed language, for identity terms
    (10:56) 6. Opposition to “conversion therapy”

    Differences within Side B (11:46):
    (13:37) 1. Theological, denominational traditions
    (15:49) 2. Backgrounds, countries, cultures, beliefs, practices
    (17:10) 3. How we relate to LGBT/queer subculture(s)
    (23:32) 4. How we theologically evaluate Side A (or Y, X) beliefs
    (24:30) Where we started affects our current theological stance
    (25:36) The value we place on certain virtues (esp. TRUTH) affects our current theological stance
    (27:41) How big is the gap is between Side A and B?
    (45:03) 5. How we relate to gender norms
    (47:41) 6. How Christians should influence polity, laws, esp. on gay marriage
    (50:06) 7. Perspectives on having celibate partnerships
    (51:43) 8. Diversity in communities (it’s a human problem)

    (52:22) In conclusion, why does this matter?

    __________

    Links and References

    Previous Communion & Shalom podcast episodes we referred to:

    #11 - Fractures in Our Moral Foundation | Applying Haidt to Sexual Ethic Divides (July 13, 2022)

    BONUS: A Virtual Tour of TJ's Experience at Pride 2022 (Sept 7, 2022)

    Revoice Conference: https://revoice.us/

    One example of Rosaria Butterfield’s critique of Side B: https://podcast.choosetruthovertribe.com/episodes/rosaria-butterfield-christian-lesbian

    __________

    Share feedback or questions on our website podpage.com/communion-shalom or emailing us at communionandshalom@gmail.com.

    Find us on Instagram! @communionandshalom

    If you like this podcast, please consider supporting us on Patreon: patreon.com/communionandshalom

    • 58 min
    #21 - Tate's Story: Growing Up Gay in Texas

    #21 - Tate's Story: Growing Up Gay in Texas

    Tate grew up in small-town, Bible-belt Texas before attending “the absolute worst of the worst” of the “too liberal or too secular" universities. We (David and TJ) talk with Tate about his story of coming out, growing in faith, and being a bridge between different communities. We appreciated Tate’s reflection on how the words we use to describe sexuality (such as gay, same-sex attracted, homosexual, etc.), can mean different things to different communities. 

    Note: This episode includes content suitable for adult audiences; listener discretion is advised. 

    __________ 

    Timestamps 

    0:55 - Tate’s background
    7:35 - The language of being gay, coming out
    16:55 - Community perceptions of homosexuality in language and activity
    25:10 - College: taking faith seriously, being gay at a “liberal” university
    33:00 - Conversations on sexuality with campus ministers vs. Gen Z classmates
    38:45 - Speaking and consulting on Christianity and same-sex sexuality
    48:35 - “My understanding of sin changed when I left home”
    50:45 - How does/should the Christian church relate to queer people?
    55:15 - How do you think about your attractions, your sexuality?
    1:00:00 - Christian views on homosexuality: what categories did/do you use?
    1:05:00 - Why are you not “Side A” (affirming of same-sex marriage/sexual relationships)?
    1:07:10 - How can queer/same-sex attracted/LGBT people fit in the church? What are the positive gifts or strengths of being queer/same-sex attracted/LGBT? 

    __________ 

    Links and References in This Episode 

    Tate’s blog: tate.fyi
    Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality (2010) by Wesley Hill
    Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church (2016)—contributors: William Loader, Megan K. DeFranza, Wesley Hill, Stephen R. Holmes; edited by Preston Sprinkle
    “Being gay is like a drop of ink in a glass of water”—referenced in a Spiritual Friendship blog post by Wesley Hill: https://spiritualfriendship.org/2016/03/10/will-i-be-gay-in-the-resurrection/ 

    __________ 

    Share feedback or questions on our website podpage.com/communion-shalom or by emailing us at communionandshalom@gmail.com.
    Find us on Instagram! @communionandshalom
    If you like this podcast, please consider supporting us on Patreon: patreon.com/communionandshalom

    • 1 hr 14 min
    #20 - How Should We Then Live with Eros? Part 3 with Kathryn Mogk Wagner

    #20 - How Should We Then Live with Eros? Part 3 with Kathryn Mogk Wagner

    True love means… what??

    There are many answers to that question, and in this episode, we’re just talking about some of them. In part 3 of our conversation with medieval literature scholar Kathryn Mogk Wagner, we reflect on some of the implications of the “pure relationship”—and how combining or removing certain elements of the historic marriage relationship can have big impacts. How should we think about desire, romantic attraction, and the marriage relationship today? And how does this impact how we think about love and kinship in other forms?

    If you have more answers to those questions, get in touch!

    This episode is part 3 of 3.

    __________

    Timestamps

    4:15 - Marriage as an image of God’s love: is it more agape or eros?
    17:10 - What elements makes it marriage? economic factors, children, romantic attraction, sex?
    22:25 - Jesus on divorce, adultery: What’s the underlying logic?
    25:35 - Where do we go from here? Directing desire and romantic attraction
    43:20 - What is the constructive Christian response to the current “pure relationship” model?
    49:36 - Kathryn’s book recommendation: Kristin Lavransdatter

    __________

    Links and References

    Kathryn Mogk Wagner: kathryn.mogkwagner.net
    Anthony Giddens on the “pure relationship”
    Sermons on eros by Robert Cunningham at the Good of the Bluegrass Conference 2022 (listen at the conference website; listen to a shorter summary in another podcast from Cunningham at Every Square Inch)
    The Symposium by Plato (wiki)
    The Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova by Dante Alighieri; about Beatrice (wiki)
    The story of King Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot is told many places; one is Le Morte d’Arthur (wiki)
    Eros and Agape by Anders Nygren
    Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

    __________

    Share feedback or questions on our website podpage.com/communion-shalom or emailing us at communionandshalom@gmail.com.

    Find us on Instagram! @communionandshalom

    If you like this podcast, please consider supporting us on Patreon: patreon.com/communionandshalom

    • 52 min
    #19 - A History of Romance in the West—Part 2 with Kathryn Mogk Wagner

    #19 - A History of Romance in the West—Part 2 with Kathryn Mogk Wagner

    But not that kind of western romance…

    Pop quiz: Which of the following reasons is a good reason to get married to someone?


    Because your family or social circle wants you to
    Because you sexually desire that person (or are already sexually involved)
    Because you want children (or have them already)
    Because you need financial stability
    Because you’re “in love” with that person
    Because you’re “in love” with someone else

    Some of these answers might seem ridiculous, but a hundred or a thousand years ago, people concluded very different things about marriage and romance, depending on the age they live in.

    We in the West can bundle together a lot of expectations for romantic partners—they should be your best friend, have romantic attraction, maybe build a family together, share finances, support you emotionally, and on and on. Sometimes we separate out just one or two items—attraction, best-friendship—and focus on that alone. But it hasn’t always been this way. In the scale of human history, our current assumptions about romance and marriage are actually quite young.

    In part 2 of this series, we continue our conversation with friend and scholar Kathryn Mogk Wagner, to look through the lens of Western literature at changing perspectives on romance, (Christian) marriage, love, and intimacy through the ages.

    This episode is part 2 of 3.  For anyone who has had to work through their expectations for romantic relationships (or other people’s expectations for your relationships!), this episode is for you.

    __________

    Timestamps

    1:45 - The biology of attraction
    8:05 - The ancient world: Marriage as economic arrangement
    10:35 - The early Christian church: equality in adultery
    12:15 - Courtly love and longing in the 11th century
    20:05 - Example: King Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere
    23:30 - Arranged marriages and consent in the Christian church
    30:05- Example: Dante and Beatrice
    39:30 - Contemporary Christian emphasis on marriage—does it deserve it?
    45:05 - Companionate marriage: Edmund Spenser’s poetry
    49:00 - Holiness as celibacy (Catholics) or married life (Protestants)
    53:45 - Song of Songs in the church’s imagination
    58:05 - The development of the “pure relationship”

    __________

    Links and References

    Kathryn Mogk Wagner: kathryn.mogkwagner.net
    The Allegory of Love by C.S. Lewis
    The Symposium by Plato (wiki)
    The Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova by Dante Alighieri; about Beatrice (wiki)
    The story of King Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot is told many places; one is Le Morte d’Arthur (wiki)
    Edmund Spenser, poet (wiki)
    Anthony Giddens on the “pure relationship”

    __________

    Please share feedback or questions on our website podpage.com/communion-shalom or emailing us at communionandshalom@gmail.com.

    Find us on Instagram: @communionandshalom

    If you like this podcast, please consider supporting us on Patreon: patreon.com/communionandshalom

    • 1 hr 4 min
    #18 - What Is Love, Anyway? Defining Eros—Part 1 with Kathryn Mogk Wagner

    #18 - What Is Love, Anyway? Defining Eros—Part 1 with Kathryn Mogk Wagner

    What does it mean to love your best friend? Is it the same as the kind of love you have for your spouse or romantic partner? How about the kind of love that God gives us, or that we can give God?

    These are questions that people have been asking in the Christian tradition for millennia. Eros is one of the Greek words for love that people have argued about. In this episode, we talk with medieval literature scholar Kathryn Mogk Wagner about how people have defined eros, from Plato, to C.S. Lewis, to a recent conference podcast from pastor Robert Cunningham.

    This episode is part 1 of 3.

    __________

    Timestamps

    3:30 - What’s important about the word “eros”?
    4:15 - Eros in C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves
    6:55 - Summarizing Robert Cunningham’s 3 sermons on Eros
    16:00 - Eros in Plato’s Symposium
    20:00 - Does eros only refer to sexual love?

    __________

    Links and References

    Kathryn Mogk Wagner's website: kathryn.mogkwagner.net

    The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis (listen to original audio on the Internet Archive; read a brief summary of the book)

    Sermons on eros by Robert Cunningham at the Good of the Bluegrass Conference 2022 (listen at the conference website; listen to a shorter summary in another podcast from Cunningham at Every Square Inch)

    The Symposium by Plato (wiki)

    Eros and Agape by Anders Nygren

    __________

    Share feedback or questions on our website podpage.com/communion-shalom or emailing us at communionandshalom@gmail.com.

    If you like this podcast, please consider supporting us on Patreon: patreon.com/communionandshalom

    Instagram: @communionandshalom

    • 28 min
    #17 - Giacomo Sanfilippo on the Asceticism of Same-Sex Love

    #17 - Giacomo Sanfilippo on the Asceticism of Same-Sex Love

    Note: This podcast includes content suitable for adult audiences; listener discretion is advised.
    TJ and David talked with Giacomo Sanfilippo, who is an Orthodox Christian and the founding editor of the blog Orthodoxy in Dialogue, where he has become the Orthodox Church’s most well known LGBTQ advocate. Largely influenced by his work on Father Pavel Florensky, Giacomo’s perspective is grounded in an ascetic view of sexuality and same-sex love, whereby Christians are made more like God through acts of self-sacrifice and discipline.  Based on his work at Orthodoxy in Dialogue, we wanted to hear more about how he comes to his theology of sexuality, particularly as embedded in the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition.
    Giacomo was a great conversation partner in seeking to understand a theology of same-sex love and building understanding across differences. We encourage listeners to listen closely to try to understand one Side A perspective more carefully, and to think about how people from a Side B perspective might engage people with whom they have distinct disagreements but also surprising similarities.
    __________
    Timestamps
    1:00 - Introducing Giacomo
    6:00 - Orthodox marriage vs same-sex relationships
    11:55 - What has theologically informed your understanding of same-sex love?
    24:40 - Giacomo’s story
    37:00 - Becoming more public in the Christian sexuality conversation
    43:25 - How do you integrate your understanding of same-sex love with the Orthodox church’s teaching around marriage?
    48:25 - Asceticism in sexuality: a monogamous vision for same-sex (and heterosexual) couples
    54:00 - If there’s no sex in heaven…
    58:05 - Do people who are celibate miss out on a “need”?
    1:18:30 - The myth of being “fully satisfied” in a relationship
    1:28:00 - David and TJ on Side B perceptions of queerness
    __________
    Links, References, and Terms
    Orthodoxy in Dialogue website: orthodoxyindialogue.com
    Article: “Conjugal Friendship” publicorthodoxy.org/2017/05/02/conjugal-friendship/
    Asceticism (you can look this up many places. We’ll offer just one relevant link: https://orthodoxwiki.org/Asceticism)
    Antinomy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinomy
    Pavel Florensky: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavel_Florensky
    __________
    Share feedback or questions on our website podpage.com/communion-shalom or emailing us at communionandshalom@gmail.com.
    If you like this podcast, please consider supporting us on Patreon: patreon.com/communionandshalom
    Follow us on Instagram: @communionandshalom

    • 1 hr 35 min

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