A beautiful takeaway from the upheaval of the past year is the challenge to listen to different voices — specifically minority voices.
With that in mind, I've been listening to a podcast called Life on Side B. Okay, let me be honest, I've straight binged this podcast.
If you're unfamiliar with it, I lifted a description from their website:
Life on Side B is a podcast that looks at the lives of LGBT+/same sex attracted Christians who believe in the traditional sexual ethic of the Christian faith and therefore live according to that view whether through celibacy or a mixed orientation marriage. (Check out the Resources Page for a great collection of Side-B resources!)
As a straight, married Christian, here are three lessons that have inspired and encouraged me from the Side B community.
Lesson #1 - On Courage
The Side B community receives criticism from both the church and the non-Christian gay community.
Side B folks teach us to stand by our convictions and stay in dialogue with those who disagree with us.
Both parts of that last sentence are essential. This community practices self-differentiation — to stay defined in who I am while staying connected to others.
The church needs this kind of self-differentiation right now. It takes a massive amount of courage, and we'd do well to look to the Side B community's example.
Lesson #2 - On Loneliness
Driven by conviction and love for Jesus, many in the Side B community have chosen a life of celibacy.
As one of the co-hosts said, "Loneliness is an old friend of mine."
As the secular gospel of romantic love oozes deeper and deeper into the Church's pours, we are often ill-equipped to handle loneliness.
We need to learn from these dear brothers and sisters how to befriend our loneliness so that we can go deeper in our intimacy with Christ.
Lesson #3 - On Commitment
I almost titled this lesson "On sexual purity."
Sexual purity is something to learn from a brave group of folks who choose celibacy in a sex-crazed world. However, there's more insight to glean here.
Committing to Life on Side B necessitates processing your sexual orientation and faith — something straight folk rarely do.
Instead, straight folk often think about their sexuality in terms of what they do or don't do with sex.
How beautiful to gain a more meaningful understanding of ourselves as sexual beings recreated in the image of Christ, not to be dominated by sexual appetites but to live under the reign of Jesus.
These stories challenge me to think more critically about my sexuality, as Jesus redeems me by His grace into a more whole and holy person.
Thanks for Sharing
To my new friends over at Life on Side B, I love you and am thankful for your vulnerability to share your lives with us.
Thank you for teaching me more about courage, loneliness, and commitment. Thank you for helping me follow Jesus more closely.
To everyone else, if you haven't checked out this podcast, I believe it's worth your time.
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