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A SAME-SEX ATTRACTED CELIBATE CHRISTIAN

This is the way that David Bennett now describes himself.

I was recently recommended his book "A War of Loves." I found it a liberating account of a man who early in life found himself to be sexually attracted to other boys and men. Those of both sexes who experience such same-sex attraction are immediately caught up in a maelstrom of conflicting opinions and attitudes. There are many in the society and in the church who immediately condemn them as perverts and sinners, and who avoid and abhore them. On the other hand there are others in society today who encourage them to be proud and defiant. The problems increase if the same-sex attracted person is also drawn to believe in Jesus and to be accepted into the church.

Too often Christians, and indeed non-Christians, fail to distinguish between same-sex attraction and same-sex sexual activity. The two-things are often confused. Of course one thing tends to lead to the other, which is true of all sexual attractions. But Jesus and the Bible do not condemn sexual attraction as such. The Bible says that God created us male and female. That implies that the one is meant to be attracted to the other, for the purpose of reproduction. But it is not sexual attraction as such that is condemned in the Bible, but any form of sexual intercourse outside the marriage of a man and a woman, the place where children can be conceived, born, and brought up in a loving and secure environment. This means that whichever sex we are attracted to, we all have to exercise the same self-restaint in indulging our sexual urges, and that is not easy for anyone.

Why a minority of both men and women find themselves attracted to others of the same sex, rather than the opposite sex, is not clear. It is obvioulsy against Nature and therefore against the purpose of the Creator of Nature, but the attraction is not a sin in itself. A person, like David Bennett, can be a Christian of integrity if he refrains from same-sex sexual activity, every bit as much as a same-sex attracted person can be a Christian of integrity if he or she refrains from sexual activity outside marriage: in other words, all leading a celibate life.

For some reason we overlook today the fact that for 1000 years throughout the MIddle Ages, the very model of the Christian life was the monk or the nun who dedicated themselves to a life-time of service to God and the church, in celibacy.

I admire David Bennett in expressing on the one-hand the nature of his sexual attractions, and, on the other-hand, his dedication to a life of celibacy dedicated to God and his Son Jesus Christ. I can live with him as a fellow-member of the Body of Christ without any reservations, indeed with admiration, for one who has battled through so many struggles, with himself, with the world around him, and within the church. He is, in person, the answer to the confusions and divisions that trouble the church, not least the Church of England, today: a same-sex attracted celibate Christian

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