Q Chats | Identity Formation | Week 1

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Q Christian is a community comprised of people with diverse backgrounds, differing theological beliefs, and a variety of ethics. Q Chats are designed to be a deep dive into self-discovery by learning from one another, and spiritually growing side-by-side. Q Chats cannot be effective without you! We invite you to participate. Share your thoughts, stories, and perspectives. Your influential voice can make a difference in the lives of others.


What do you mean when you call yourself a Christian?


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Bukola Landis-Aina

I believe in Jesus of Nazareth, who was in some tangible way that I do not fully understand, sent to atone for sin in the world which had led to separation between God and human beings. I believe Jesus had always been the plan because God loves us so much that nothing could separate us from that love. My identity comes from being Christ’s beloved and so I aim to have my actions and perspectives embody what Christ lived and died for.


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Sarah Ngu

When I call myself a Christian, I am signifying to others that I belong to a certain community, the “Church,” even if some parts of the community do not think that I belong to it. It is a community that I feel invested in, and it is a community that I allow to hold me accountable. It is a community that is manifest in the lives of my friends, family, my local church, and various Christian networks; it is a community that orients itself along the axes of the Christian tradition.


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Jessica Dickey

I believe that being a Christian means living a life in Christ 'likeness.' I have often been told it is about converting believers or doing good deeds in order to get into heaven but as I have grown into understanding my faith I know that instead, I am striving to give and receive love in the same way Christ does. As a Christian, I am called to love without abandon- to include without restraint- and to serve without question. Living a life that is full of grace, love, and acceptance is how I identify as a Christian.


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Kalevi Chen

This is something that's changed for me a lot over the year, but as of today, I say that every day I call myself a Christian, I am committing to see Christ's calling for the whole world and to respond to it. And what do I think that looks like? As David Haas's hymn puts it: "We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, we are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God." And yet, it's not what I do on this earth that earns me any standing; it's all the grace of God, through faith in God. Even knowing that, I think our calling is to make life better and live-able for our fellow Earth-dwellers, such that you can see even just a glimpse of the glory of God.


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Lauren Moser

The word Christian admittedly carries a lot of baggage for me. The historical and modern exploitation of our faith tradition for political power has made me reticent to use the word “Christian” to define myself over the years. But, inevitably, I keep coming back to it. I come back to Christianity’s incredible assertion that God would take on flesh and dwell among us. The incarnation and the story of Emmanuel, God with us, is what has ultimately tethered me to the faith. In identifying as a Christian, I am daily reconnecting myself to this beautiful narrative of restoration where God stoops to our level and pours out Her love for us. To be a Christian is to be both a receiver and giver of the love that is made manifest in us through Christ.


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Scott Herr

For me, being Christian cannot be separated from my call to become a Melkite Catholic Christian. In some ways, being Christian is very simple because my faith and what I believe to be true about God can be found there, but let me try and explain it a little more.

My journey did not begin where I am today. It started in the pews of a congregation that was part of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Every Sunday from childhood, I would be present with my family taking in a Lutheran understanding of Christianity. In high school, much of that came tumbling down as I started to come to terms with my sexuality, and in the course of that, I met my first gay Christian, which led me into the Roman Catholic Church. From there, I was led to the Melkite Catholic Church, where I find myself today.

When I call myself a Christian, I mean that I follow Jesus and that He is a significant person in my life today and helps to inform how I see the world and the decisions I make. Not only do I follow Jesus, but I follow Him in the midst of a group of other followers, and this is commonly called a Church.

Being a part of this Church, I follow Jesus while standing on the shoulders of all those men and women who have followed Him in the past. I do not think that I alone have to find the answers about who Jesus is and what message He has given the world. I acknowledge that many of these answers have been passed down to me in the Bible, prayers, creeds, councils, and other writings.

I recognize a call to accept as true the historic creeds of the Christian faith. I believe in a God who is triune (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). I acknowledge the Bible to be the inspired word of God. It also means that I accept and hold to be true everything that has been passed down to me from previous generations and declared to be true by the Church of which I am a part.

In all of this, I recognize my need for the Church and for what the Church offers to me in word and sacraments. The Church also reminds me that there are other human beings who need support and love. I consider every human being to be made in the Image of God and have value because of that. There also is a call to reach out and minister to my fellow human beings, both inside and outside the Church.

To me, being a Christian means accepting and working to implement Christian ethics in my life and helping and supporting others to do the same, while respecting the freedom of conscience of each person.

Ultimately for me, being Christian is recognizing that God is Love and that Love will save the world and rescue us from the darkness we encounter in our own minds and in the actions of our fellow human beings. It is knowing that the story did not end with suffering and death but with resurrection, and we will all share in that resurrection someday.


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Isaac Archuleta

When I call myself a Christian, I mean that I believe in the Divine, not as a human-like being, but as entity, the creator of the human world and love. To me being a Christian means that I am culturally home in the progressive Christian community and that I enjoying using Christian scriptures to help me navigate my ethical life.


An Open Letter to the City of Orlando

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Q Christian has disseminated this letter directly to the office of Orlando’s city government, and we have received word from the district commissioner that they are looking into our concerns.


To the Orlando city government and elected officials,

We are Q Christian Fellowship, a national organization dedicated to cultivating radical belonging for LGBTQ+ Christians and allies.

Orlando prides itself on being a “city for everyone”. You have enacted local ordinances and legislation designed to protect the rights of your LGBTQ+ community, cultivating a safe and inclusive space for them to live, especially after the horrors of the Pulse Nightclub attack in 2016. We wish more cities around the country protected their sexual and gender minorities with the same level of concern and transparency.

We are writing to you to express our concerns about the “Freedom March Orlando” that is planned for September 14th at 1:00PM EST, to be held at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eloa Park in Orlando.

The Freedom March describes their movement as “former homosexuals and transgenders sharing our testimonies and celebrating our freedom”. At Q Christian Fellowship, our members have far too much experience with the damage that can be done by organizations promoting “ex-gay” ideologies and conversion therapies premised on the false and dangerous claim that people must be “delivered from LGBTQ+ lifestyles”. 

You should be aware that The Freedom March possesses significant organizational overlap with anti-LGBTQ+ groups such as Equipped to Love, the Changed Movement, and Moral Revolution, which describes itself as “a company of radicals helping to define a healthy sexuality” in a “generation overwhelmed by conflicting messages about love, lust, and relationships”.

Each of these entities can be traced back to Bethel Church in Redding, California, a massively influential organization in Protestant Evangelicalism whose reach numbers in the millions. As recently as August 13th, Bethel Church shared story of a Changed Movement member claiming to have had her sexuality “changed” to its 443,000 Facebook followers and 676,000 Instagram followers. Kris Vallotton, the Senior Associate Leader for Bethel Church, tweeted on August 14th with the claim that “these former gay people are gathering by the thousands all over America to dispel the lie that you can never change.”

The message promoted by “Freedom March Orlando” represents a serious threat to LGBTQ people in your city, particularly youth. The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to providing suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth in crisis, recently released a national study on LGBTQ+ youth mental health. They found that:

  • 2 in 3 youth reported that someone tried to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

    • Youth who had been pressured to change who they are reported vastly higher rates of suicide attempt (23% vs 8%).

  • 5% of youth actually reported undergoing conversion or reparative therapy.

    • 42% of youth who were subjected to conversion therapy reported a suicide attempt in the last year (compared to 17%)

    • 57% of transgender and non-binary youth who have undergone conversion therapy report a suicide attempt in the last year

We have a responsibility to work for the liberation and equity of LGBTQ+ people, particularly vulnerable youth. The Freedom March tells the parents of LGBTQ+ youth that LGBTQ+ identities and relationships are fundamentally flawed and immoral, and encourages parents (and vulnerable LGBTQ+ adults) to consider undergoing practices which we know to be ineffective and harmful as the price of maintaining their place in their faith communities. 

Given the stakes, we are asking you to stand with your LGBTQ+ community by publicly disavowing Freedom March and their stated mission. While we recognize that the City cannot stop this organization from marching, you do have the power to speak out against conversion therapy, to pass ordinances or resolutions against this dangerous practice, or simply to again affirm your support for your LGBTQ+ residents exactly as God made them to be.

We recognize the significance of such a request, and should you have further questions, we encourage you to contact us at office@qchristian.org. We are happy to provide you with resources, information on Freedom March and their affiliated groups, and we invite you to consider partnering with Q Christian at our annual Conference for LGBTQ+ Christians and allies being hosted January 2nd through 5th in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

You can also read the stories of LGBTQ+ Christians who have found liberation, belonging, and the courage to speak up against repression and conversion therapy through our response to these organizations: the Unchanged Movement.

Thank you,

Nathanial Green
on behalf of Q Christian Fellowship

With the consultation including
Ralph Jones, Jr. (Public Information Officer for the City of Atlanta)

Q Chats | Sexual Ethics | Week 5

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Q Christian is a community comprised of people with diverse backgrounds, differing theological beliefs, and a variety of ethics. Q Chats are designed to be a deep dive into self-discovery by learning from one another, and spiritually growing side-by-side. Q Chats cannot be effective without you! We invite you to participate. Share your thoughts, stories, and perspectives. Your influential voice can make a difference in the lives of others.

Want to learn more about the people behind the perspectives? Read more.


In what ways has your sexual identity or ethic influenced how you define yourself?


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Bukola Landis-Aina

I have come to realize that my identity as bisexual fits my overall experience of gender. I have always bucked against goals or desires that were automatically ascribed to me based on typical societal gender roles. I loved that I could wear dresses, intimidate boys, wear make up, lift heavy things when the teacher asked for strong boys to help carry things, pursue engineering, cook, lift weights, wrestle boys, dance, play football, and all the things. Growing up, I wanted to pursue all possibilities and I didn’t want my strength to cancel out femininity. That has not changed.


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Tonetta Landis-Aina

My sexual ethic has helped me to understand myself as conservative by nature. That is, through engaging in dialogue on the topic of sexual ethics I realize that how I am made–slow-thinking, tradition and ritual-oriented, attached to the communal witness of Christianity through the centuries–guides how I approach sexual ethics. In other words, my sexual ethics might be different if my personality or my body were different. Thus, delving deeper into my sexual ethic has actually helped me to understand myself better which, I think, has profound beauty on its own. 

My sexual identity as a gender non-conforming, lesbian woman has helped me to define myself as deeply within the tradition of black women known as bulldaggers or butch women. These women often lived at the intersections of what it meant to be a woman, what it meant to not fit neatly into traditional gender roles, and what it meant to be black in a society that is both repelled by and drawn to blackness. I am proud to continue the tradition of that type of black woman who is transgressive by nature with all the burdens, as well as prophetic possibilities, of that reality.


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David Khalaf

My sexual ethic does not influence or define who I am; rather, my approach to my sexual ethic is a reflection of who I am. I'm a seeker of both truth and goodness, and to discover those things in a sexual ethic, we have to set aside our wants, assumptions, and expectations, and instead ask difficult, honest questions about the nature of sexuality and the nature of God.


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Constantino Khalaf

I'm a gay man who is comfortable and confident in his body. When I was younger, that led me to sometimes use sex in unhealthy ways—although I've always held consent to be the most important piece of my sexual ethics, I sometimes lost sight of the emotional needs of my partners. Age has taught me better, and in marriage, I've sought to use my sexual confidence as a tool to understand my husband better, celebrating and delighting in our union.


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Shane Bauman

My sexuality has definitely affected how I define myself. I am a gay man and if you know me you will see that I don’t hide my sexuality. It is especially important to me to be clear to others that it is possible for people to be gay and Christian. 

 However, I’m not sure that my sexual ethic has really influenced how I define myself. I suppose I can feel rather counter-cultural because choosing to wait to have sex is not common these days. Being a gay Christian already puts you in a small minority. Believing in waiting to have sex puts you in an even smaller minority.


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Brian Murphy

Being bisexual has been such a blessing to my life. Recognizing that I’m not straight was an invitation to question some of the basic tenets of my faith and emerge with a faith that is stronger, richer, more alive, and (to me, at least) even more Biblical than before. I’ve come to see how Christianity has always been queer. “It’s my faith that keeps me queer and my queerness that keeps me faithful,” as Fr. Shannon says. Accepting my sexuality was something like the scales falling off of Paul’s eyes — I was finally able to see the Gospel as it really was and it was irresistible.


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Melinda Melone

My sexual identity as a gay woman has helped me identify as a member of the LGBTQ Christian community, which has led me into many precious, life-giving friendships. It’s also led me to identify with the larger LGBTQ community to work for justice, dignity, and equity for sexual and gender minorities. My sexual ethics have led me into identifying with a smaller community of like-minded LGBTQ folks and allies, who have become precious fellow-travellers on my journey.


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Sam Locke

It’s a bit hard to answer this question since I have chosen advocacy work within the LGBTQ+ community as a major portion of my career and ministry. Without this, I suspect my sexual identity would have far less of an influence on my personal sense of self. When I came out, I feared that everything would be different - that life as I knew it would be over. Nothing could have been further from the truths I have the same friends, the same hobbies and the same general worldview. Because of this reality, it is especially frustrating when I hear people being accused of things like “not being gay enough.” Being gay is a bigger part of my personal identity because it is part of my career, and Americans, especially white Protestant America, finds so much self-worth in work. For better or worse, I see this embedded within me and hope I can leverage my voice as an advocate that the positive experience I’ve had of accepting who I am can be a reality more widely and deeply felt in Christian faith communities.


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Isaac Archuleta

Now as part of a monogamous couple, I find much delight in thinking about getting married, to having kids, and creating emotional and relational security with Joe, my partner. I mention this here because this end-goal has a major influence on my sexual ethic. Together, we find a great deal of joy in monogamy, which in turn categorizes how I see myself: a 35-year-old, one-person kind of guy. Also, being bisexual and having fallen in love with Joe, has given me the opportunity to identify as an out bi and LGBTQ+ person, more so than if I had fallen in love with a woman.


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Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers

It has been in coming to understand the impact of sexual shame, that I have come to understand how sexuality and sexual identity are inextricably tied to our core identity. This unfolded for me in 2017 when one of my PhD students, Dr Noel Clark, developed an observational definition of sexual shame through a brilliant research study. Let me share the definition here so I can explain myself more clearly:

Sexual shame is a visceral feeling of humiliation and disgust toward one’s own body and identity as a sexual being and a belief of being abnormal, inferior and unworthy. This feeling can be internalized but also manifests in interpersonal relationships having a negative impact on trust, communication, and physical and emotional intimacy. Sexual shame develops across the lifespan in interactions with interpersonal relationships, one’s culture and society, and subsequent critical self-appraisal (a continuous feedback loop). There is also a fear and uncertainty related to one’s power or right to make decisions, including safety decisions, related to sexual encounters, along with an internalized judgement toward one’s own sexual desire.

When I understand that how I trust and communicate with others, attach and get close to others (or don’t) through the myriad of interactions I have had since infancy, and how those interactions have caused me to feel about who I am, then I realize that I cannot possibly understand myself or my sexuality apart from these experiences, or apart from how I understand myself embedded in my family, my community or my culture. Now, when I look at my whole journey of individuation since I left home at 18, going to grad school at 28, becoming a single mom at 37, and so forth… and all the questioning I have done along the way, as part of an ever changing identity it includes my sexual identity and my sexual ethic. At every step my sense of value, my ability to trust and communicate, healing wounds from childhood and healing wounds along the way, being committed to growing, questioning, and self-appraisal, has all been a part of the process of deepening my understanding and experiences of connection, pleasure, and the sacredness of intimacy and sexuality, and the values that have deepened and become more clear as I have traversed life.

Identity formation I now believe, always involves a moderation of sexual identity and sexual ethics formation–maybe we just have never thought of it this way. Sexuality is at the core of us, so are our ethics… right where our identity lives. As we free ourselves from shame and a sense of unworthiness–our identity, our sexuality, and our ethics are liberated as well, to be defined within a construct of value and belovedness. It is ours to define–that which is most us.


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Matthias Roberts

I’m not sure we can extract our sexuality (or asexuality) from our personhood. It’s a core part of ourselves. So many of us know this from attempting to do this in our childhoods. We are created as sexual beings, thus learning how to relate to my sexuality as a good part of me, as something to be celebrated, I’ve learned how to see myself as an actual person, not just a mess of sexual urges which somehow need to be “controlled.” This has changed my life.


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Nathanial Green

My sexuality has become more beautiful to me over time. A few years ago, it was an unspoken expression of inherent brokenness that threatened to ruin my life if the right person knew how I felt and what I was doing. Now, it’s a beautiful part of who I am–something that informs and is included in everything I do or believe–and worth celebrating irrespective of others’ opinions. I celebrate the liberation of others, wherever they are on their own journeys, and I see myself as a beloved child of God experiencing the love of God in my body and that of my partner. I now see my feelings as good and worth cultivating, and I’m grateful to have arrived in the space.

Q Chats | Sexual Ethics | Week 4

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Q Christian is a community comprised of people with diverse backgrounds, differing theological beliefs, and a variety of ethics. Q Chats are designed to be a deep dive into self-discovery by learning from one another, and spiritually growing side-by-side. Q Chats cannot be effective without you! We invite you to participate. Share your thoughts, stories, and perspectives. Your influential voice can make a difference in the lives of others.

Want to learn more about the people behind the perspectives? Read more.


What do you wish other LGBTQ+ Christians knew about your sexual ethics?


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Bukola Landis-Aina

Given how much my views have changed over the years, I do not judge those who have come to different understandings than I have. In fact, I believe we have so much to learn from one another’s perspectives and experiences. We all see through a glass darkly, and if we strive to understand what others see through their unique lenses, we get to see more of God’s complete picture.


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Tonetta Landis-Aina

I waited to have sex until I was married. I was very intentional about it as I had been taught to be. While I no longer think that this is the path all people must take, I do still think that there is a wisdom in it. I still think that there is something about that path that honors the power of sex and also can encourage true virginity – a profound emptiness before God. I also would like others to know that I have been damaged from walking this path. Yet, I’m not convinced that had I walked another I would have arrived at this point in my life unscathed. But I wonder about a lot that. I’m also not convinced that reserving sex for a lifetime commitment is synonymous with shame and repression. I think it possible that had I been raised in an environment of more openness to sexuality but still decided to reserve sex that I may have been less damaged. Perhaps, above all, I want other Christians to know that I am most concerned that as Christ followers we live out counter-cultural expressions of the kingdom of God in our sexual ethics. No matter which ethic one engages, I think they must always be asking how the countercultural, attractive, repellent scent of the Kingdom of God is continually manifest in the path.


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David Khalaf

There's an increasing polarization around sexual ethics in the LGBTQ+ community. Some stick to a strict monogamous, waiting-until-marriage philosophy, and others have embraced an ethic that welcomes an abundance of sexual exploration and/or polyamory. I think there are dangers going to either extreme, especially if our motivations are unexamined. Although neither my husband nor I came to our relationship as virgins, we chose to reserve sex until after marriage in our relationship. I don't think that's necessarily the right choice for everyone, but it felt right and good to us with where we were in our lives. What was important was no so much the decision we landed on, but the conversations we had about what we wanted for our sex life and what we saw as healthy expressions of sexuality.


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Constantino Khalaf

My husband and I didn't have sex until we were married. Neither of us were virgins, but by the time we met we had independently come to believe that the most beautiful message that two people can convey through sex is the promise of kinship: Saying to a person, "I am yours, and I know you are mine." We are monogamous because we have found that singular devotion to each other is what gives us the security and energy to turn outward in service to our community.


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Shane Bauman

When people find out that I didn’t have sex until I was married, they usually put me in a box with a lot of oppressive ideologies. I believe that lots of purity culture is damaging and wrong. I don’t believe that putting limits on sexual expression is about shame or coercion or control. I strive to be someone who is not legalistic or judgmental. My sexual ethic is not about trying to please the conservatives and make them accept me by buying into their rules.

Limiting my sexual behaviour doesn’t mean that I’m oppressed or repressed. I believe I can be sex-positive and still seek to restrict some of my sexual expression.


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Brian Murphy

I want other LGBTQ+ Christians to know that just because we express our sexuality differently, doesn’t mean that we necessarily have different sexual ethics. There’s a difference between the choices each of us make about the sex we want to be having (or not having) and the values that are underneath those choices. For example, for many years my QueerTheology.com co-founder, Fr. Shannon Kearns, was celibate while I was polyamorous and also having casual sex. But we shared a common sexual ethic of honesty, consent, justice, truth, collaboration, etc.

I also want other LGBTQ+ Christians to know that, for me, I find the sacred present in my expression of my sexual ethic — from the connection I have with my partner of a decade to meeting up with a fling from an app. I find God there, too.


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Melinda Melone

I wish everybody knew that choosing celibacy can provide a rich life filled with love and intimacy, although not in the forms most people are used to seeing. I wish everybody knew that, just because I believe in a certain ethical path, that doesn’t mean I’m judging you if you don’t follow it. Also, I wish everyone knew that there can be serious differences of opinion and conviction among intelligent Christians of good will, and that we can work for justice and worship together without agreeing on everything.


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Sam Locke

In a perfect world, nothing. The libertarian streak in me thinks the church does itself a disservice by placing itself in policy-making roles related to sexuality and in creating environments where Christians feel as though they need others to look favorably upon their sexual practices and relationships. This doesn’t help bring Christ’s vision for the world any closer to reality. Knowing we aren’t in a perfect world, I would want people to know that someone can have a more liberal and open view of sexual ethics while still applying a Christian ethical framework. This sexual ethic is often admitted to by some, but self-described as unhealthy. I would submit it can be both healthy and enjoyable with the right communication and baseline values, leading to deeper connection with oneself, with others, and with God.


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Isaac Archuleta

I take it seriously to have honesty about sex. I think that, depending on your personality type and emotionality, sex can either illicit a major emotional response, be an act of pure physical pleasure, or both. I respect all people and how their bodies function – neurologically, physiologically, and emotionally. We see a diversity in sexual ethics because our bodies (neurologically speaking) function differently, thus allowing individuals to prioritize that which works best with the body they have been born into. I do however want everyone to be careful and aware of any shame that might surround their sexuality. Shame can allow a decision to feel good in a heated moment and horrible thereafter. So if there is one thing I want people to know about my sexual ethic, it is that shame is never allowed to play a part in how I approach, engage and express sex.


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Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers

I try not to make too many assumptions about what people think about my sexual ethic. I find some people think I’m too progressive, while others think I’m too religious/conservative. I find it best to sit and listen – to hear each other’s story, and perhaps most importantly, to hear each other’s pain. I believe God seeks to heal and love us in and through our sexuality. We begin that process by listening to each other with love and compassion and showing up with honesty and vulnerability. In those sacred moments, God is there in our midst. This is where we FRAME (share sexual knowledge), NAME (share our stories), CLAIM (encourage each other to see innate body beauty) and AIM (change the sexual legacy) together.


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Nathanial Green

Liberation doesn’t mean “anything goes”–that’s a disingenuous premise. Instead, it presupposes that our sexuality or positive expressions thereof–gay, straight, pan, bi, ace, poly–are inherently good and something to cultivate, not repress. Justice precludes the possibility of “anything goes”, as does mutuality, consent, and equity. When I celebrate the sexual revolution, I’m celebrating greater societal equity for women, LGBTQ+ people, and those historically oppressed by predominantly Eurocentric expressions of toxic sexuality. I’m celebrating the dismantling of toxic masculinity and the ways we commodify bodies. Generally, I don’t think the Bible is a particularly great place to be looking for a healthy, equitable sexual ethic.

Q Chats | Sexual Ethics | Week 3 (Part 2)

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Q Christian is a community comprised of people with diverse backgrounds, differing theological beliefs, and a variety of ethics. Q Chats are designed to be a deep dive into self-discovery by learning from one another, and spiritually growing side-by-side. Q Chats cannot be effective without you! We invite you to participate. Share your thoughts, stories, and perspectives. Your influential voice can make a difference in the lives of others.

Want to learn more about the people behind the perspectives? Read more.


What do you wish you would have been taught about sexuality or creating your sexual ethics early on by your family, friends, or faith community?


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David Khalaf

I wish there had been more open talk about sex and sexuality growing up. Adults in my life rarely talked about it with me, and so the message I got was that sexuality was something secretive and perhaps even embarrassing. It's possible I would have developed less shame about my sexuality if I saw adults in my life talking about and embracing their own sexuality with more freedom and openness. Now that my husband and I are adults, we try to be conscious about how we can make conversation about sexuality more safe and accessible to the youth in our lives.


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Constantino Khalaf

I wish I had been taught to think about sex as a conversation, one in which you must be attuned not only to what you are saying but also to what your sexual partner is saying. I wish I had learned early on to see others better through sex, so that I would have been more attuned to their emotions, their humanity, and the presence of the divine in them.


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Shane Bauman

Growing up in a non-affirming church I never heard that my sexuality was normal or something that God would bless.  So obviously I wish that I had been taught that being gay was OK and that I didn’t need to hate myself.

My church didn’t talk much about sex and there always seemed to be a lot of shame around the topic of sex.  So I wish I would have been taught that sex and sexual desire are part of God’s creation and that when God says we are wonderfully made, this includes our sexuality and our sexual desires.

I also wish I had been taught to figure out personally what I believe about sex.  Sexual ethics is not about being told what to believe but rather figuring out for yourself what you believe about sex and then living in a way that is consistent with that belief.


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Sam Locke

I wish sexuality had simply been talked about. My aunt was in a long-term partnership with another woman who was fully included (from my perspective) in our family yet it wasn’t until I was a freshman in college that I realized they were a committed couple. As a dad and as a pastor, I hope to create environments where people feel safe to ask questions and converse about sexuality free from judgment and expectations which means being comfortable with myself and not being afraid to talk about my own sexual identity and sexual practices. As weird as it may sound, I think it is especially important to normalize behavior related to sexuality by simply discussing it and not being afraid to live as your genuine self (i.e. being on dating apps, going to gay bars, etc.).


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Isaac Archuleta

I wish I could have grown up in an affirming church where not just my sexuality was spoken talk of openly with guidance and encouragement (with boundaries), but one in which my personality was validated, as well. Knowing that sex has become an act that feels so personal, I wish I had known that when I express myself sexually it is good, blessed, and affirmed by God. This lesson would have saved me many years making shamed-based decisions. 


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Nathanial Green

All I had ever known as the alternative to my constrictive view of sexuality was “anything goes”. But liberation doesn’t mean “anything goes”–that’s a disingenuous premise. Instead, it presupposes that our sexuality or positive expressions thereof–gay, straight, pan, bi, ace, poly–are inherently good and something to cultivate, not repress. Justice precludes the possibility of “anything goes”, as does mutuality, consent, and equity. When I celebrate the sexual revolution, I’m celebrating greater societal equity for women, LGBTQ+ people, and those historically oppressed by predominantly Eurocentric expressions of toxic sexuality. I’m celebrating the dismantling of toxic masculinity and the ways we commodify bodies. Honorable mention: I don’t think the Bible is a particularly great place to be looking for a healthy, equitable sexual ethic.

Q Chats | Sexual Ethics | Week 3 (Part 1)

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Q Christian is a community comprised of people with diverse backgrounds, differing theological beliefs, and a variety of ethics. Q Chats are designed to be a deep dive into self-discovery by learning from one another, and spiritually growing side-by-side. Q Chats cannot be effective without you! We invite you to participate. Share your thoughts, stories, and perspectives. Your influential voice can make a difference in the lives of others.

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What do you wish you would have been taught about sexuality or creating your sexual ethics early on by your family, friends, or faith community?


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Matthias Roberts

I wish sex had been framed as being healthy and good, instead of being something that only has the potential to ruin our lives. While there certainly is risk involved in sexual relationships (as there is risk in all relationships), there is also incredible goodness that a sexual relationship can bring.


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Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers

I wish my family, school and faith communities were more celebratory of cultural, gender and sexual diversities and intersectionalities. There is so much to know and celebrate in all the diversities in God’s creation, and to learn from how each other experiences the world. I feel like I had to wait until I was much older and my circle of friends became much wider until I could hear the myriad of stories from people’s lives, cultures and countries. This beauty is spectacular and filled with wisdom.  On the contrary, the ignorance of not knowing and learning from this diversity causes us to be blind and causes so much unnecessary pain and hardship.


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Tonetta Landis-Aina

I wish my family and friends had taught me that expressing sexuality is a part of what it is to be human. I wish had been taught that sexuality is as natural as breathing and is part of everyday life. I would have love to have gotten the message that it is not something that need to be hidden away and never talked about. I also wish that my family and friends had connected the exploration of my sexuality to the exploration of myself. Just as they encouraged me to understand myself as a young person growing up in the world – what I liked and didn’t like, what I was good at and where my growing edges were – it would have been wonderful to be encouraged to understand myself sexually. I can imagine that age appropriate advice and boundaries would have opened the door to self-understanding and would have provided practical lessons in autonomy and self-assertion. I wish that my church had taught me the nuance surrounding the biblical verses that have to do with sex and sexuality. I wish they had been honest about the interpretive space surrounding these verses. Additionally, I wish they had not only focused on verses about “fornication” but would have also taught the spectrum of messages the Bible gives about sexuality from the rape of Tamar to Songs of Songs. Learning also that reason and experience -- in addition to the Bible and church tradition – were valid markers on the journey to know truth would have been a welcome message. Finally, I wish my church had connected my sacred sexuality to the incarnation of God.


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Brian Murphy

When it comes to sexuality and making ethical decisions about sex, I wish I had been taught with more clarity and emphasis the importance of mutuality — mutuality is such a Christian concept, I shouldn’t have to learn about mutuality in sex from secular spaces! I wish that when I was younger, my family, friends, or faith community had taught me to “judge a tree by its fruits” when it comes to theology around sex. I wish had been taught less about black & white rules and trite metaphors (tape that won’t stick, chewed up gum) and more about honoring the holiness of the person I’m encountering and be faithful to love (God is love after all).


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Bukola Landis-Aina

I wish that I had known that sexuality is not static! Maybe then I would not have been so taken aback when I felt attraction for a woman for the first time (or at least recognized it as such) at age 29. I also would have loved to have language to explain to my family that although the feelings were “new”, I was not “choosing” or being tricked into a new lifestyle. I wish our communities went beyond educating about sex in terms of avoiding the negative effects of disease and unwanted pregnancy. I wish there were spaces where peers were encouraged to share their experiences about deciding whether to have sex, pain during sex, masturbation, etc.


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Melinda Melone

I grew up Catholic in the 1960s and ‘70s, when “gay” wasn’t even a thing I knew I could be – I thought it meant Elton John or women who hated men and lived in all-female communes. I was taught that the Church defined sexual ethics, along with everything else in the moral and ethical sphere. It wasn’t until I got to college that I learned the distinction between orientation and behavior, and that there could be differences of opinion among faithful Christians on what to do about both. It would also have been helpful to know some basic facts about the gender and sexuality spectra.

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