We are delighted to be hosting the Side B mini-retreat at the first QCF Summer Retreat! We’ve been working together with the QCF leadership over the past year, helping the QCF community stay open to folks who hold to the more traditional or historic Christian sexual ethics. We loved meeting so many of you at the Conference in January, but didn’t get nearly enough time to just hang out and chat, let alone have the deep discussions we really love. We’re thrilled to have this extra opportunity to do just that.
We’ll have two and a half hours set aside on one day of the retreat to spend just with the Side B members of the QCF family. We welcome both those who are firmly committed to the traditional sexual ethic, those who are still exploring, those who are uncertain, those who have been around the QCF community for years, as well as those who are relative newcomers. We welcome LGBTQ+ folks of all stripes as well as straight and/or cis parents, spouses, pastors and other allies who hold our common ethical stance.
What is that ethical stance, specifically? We believe that genital sexual activity should be reserved for male-female marriage, according to our views of the Scriptures, to our traditions, and to our understanding of church history. While we realize that none of these three sources are unproblematic or indisputable, either our current understanding of Scripture, or our commitment to our tradition or faith community, or both, call us to believe in and practice celibacy for the unmarried, and marriage as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. We recognize that Christians of good will and serious views of Scripture can differ with this position, and we respect the journeys of others.
That said, there are a wide variety of beliefs on other issues within the Side B community. Depending on our faith communities and Scriptural interpretations, we have varied convictions on issues such as divorce and remarriage, mixed-orientation marriages, celibate partnerships, medical transitioning for trans folk, gender roles in the family and the church, and even many other disputable matters not related to sexuality and gender, such as the nature of the Lord’s Supper/Communion/the Eucharist. So, when we come together, we try to come with open hearts and listening spirits, to learn from and love one another across differences.
What can you expect when you come to the retreat-within-a-retreat? We’ll probably be a fairly small group, so a lot of our time will be informal. There will be time for newcomers to ask basic questions about Side B, and for long-timers to dive deep into ongoing discussions. We’ll probably do some creative brainstorming and play with art, especially around finding better language than “Side B” to describe our commitments. We’ll have time to meet, greet and eat with new and old friends. We may even sneak out to the beach for a bit, weather and time permitting. Most of all, we’re going to enjoy one another’s company, knowing that we are family in Christ, and that we share common convictions and commitments. We look forward to spending this time with you!