A Guest Post by Bastian Bouman
Bastian Bouman recently attended his first Gay Christian Network Conference, and he was kind enough to share a reflection here on Where She Is.
The weekend I spent at the 2016 Gay Christian Network Conference was spectacular.
While the conference theme, “What’s Next?,” explored the way forward for LGBT people, I heard a whole lot about the “silent letters” and the “forgotten orientations,” the last three letters of LGBTQIA. The “Q” refers to queer or questioning, the “I” for intersex, the “A” for asexual. As someone who identifies as asexual, I was glad to hear the orientation called out specifically more than a few times (Thanks!).
I found myself feeling convicted by many presentations having to do with the Side B outlook, especially Allyson Robinson’s plenary. I’m a Side A Christian, and I’ll admit that, as often as I remind myself that Side B Christians come to their conclusions through long periods of prayer, study, and reflection, I have fallen into the habit of thinking that the Side B perspective was something to be tolerated, or respectfully avoided, while the course of progress slowly made it irrelevant. I thought Side B was a relic of an old way of thinking, with nothing relevant to my own life.
However, I attended a workshop session on celibacy, mostly because I’m a really huge fan of the slated presenters, Lindsey and Sarah, the bloggers who write A Queer Calling. I’d read their post disowning the Side A–Side B terminology, and their posts denouncing the celibacy mandate. However, the session ended up being presented by Ron Belgau, who argues for Side B in “The Great Debate,” though Lindsey and Sarah were there (I was still too timid to say “hi” afterward).
During the session, Belgau addressed the workshop attendees as if we all were Side B, which made me a bit uncomfortable. But when we broke into small groups and people immediately started complaining about pointing out how bad society is at friendship and/or any kind of non-sexual, non-romantic relationships, I was like, “Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!”
When those in my group started talking about their hopes and dreams for future relationships and discussed models of relationships, I realized I’d made a huge mistake. The Side B people I had dismissed were exactly the people I’d been looking for. In all the months I’d been looking for answers and options, looking for a path to follow, I had, out of misplaced derision, overlooked the people most likely to have already blazed that trail ahead of me.
To all the Side B Christians: I’m so sorry. Thank you for being so radical. Thank you for blazing a trail.
I’ve got a whole lot more reading to do. And I’m so grateful.
Bastian Bouman is an Asexual exploring a possible call to celibacy. He has been identifying as Ace since April or May of 2015. He is a member of the Christian Reformed Church (a Calvinist branch of Protestantism) and is deeply indebted to the CRC for many of his foundational philosophies. A student of writing in the English Department at Calvin College, he is a part of the Class of 2018. More of his writing can be found at: http://acebythegrand.blogspot.com/.
© 2016 by Christian Feminism Today
Index of GCN 2016 Conference Content on Christian Feminism Today
Introduction to the #GCNConf Series
Introduction to weconnect Featured Speaker Emmy Kegler
Interview with weconnect Featured Speaker Emmy Kegler
First Timer Reflections – Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton, PhD
First Timer Reflections – Sam Koster
First Timer Reflections – Bastian Bauman
First Timer Reflections – Kirsti Reeve