On Reading James Brownson

From First Thoughts

In the latest issue of The Living Church , I review James Brownson’s new book Bible, Gender, Sexuality . Here’s my summary of the book’s main argument: Brownson argues that . . . gender complementarity is nowhere “explicitly portrayed or discussed” in Scripture. Genesis . . . . Continue Reading »

Morally Exemplary Friendships

From First Thoughts

We often hear that friendship is undervalued today because it’s been eclipsed by romantic love. If marriage (or simply sexual partnerships of one sort or another) are the places to experience true love, then friendship gets demoted. But in his book The Feast of Friendship Paul O’Callaghan . . . . Continue Reading »

The Destinations of Love

From First Thoughts

Jonathan Rauch’s brief memoir, Denial: My Twenty-Five Years Without a Soul , published recently as a Kindle Single, describes how powerful it can be to find that your previous unnamable self has a place . For much of the story’s first half, Rauch tells about trying to interpret his . . . . Continue Reading »

The Problem of Monastic Cliques

From First Thoughts

In his warmly pastoral Friends in Christ: Paths to a New Understanding of Church , Brother John of Taizé discusses the rise of monasticism as a response to Scriptural injunctions to brotherly love. Monasticism, in this account, was the place where a uniquely Christian theology of friendship . . . . Continue Reading »

Church Before Sex

From First Thoughts

When I was in seminary, one of the hot topics we students debated was where each of us stood on the matter of women’s ordination. In our evangelical world, this issue was talked about in terms of “ egalitarianism ” (i.e., women are equally gifted alongside men and are called to serve . . . . Continue Reading »

On Reading Richard Giannone

From First Thoughts

In his memoir Hidden: Reflections on Gay Life, AIDS, and Spiritual Desire , Richard Giannone, emeritus professor at Fordham, writes about his mother’s slow decline and his care for her in her final days. Central to the story is Giannone’s long-time partner Frank. After Giannone’s . . . . Continue Reading »