The Role of Relationships in Resolving Tension between Same-sex Attraction and Religious Beliefs
Moore, B, The Role of Relationships in Resolving Tension between Same-sex Attraction and Religious Beliefs, TASA Conference Proceedings, 25th-28th November 2013, Melbourne, pp. 1-14. ISBN 9780646911267 (2013) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Same- sex attracted (SSA) Christians often experience tension between their sexual identity and religious beliefs. While the majority of SSA individuals leave the church, many retain their faith and struggle to resolve the tension, often experienced as conflict. A recent paper by Levy and Reeves (2011) describes the resolution of conflict as a five stage process. This paper is a critique of one of these stages, the catalyst stage, a pivotal moment of comprehension which enables individuals to move forward and work through their conflict, which Levy and Reeves describe as initiated by new knowledge. This is important as the catalyst can be understood as the moment where an individual is empowered to break free of structural constraints and express agency, thus effecting transformation. I propose that rather than new knowledge per se, the breakdown of old and the building of new relationships enables individuals to receive either new knowledge or to reframe old knowledge, which takes on new meaning, opening alternative ways of being. This is in line with recent theoretical understandings of the religious experience moving away from cognitive to more relational understandings of identity. The findings are based upon qualitative data compiled from 28 semi-structured interviews with SSA members actively involved with four Christian congregations in Sydney and Melbourne.
Refereed Conference Paper
Same-sex Attraction; Christianity; Religious Experience; Identity; Transformation