First of all, thank you all for the overwhelming positive and supportive response to my post suggesting this. I legitimately thought this idea might seem pointless and had my doubts that anyone would care — only to turn around and get a boatload of unexpected affirmation and advice. Consider this my awkward but warm expression of appreciation. Y’all are great.
And particular thanks to Connie/doubleinvert for her comment bringing the UCC denomination to my attention — the one United Church of Christ in my area is pretty small, and I probably wouldn’t have found its page if I hadn’t have gone deliberately looking for it.
Without any further happy yammering — here’s the skeleton of what I sent out:
While your website provides a good overview of what you believe, I have a specific question about [Name of Church’s] doctrine: what is this church’s stance on asexuality, in terms of theological beliefs?
In general, not much has been said on Christianity’s stance on asexuality, which is part of why I ask. To clarify: an asexual person is someone who does not experience sexual attraction to any gender. In case this topic is unfamiliar, here are some links that provide more information.
Also, what is this church’s position on permanent celibacy/singlehood and celibate marriages? Do you believe that all lay people are called to marry and raise children?
I am very interested in hearing a response to this question and learning more about the tenets of this church. Even if it’s only a brief answer, I’d like to know.
Thank you for your time.
Notes: I intentionally tried to keep it sparse and simple on the links (I even linked the wikipedia article instead of another ace website… Please don’t throw rocks at me). The plan, at least at the start, is to suss out initial reactions rather than dive into an education spree directed at an individual person. The less I tell them off the bat, the more (I hope) the responses can be taken as reflective of the attitudes of the congregation as a whole, and I want to make it look like I’m a curious learner looking for information more than an educator rattling off a spiel.
In most cases, the websites didn’t give out a specific name identifying who would read their email, so I left that part off. Any time a church provided a personal email address, though, for pastors and such, I chose to use their names.
Some of the churches I picked out didn’t have an available email address, providing only a contact form. Of these churches, one of them imposed a length limit on the message, so I had to send a truncated version, which was pretty annoying.
I must say, though, it was interesting to see the variations in web design they all employed, from sleek and stunning to dated and atrocious. Some of them must have hired professionals, and others clearly didn’t know what they were doing.
God bless the church that put the text url of its website on the homepage of its website. I was laughing so hard.
Several of their contact pages made a point of inviting questions and encouraging people to contact them, so I’m somewhat hopeful of getting replies.
Anyone reading this is welcome to use a copy of my email or use it as a basis for messaging some religious groups in your own area. You can probably draft something better than what I threw together, but I hope it helps.
This email (or a version of it) was sent out to a total of 18 churches. These can be broken down to:
- 1 Catholic church
- 1 Episcopal (Anglican) church
- 3 Baptist churches
- 2 Bible Churches (what you might call “fundamentalists”)
- 1 Presbyterian church
- 1 Church of the Nazarene
- 4 Lutheran churches
- 2 Methodist churches, including one listed on the Reconciling Ministries Network as home to a few “reconciling” (LGBT-friendly) bible study classes
- 1 UCC church that has “Open and Affirming” (LGBT-friendly) on its homepage
- and 2 other churches that I couldn’t seem to classify.
Altogether, that’s just 2/18 churches that explicitly declare themselves LGBT-friendly, which is a disappointing turnout. I’ll probably add more later, though. This is just to get things going.
You may now place your bets.
UPDATE: The responses have begun!
April 22nd, 2014 at 11:36 am
I think your letter is great starting point. It addressed the issue at hand, but is open enough to invite dialog for those who are so inclined. I’m really looking forward to what results you get!
November 13th, 2014 at 9:06 pm
[…] think the next step would be to discuss this with rabbis, perhaps in something like the church email project, though if I were going to do it I’d want to first do more research on Jewish sexual […]