This event has passed. ×

Talking Across the Divide on Same-Sex Marriage

How can Christians bridge the cultural divide on polarizing issues like same-sex marriage? Justin Lee and Ron Belgau are longtime friends who have come to different conclusions on gay marriage. Ron and Justin both grew up in churches where realizing they were gay came with significant shame. Ron embraces the church’s traditional teaching and works to help the church become a place where celibate gay Christians can thrive. Justin’s journey of study and prayer eventually led him to believe that gender is not the defining aspect of marriage. In this presentation, Justin and Ron will explore the ways they agree and disagree, sharing wisdom on respectful language and bridge-building gleaned from their long experience in this area, as a model for those in the church today who have passionate and principled Biblical beliefs.  While people have pressured each of them to denounce the other, they have refused, choosing instead to remain in friendship and to keep dialogue open on this important topic. Hear why they choose to take the difficult path of listening and extending grace, and how we can apply the same posture on all kinds of divisive issues.

Ron Belgau is an internationally known speaker on Biblical sexual ethics and his own experiences as a celibate gay Christian. Together with Wesley Hill, Ron is the co-founder of Spiritual Friendship, a blog that features “musings on God, sexuality, and relationships” from a traditional Christian perspective. Spiritual Friendship explores questions relevant to gay Christians who are celibate or married to a straight spouse.

Ron received his undergraduate degree at the University of Washington, worked at Microsoft as a Software Design Engineer, and studied philosophy at St. Louis University, where he also taught ethics, medical ethics, philosophy of the human person, and philosophy of religion. Find out more about Ron at

Justin says of Ron: If everyone were as kind to their philosophical opponents as Ron is, the world would be a much better place. Ron is a brilliant, nuanced, deep thinker. Although we disagree on some things quite strongly, I’d trust him more than just about anyone else I know to give both sides a fair hearing and treat people on the other side with respect and grace.

Justin Lee’s speaking, writing, organizing, and advocacy over the past two decades have made him one of the most influential Christian voices for LGBT+ people in the church. Justin speaks widely on faith, sexuality, and dialogue, consulting across lines of theological disagreement to promote grace and mutual understanding. He is the founder of the world’s largest LGBT+ Christian organization, and the author of two books: Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, and Talking Across the Divide: How to Communicate with People You Disagree With and Maybe Even Change the World.

Justin currently serves as executive director of Nuance Ministries and as a consultant for the Tyler Clementi Foundation. Find his blog and videos at

Ron says of Justin: Justin has taught me more than anyone else what it means to be patient and charitable in an intellectual discussion. He is very empathetic, and able to see the world from someone else’s point of view, even when he thinks that person is deeply wrong. He cares very deeply about other people, and is a peacemaker, a person who strives to reconcile those who are in conflict.

This event is free and open to the public will also be livestreamed.

Sponsored by the Sexuality Series, Communication, Gender Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Christian Perspectives in Science Seminars, and the Calvin Center for Faith and Writing.

February 2019
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

View Today
Event quick search
Share this event