The Bible tells the dramatic story of God’s creation of the world, the sin of Adam and Eve, and the devastating effects of sin on the entire human race. It also tells of God’s initiative to restore fallen humanity to His friendship: the calling of Abraham, the Law given to Moses, and the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. With regard to sexual ethics, Jesus’s message is something of a paradox: in the Sermon on the Mount or in His dialogue with the Pharisees about divorce and remarriage, He sets a higher standard than the Law of Moses. But with the woman at the well or the woman taken in adultery, there is grace, forgiveness, and the offer of new life. Though the Bible only addresses homosexual activity briefly, that teaching can be fleshed out by connecting it with the larger Biblical story. This workshop will examine what the Bible says about sexual ethics, arguing for the traditional Christian sexual ethic. But it will also place that teaching in the context of Christ’s calling, which is full of grace, truth, and hope.
Ron Belgau is an internationally known speaker who lectures on Biblical sexual ethics and his own experiences as a celibate gay Christian. He is the cofounder, with Wesley Hill, of Spiritual Friendship, a group blog dedicated to exploring how the recovery of authentic Christian teaching on friendship can help provide a faithful and orthodox response to the challenge of homosexuality. In 2015, during Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia, he and his mother Beverley were invited to speak at the World Meeting of Families about how Catholic families can better respond to gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons in their midst.
He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Washington, then worked at Microsoft as a Software Design Engineer in Test for several years before starting graduate school. He then studied Philosophy at St. Louis University, where he also taught ethics, medical ethics, philosophy of the human person, and philosophy of religion. He also spent the 2009-2010 school year at the University of Notre Dame as a research assistant at the Center for Philosophy of Religion.
For a decade and a half, he has travelled around the United States speaking about sexuality and pro-life issues from an orthodox Christian perspective. He has spoken at Catholic and Protestant churches and universities (including Pepperdine, Calvin College, Gordon College, Seattle Pacific, Notre Dame, Hope College, and Huntington University); more recently, he has also been invited to speak at Trinity Western University in Canada and Notre Dame’s extension Campus in London. In addition to Spiritual Friendship, he has served on the steering committees for Bridges Across the Divide, as a group leader for Multifaith AIDS Projects, and as leader of the Gay Christian Network’s celibacy support forum. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, New Oxford Review, First Things, Public Discourse, Ethika Politika, and Notre Dame Magazine, where one of his essays shared first place for “Best investigative writing or analysis,” in the Catholic Press Association’s 2005 Press Awards.