Bloggingheads: Celibacy, Clerical Culture and Sexuality
What's Bloggingheads? A cool new (well, a few years old) website that brings together two "experts" to discuss a newsy topic at length. And I mean at length. This discussion between me and Peter Laarman, the director of Progressive Christians Uniting, lasts almost an hour. (Progressive Christians is a network of activist individuals and congregations headquartered in Los Angeles. Laarman, ordained in the United Church of Christ, also served as the senior minister of New York’s Judson Memorial Church from 1994 to 2004.) The length of the interview enables the kind of in-depth conversation that you'll have a hard time finding anywhere else...even on public radio. Bloggingheads brought us together to talk about celibacy in general, in light of the abuse crisis (and in light of the widespread misunderstanding and simple ignorance about priestly celibacy and religious chastity). Reverend Laarman and I also discuss human sexuality, women in the church, the witness of chaste nuns and celibate priests throughout history (and how their chastity contributed to their witness), celibate saints, and the universal call to holiness for all Christians, no matter what state of life. (Along the way, we also pause to chat about the new archbishop of Los Angeles, Nicholas Kristof and Elisabeth Schussler-Fiorenza.) We didn't always agree on everything (as you'll see), but it was a respectful and lively and intelligent conversation. Enjoy--but give yourself some time to do so!