Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality
Wesley Hill, Trinity School for Ministry
In a lecture on his new book entitled Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality, Dr. Wes Hill invited the Agora Institute into a challenging discussion about the church and the world. Delving into his personal experience as a celibate homosexual Christian, Dr. Hill brought a unique and refreshing perspective on how one’s identity might fit into the larger narrative of God’s creative and redemptive work in the world.
Dr. Hill explained the title of his book with reference to specific passages of Scripture: washed refers to the cleansing of sin in baptism. He described the experience of finding that a particular two aspects of his identity––Christian and homosexual––were not mutually exclusive. As he struggled to make sense of his homosexual orientation, which seemed to him to be something wholly beyond his control, he could not accept the idea that this particular struggle somehow negated the fact that he was a Christian, and that he derived his most basic and fundamental identity from the fact that he was a believer, baptized into the Body of Christ. Hence the assurance that he was in fact, and always would be, someone who had been washed in the waters of baptism.
Throughout his journey to discover his story in the midst of the greater narrative in which God works, he was also moved by those passages of Scripture which describe both believers and all of creation as waiting for the completion of God’s redemptive work. Scripture describes creation as crying out for the Lord, groaning as it awaits the fulfillment of the eschaton; the whole host of heaven cries out, “How long, O Lord?” Dr. Hill concluded that his own biological reality was no exception to the prolonged effects of the Fall, and described himself as one who, though washed, must now wait with the rest of creation, oftentimes crying out and groaning, for the fullness of the redemption of the body.
Wesley Hill is assistant professor of New Testament at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Wheaton College (B.A.) and Durham University (M.A., Ph.D.). He is the author of Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality (Zondervan, 2010) and a forthcoming book on Paul's epistles and the doctrine of the Trinity.