On Friday afternoon [11/6/15] of the Covenant Network National Conference, Presbyterian Teaching Elder Layton Williams, from Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, offered a workshop entitled “Bisexuality Basics: Honoring the ‘Bi’ in Pres-Bi-Terian.”
[Editor’s note: The Presbyterian Lay Committee continues to adhere to, uphold and advocate the Christian worldview that fidelity in marriage between one man and one woman and chastity in singleness is God’s best for human beings. Our coverage of Presbyterian meetings hosted by those who believe differently is a part of our ongoing effort to inform and equip Christians to understand and engage meaningfully in the issues of the day. Journalistic coverage should not be misunderstood as agreement with the views expressed herein.]
After introductions around the semi-circle of eight participants, Rev. Williams shared a list of definitions to provide a working lexicon for attendees.
“Bisexuality,” Williams defined as “attraction to people of one’s own gender and people of other genders.”
She shared that as a person who identifies as bisexual she resonates with a definition of bisexuality by Robin Ochs, “the potential to be attracted, romantically and/or sexually, to people of more than one sex, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
Williams then identified “pansexual and polysexual” as terms that are related to bisexuality. “Both terms,” she said, “describe people whose attractions move beyond a single gender.”
By contrast, Williams identified “gay, lesbian and straight” people as “monosexual” because they attracted to exclusively one gender. She added that “monosexuals are considered privileged by bisexual people.”
Asexuality was discussed and then polyamory which was defined as “the practice, desire, or acceptance of intimate relationships that are not exclusive with respect to other intimate relationships, with the knowledge and consent of all involved.” Williams added that “consensual non-monogamous” is another way of saying polyamorous; adding that “you can be bisexual monogamous or bisexual polyamorous.”
When asked about the Q in LBGTQ, Williams answered that “Queer is an umbrella term for those whose sexual and/or gender fall outside of heterosexuality and cisgender.”
Cisgender, you ask? Williams answered, “we’re getting to that.”
But first she defined “transgender as a gender identity that does not align with the sex assigned to a person at birth.” Offering three related terms:
- Gender queer (the bisexuality of gender – which can be fluid)
- Cisgender – a person’s gender identity is coherent with the sex they were assigned at birth
- Agender – a person who does not identify with a specific gender
When a question about agender was raised, the workshop participant who identified as an asexual polyamorous transgender woman, further explained that “a non-binary person rejects the distinct difference between male and female. They don’t think of it as a linear scale but as a galaxy of orbits that are ever changing.”
Williams then shared her story. She said she had a “conservative upbringing in Atlanta, in a blended Presbyterian family,” where she was “exposed to issues of sexuality in public school. First exploring sexuality/bisexuality in high school, she lived open in college and came out in seminary” after, she said she “went to a discovery weekend at Austin and met many queer students.”
She openly admits that she has been in relationships with both women and men and that she “went through my call process and my hiring process in a very open way.” She says, “I have loved the people that I have loved for exactly who they were. I am attracted to all of them.”
Each person who identifies as bisexual, Williams said, “has their own story.” She shared about an individual who “identifies as gender non-binary or gender queer.” They were “previously married to a man and then came out as a lesbian and dated women exclusively for a while but now consider themselves bi and polyamorous.” And another individual who “identifies as genderqueer but was in a lesbian relationship and is married to that spouse.” Then they “transitioned to a genderqueer identity.” That resulted, Williams said, in “lesbian no longer describes the relationship.” She added that they “never identified as bi until they started taking hormones and experienced attraction to both men and women.”
When asked how this aligns with the “marriage matters” conversation and the efforts led by the Covenant Network for “marriage equality,” Williams admits that for “polyamorous people marriage is not a relevant construct.”
Particular struggles of bisexual people
Williams said that “people who identify as bisexual are the largest subset of the LGB community but the least resourced.”
They experience, Williams said, “Biphobia,” which she defined as “hostility from all sides even within the queer community. Because we pass as straight we have access to privilege. But when that happens it’s called ‘eraser’ – because the reality of who I am is erased by the assumption that I’m straight.”
That leads to a further complicating reality for the person identifying as bi. Williams spoke personally about “invisibility.” Describing it, she said, “if I’m walking with a partner I’m assumed to be straight if my partner is a man and lesbian if my partner is a woman. For a bisexual person, every second that we’re not saying it, we’re miserable because it’s assumed that we’re not bisexual. Which is why I have to make it an issue. My constant naming of my reality is” driven, Williams said, by this sense of “invisibility.”
Honoring the Bi in Pres-Bi-Terian
Williams then identified several “gifts of bisexual people” in church:
- “Ability to hold seemingly disparate truths together; holding things in tension.
- “Ability to question and challenge presumed boundaries, appreciation of nuance and complexity.
- “Understanding that what is seen is rarely the full story.
- “Understanding of being misunderstood, ostracized, etc. leads me to seek out the people who don’t fit in any way.
Rev. Layton Williams blogs at http://www.rmnetwork.org/newrmn/author/lwilliam/
I thought that the whole reason for gay marriage in the pcusa was for the union of life long partners, from what she’s saying it’s anything goes. Sounds like she’s trisexual, she’ll try anything.
I’m sure Parson’s is just beaming right now.
Based on the comment of James H, the Layman’s purpose in covering these events is not an “ongoing effort to inform and equip Christians” it is to incite and develop negative perceptions and divisions. The Layman’s ongoing efforts to drive wedges and create conflict has nothing to do with engagement – what they want people to do is to dis-engage and dis-affiliate.
So, bringing the lies to light is inciting and developing negative perceptions and divisions? No, the lies that PCUSA members were told about why gay marriage was to be forced on them is what has created the wedges and divisions. Breaking ordination vows by having multiple partners is a wedge issue.
You can’t make this stuff up.
After reading all of this, I remember that Peter told us:
18 For by speaking high-sounding but empty words they are able to entice, with fleshly desires and with debauchery, people who have just escaped from those who reside in error. 19 Although these false teachers promise such people freedom, they themselves are enslaved to immorality. For whatever a person succumbs to, to that he is enslaved (2 Peter 2:18-20).
“God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in anything, contrary to his Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.” —Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 20, Para. 2
The Presbyterian Church (USA) so adores this statement that it has lifted it from its context in Westminster and put it in its Book of Order. Yet when I see the theories behind Sexual Orientation to which many in ordained office in the PC(USA) would have us bind our conscience, set forth in order to justify all manner of sexual perversions (e.g., homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism), I have to conclude that they truly do not believe this statement, exempting, as they do, their favorite theories. Moreover, their attempts to bind our conscience to these obscene theories violate the very next paragraph in Westminster:
“They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” —Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 20, Para. 3
After reading this, does anybody expect the call by the Stated Clerk to dialogue and find common ground a seriuos proposal. The PCUSA is irreparably divided. The only serious dialogue is to open the door and let congregations go.
Oh good grief …
another reason why I’m glad I left the unhealthy atmosphere of the PC(USA); but another reason we keep saying that “We’re not THOSE Presbyterians!”.
Well, Loren: you are not a member of a PCUSA congregation. On what basis do you use the words “us” and “our.” No one is asking you to do anything. Catholics, baptists, mormons, anglicans – not to mention muslims, buddhists, whoever – they all promote ideas that are contrary to the particular beliefs of your denomination. You must be any awfully busy person if it is your responsibility to correct everyone you imagine is in error.
Just a small side note.
The Rev. Layton Williams is from Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, the same church at which Union Seminary’s new evangelism professor, the Rev. John Vest, was on staff for many years, and the same church that one of Mr. Vest’s defenders described as mainline.
These folks may be mainline … something, but they are most assuredly not mainline Christians. But we knew that already, didn’t we?
A person is a being, sex is a behavior. It is interesting how some tie a being to a behavior, that they are somehow one in the same.
The strategy is that if we reject the behavior, we, in fact, reject the person. A textbook case of rationalization. Clever, but no sale. We cannot ask God to bless that which is expressly labeled sin (morality) in both the Old and New Testaments. They can call us whatever names they wish.
Anybody want to go ahead and offer up their projections for how many members with PCUSA will lose in 2015 and then again in 2016?
Since we’re are going to have a “conversation” about the future of the denomination while this kind of foolishness is accelerating then the conversation ought to at least be realistic.
This would be funny if it wasn’t pitifully sad.
You gotta love it.
West chastises Loren Golden for criticizing those who hold “ideas that are contrary to the particular beliefs of your denomination.” And yet Mr. Golden is simply quoting the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Hey West! Listen up! The Westminister Confession of Faith is in your PCUSA Book of Confessions. Did you know that? Mr. Golden is not talking about the particular beliefs of his denomination, he’s talking about the particular beliefs of your denomination.
You might want to study what the PCUSA claims to believe before you start calling the particular beliefs Mr. Golden has lifted up the beliefs of another denomination. When you do this, it makes you look less than totally brilliant.
Well, Donnie Bob, I am sure we can locate many people who believe that everything from ordaining women to lending money at interest amounts to practicing sin “upon pretense of Christian liberty” as you and Mr. Golden seem to believe about Layton Williams. Nonetheless, your say so does not make it so.
Martha! – it would be fine if Carmen would say “I am reporting this to bring lies to light” – that is not what it says, read it. Layman picks and chooses what it reports on to get more subscribers and $$$$$$ from people like you…
Well, what can I tell you? Life in the wide world goes on much as it has this past Age, full of its own comings and goings, scarcely aware of the existence of you, for which I am very thankful.
Martha – this post by Fred is a perfect example of what I just said – the Layman just sows and promotes division. Does not engage in conversation, just promotes leaving…
I just want to know….is there really not ANYBODY that stands up at a conference like this and says: “The emperor has no clothes….what on earth is wrong with you people and what on earth are you talking about????!!…do you really not know you are certifiably nuts?!
All rhetoric aside, there can be NO dismissing on-going destructive behavior that God quite literally deems sinful (to put it mildly).
This to say that if one can’t denounce homosexuality as sin, which is clearly God’s stance on the issue, and demonstrate their renewal in Christ, then they should not be in leadership nor should they be ordained.
Now, before I get blasted by advocates of homosexual leadership within the Church, let me say that I believe that God will indeed forget anyone’s past sins, including the homosexual’s past sins and lifestyle.
And, although communities that reject Christ often denounce this truth, I know and believe that ex-homosexuals and any other classification of sinner can indeed become healed, completely.
I also believe that anyone, not just homosexuals can become accountable, healed and free from past sins and move effectively into certain areas of leadership in ministry and to varied degrees within the church, however, probably never becoming ordained pastors/ministers because as most admit, most struggle continually and the healing process may well be a lifelong.
So the question is, are they, are you, am I, willing to go on that journey with Christ and submit to His rules and the rules of His Creation that I am most certainly a part of? Or, will you continue to live by your own rules in contention with God?
Maybe that’s because the denomination promotes only apostasy these days…
The “queering” of the PCUSA is indeed an interesting process. In essence the end point of the queer church. which the PCUSA is, is the total elimination of human sexuality, either orientation, and behaviors as a relevant factor in matters of ordination,call, placement of PCUSA clergy. It becomes irrelevant. So in essence the contemporary PCUSA clergy can be sexual libertines in frequency, orientation, and behaviors, and we are asked to pretend it does not matter. Love is love is love.
The Roman Catholics got in trouble because of the sexual behaviors of its clergy class, and tried to hide or deny it. In the PCUSA we celebrate it and put it on public display.
Would you trust your children, alone, with a PCUSA clergy person?
Again, well done PCUSA.
I agree with you, but I would like to point out that forgiveness of sins requires repentance. Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32)
I have not seen any evidence that these LBGTQ folk have any desire to repent of their sins.
I would not want to expose my children to a PCUSA church. Seems like a lot a parents don’t want to do either, when one considers the ever declining membership.
This is JB’s legacy to the PCUSA.
He passed his mantle to an appropriate successor.
Sometimes, as I watch the increasingly irretrievable apostasy of the PCUSA under current management, it looks like a bad SNL skit or new edition of Bizzarro World.
My associate Harold in Pennsylvania said many years ago, “The most dangerous people are those with no shame.”
Pres – Bi – Terian?
How utterly juvenile…not to mention debased.
Does this mean our next stop is, “Polygamous Presbyterian Pastors Demand…”
There is nothing really new under the sun. The contemporary queer/LGBT “theology” and cosmology, which is really PCUSA theology, is nothing more than an updating of the ancient Isis cult of the 1st century Roman world. Where salvation, liberation, insight was not the result of surrender of the Will and life to Jesus Christ as Savior, or even recognition of God. But all spiritual benefits and insights of faith was through physical sexual activity, or coupling in various forms, means and variations. Sex was god, divine, holy. god was sex.
Practitioners of the ancient cult knew full well the growing church or “people of the way”. which rejected the sexual depravity and poly-amorous nature of their practices could not exist side by side with orthodox Christianity. Hence their goal was to crush the new faith in the cradle. Paul, Peter spoke of such conflicts in their letters. Times of not changed.
The PCUSA is lost. But the Church will endure and the Church will thrive in the mists of depravity, as it did 2,000 years ago.
When religion is brought up in conversation and people find out that you are Presbyterian, you are asked, on almost every occasion, if your Church is that Church which…….you fill in the blank. You would think that the conversation would be about maybe Jesus Christ and His call to the Great Commission, but no. We have to spend our time on the deeds (or mis-deeds) of PCUSA.
If it’s bad for us – the PCUSAers – think about ECO, EPC, Orthodox and other Presbyterian branches.
What kind of person am I?
West, that’s the whole problem, and is indicative of the stance of the PCUSA…looking to other people for their opinions. In fact, they’ve recently had “listening sessions” to do just that. I’m sure you can find lots of people that disagree with Donnie Bob and Loren. But is salvation predicated on who you or I can find to support our view, or disagree with somebody else’s? In earnest, I’m guilty of doing it myself. And I don’t think Loren’s post was anything other than an example of the PCUSA’s theological drift, toward the world.
Unity under a lie is wrong.
Windy City, you state that “the Layman sows and promotes division, does not engage in conversation, just promotes leaving”. What conversation should the Layman engage in? Take your pick – abortion, gun control, boycotting states that enforce Federal immigration laws, occupy wall street, Obamacare, registering ammunition, advocating labor unions, investigating the banking industry, ACORN, or any host of others. Which politically charged topic embraced by the PCUSA would you suggest?
Don’t forget Israel and its “illegal occupation.”
The thing is, if someone were to stand up at said conference, they would be labeled a bigot and hypocrite. Granted those are just words, but in this day and age, we see how such labels can be easily thrown about and not so easily disproven. Take for instance the recent resignation of President Wolfe at Mizzou. He resigns because of the racist stance of a few students. Students, who I imagine, had very little contact with him. Today’s battles are all about definitions and whose definitions take the day. Unfortunately, it appears the “correct” way to define words is by using a liberal’s dictionary.
No you don’t. You’re simply patronizing.
Monosexual and polysexual? Seriously? Here’s one: panstupid.
The Layman’s purpose stands and is fulfilled in bringing to light the godlessness, the lies, and the perversion of the GLBTQ movement. Information is power. If that power enables folks to decide to leave the apostasy of the PC(USA) then so be it!
You are correct. Any disagreement with “PC” folks, one would be labeled a bigot, racist, homophobe, discriminatory … It said that others claim to “tolerate” unless it opposes their views.
Seriously, What’s the problem with letting go the congregations that no longer share the same biblical, doctrinal foundations and big tent theology that the PCUSA and it’s GA have moved towards? This has nothing to do with The Layman and all to do with the direction and decisions the PCUSA GA have taken.
Windy City, Yes I’ve read what’s going on here. I’ve read what’s going on everywhere with the PCUSA. You say I should say that “the PCUSA is apostate and move on”. What does that accomplish? Tell you what, the “popular” argument is about homosexuality (I didn’t list it in my response) so we’ll steer clear of that one. How about abortion? How about late term and partial birth abortion, where the child can live outside the womb on its own? Do you really think that Jesus Christ is glorified in that procedure? Does He smile and feel that his Kingdom is being furthered? The PCUSA endorses this (and pays for it). Apostate is for you to decide I guess.
I’ve read a number of your posts. Your angle against the Layman seems to be that the Layman is itself divisive. You are obviously a hardline PCUSA member, perhaps from Louisville. And that’s okay. I never see in your posts anything about prayer or the like. You can blast the site all you like. But is reporting on the secular stance of the PCUSA a sin in itself? Who are we worshiping here?
Every male is not Sylvester Stallone or Hulk Hogan.
Every woman is not Julie Andrews or a Scarlet O’Hara.
God’s design for humanity is very clear over and over and over and yes, the behavior is separate and apart from the person…they are not intrinsically linked. We are not the same, for example, as cats and dogs. It’s really a question of whether God obeys our (each of us) view of the design of humanity or whether we obey his view of the design of humanity.
The Covenant Network National Conference, who apparently organized this strange ‘event,’ is somewhat complicit in sacrilege. This type of intense pscho talk belongs in the basement of the church some evening next door to AA, Alanon or NA meetings. I love and pray for those people who are seeking the Holy Spirit and His blessings.
How utterly juvenile…not to mention debased.
This article is about the Covenant Network which is open about their agenda to normalize sexual behavior under the LBGTQ banner.
Williams expresses her goals to challenge God’s boundaries, make truth encompass untruths (tension), make a person’s story key to their chosen life style, and promote an environment where anyone can do whatever they want In order to be “understood?”. We expect this kind of rhetoric from this group.
However we do not expect it in our Presbyteries. Ten years ago attending my first Presbytery meeting as an Elder, I attended a seminar on the same topic of clarifying sexual preference. It was attended by more than twenty Elders and Pastors. The seminar had a panel with a gay man, a transgendered person, a counselor to homosexual persons, and a Lesbian/bisexual woman who left her husband and several children to connect with another woman. She was ordained as was her husband. These people shared their stories and how they were now promoting their life style choices.
What was alarming to me was the complacency about Jesus words about sexuality and marriage and the acceptance of adultery. Yes, we had a heart response to the stories, but what about the stories of people who are the victims of adultery: the partners, the children, the culture.
Also, out of politeness, no pastor or elder spoke up with Scriptural Evidence or questioned the confusion displayed by these stories.
That was ten years ago about the time PUP happened and we can see
the results playing out and the further agenda for allowing and promoting adultery and fornication as acceptable and normal.
The truth, the understanding of God’s boundaries for our good, is being challenged! I pray the leaders will stop being complacent and start
pushing against this wave of disobedience presented by Ms. Williams.
Is it too late for the PCUSA? Has the silent majority started to wake up and will they take a stand for obedience to Scripture! I just keep praying!
There is a pathology loose in the PCUSA and the sickness of the church will reflect the pathogen’s presence. The soul of the denomination has been sold to political correctness,scriptural re-imagining and secular humanism. This cannot stand and will be judged as the Apostate it is. A cancer left untreated will consume the host and death is the ending. PCUSA is well into the latter stages of the disease process.
Looks like we just ordained Miley Cyrus
I just laughed so hard at your comment I almost spit out my coffee. Thank you for the laugh! This whole thing is absurd.