GIACOMO SANFILIPPO ON THE ASCETICISM OF SAME-SEX LOVE: A PODCAST INTERVIEW by TJ Espinoza and David Frank

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Giacomo Sanfilippo

Communion & Shalom is a podcast that is building a space for honest, subversive Christian conversations on sexuality, ethnicity, and what it means to live in community.

We gladly situate our lives and work within Side B, post-liberal, localist, and multi-ethnic perspectives.

In our show, we have particular interest in thinking about how queer/LGBT+/SS(S)A/etc. Christians can flourish in the Church and the apostolic and orthodox Christian sexual ethic. Additionally, we are eager to talk about roots and place in a way that can be of use to all people in our late-modernist capitalist age. Our devoted team of hosts is eager to explore the issues we talk about with one another as well as our audience.

All too commonly, engagements on LGBTQ sexuality are heated and unnuanced, falling into either uncritical celebration of unbounded sexual expression or harsh rejection of LGBTQ persons. In this podcast we talked with Giacomo Sanfilippo, who is an Orthodox Christian and the founding editor of the blog Orthodoxy in Dialogue, where he has become the Orthodox Church’s most well known LGBTQ advocate. Largely influenced by his work on Father Pavel Florensky, Giacomo’s perspective is grounded in an ascetic view of sexuality and same-sex love, whereby Christians are made more like God through acts of self-sacrifice and discipline. Based on his work at Orthodoxy in Dialogue, we wanted to hear more about how he comes to his theology of sexuality, particularly as embedded in the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition.

Giacomo was a great conversation partner in seeking to understand a theology of same-sex love and building understanding across differences. We encourage listeners to listen closely to try to understand one Side A perspective more carefully, and to think about how people from a Side B perspective might engage people with whom they have distinct disagreements but also surprising similarities.

Click Here to Listen to the Interview

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Editor’s note: Gay Christians often identify as “Side A” or “Side B.” Side A promotes the goodness of sexual intimacy in a Christian same-sex context under certain circumstances, while Side B reserves sexual intimacy for opposite-sex married couples. Giacomo Sanfilippo chooses not to apply these categories to himself, but to identify simply as an Orthodox Christian.
See also the extensive Sexuality and Gender section in both Archives linked at the top of this page.

TJ Espinoza is a queer, mestizo man who has homes and family in Mexico, the US-Midwest, and sub-Saharan Africa. He is a member of both the Anglican Church of North America and an African Christian communion. He loves books, conversation, exercise, languages, and is an aspiring writer and gardener. He is also one of those people who wants to change the world…. In his life, he seeks charity and nuance, and he is eager to connect both theological and socio-cultural reflection together as part of thinking about how to best walk with the Triune God.

David Frank is a home grown Mennonite from Arizona who now finds himself in Minnesota as a non-straight, Reformed Christian. He serves as a leader at his church in the Twin Cities, and he lives in a intentional Christian community house in Minneapolis. He is a great lover of nuanced discussion on complex topics, and he hopes all of our conversations will help us and others better pursue the interdependent community life God calls us to in Jesus Christ.

Giacomo Sanfilippo holds an Honours BA in Sexuality Studies from York University (2013) and an MA First Class in Theology from Regis College/St. Michael’s College (2015) with a thesis is entitled A Bed Undefiled: Foundations for an Orthodox Theology and Spirituality of Same-Sex Love. He is also an alumnus (2014) of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto with a final paper entitled Queering Queer: Hitting the Reset Button (Queer Theory and Orthodox Theology). Currently he is a PhD candidate in Theological Studies at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, writing a thesis with the working title Conjugal Friendship and the Sacrament of Love: Father Pavel Florensky’s Orthodox Theology of Same-Sex Love. Earlier in life he completed the coursework for his MDiv (1989) at St. Vladimir’s Theological Orthodox Seminary in Crestwood NY.

Orthodoxy in Dialogue wishes our readers around the world a blessed and spiritually fruitful Nativity Fast.

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Orthodoxy in Dialogue seeks to promote the free exchange of ideas by offering a wide range of perspectives on an unlimited variety of topics. Our decision to publish implies neither our agreement nor disagreement with an author, in whole or in part.
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