July 26, 2023

#31 - "You Keep Using that Word..." - Greg Coles & Erin Phelps on How Sexual Orientation Is Socially Constructed - Live at Revoice 2023

#31 -
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Hey there! We recorded an episode at Revoice 2023—a conference supporting Christians who are sexual minorities seeking to live out their faith according to a traditional, biblical sexual ethic. We loved doing this live episode recording with the Revoice community, and we are delighted to welcome Greg Coles and Erin Phelps to the podcast stage:

  • Gregory Coles is the author of Single, Gay, Christian (InterVarsity Press, 2017) and No Longer Strangers (InterVarsity Press, 2021). He holds a PhD in English from Penn State and lives in Idaho's Treasure Valley, where he works as a writer and speaker. Greg is a Senior Research Fellow at The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender and curates most of his creative activities at gregorycoles.com.

  • Erin Phelps is a Lumbee and Waccamaw Siouan woman living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her interests include, anti-racism, sustainable fashion, and boy bands. Currently she is working to building a community for Side B women called Your Other Sisters alongside Your Other Brothers.

We talked with Erin and Greg about the social construction of sexual orientation language—what it means to use human-created categories like “gay” or “queer” in a way that affects our daily realities. We talk about whether the words we choose to describe ourselves matter, how you might come out to someone in different languages, the need to use language to push back against oppression, and much more.

So, please bear with the echoes and sound quality of a live Q&A—this was an exciting episode to create with the Revoice community, and now we’re excited to share it with you!

Note: This episode uses the terms “Side A” and “Side B” (and X, Y) as shorthand quite a bit. If you’re new to the conversation, you might find our Communion & Shalom episode #3 helpful, where we talk through the four “sides”: ⁠#3 - A-B-Y-X | 4 Sides on SSA/Gay Sexuality

And, in case you’re listening to this with children around…This episode briefly includes content suitable for adult audiences; listener discretion is advised.



(3:43) Introducing Greg Coles and Erin Phelps!

(6:43) Dr. Gregory Coles explains "social construction”

(10:31) An abridged history of sexual orientation

(18:32) Are you "on board" with sexual orientation?

(29:20) Advice for the church: the telos for my life, and labels in Florida

(33:35) Q: What about “reclaiming queer" as a response to over-sexualization?

(40:52) Labels as self-determination ("People want to be called something nice")

(44:00) Q: Using your indigenous culture's labels for sexuality

(52:09) Q: How do you share sexual orientation in another language?

(57:38) Q: Talking to the next generation about sexuality


Resources and References

In early usage, “heterosexuality” and “homosexuality” were used to refer to the “abnormal” minority: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170315-the-invention-of-heterosexuality

Revoice: https://www.revoice.org/

Some resources we mentioned—check out:

Pieter Valk’s organization, EQUIP: https://equipyourcommunity.org/

Kaleidoscope Ministries: https://www.kaleidoscopeusa.org/

Posture Shift: https://postureshift.com/

Eden Invitation: https://www.edeninvitation.com/


If you like this podcast, please consider…

→Sharing feedback or questions! www.podpage.com/communion-shalom/contact

→Supporting us on Patreon! patreon.com/communionandshalom

→Following us on Instagram! @communionandshalom


Creators and Hosts: David Frank, TJ Espinoza

Audio Engineer: Carl Swenson (www.carlswensonmusic.com)

Podcast Manager: Elena

This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communionshalom.substack.com