Philia

    June 1999

    Christian Consultation on Boylove Begins the Dialogue
    By Heather Elizabeth Peterson
    Philia

    In what is believed by its organizers to be a first, a small conference held in Montreal on June 11 brought together Christian boylovers and non-pedophiles from throughout North America to discuss issues related to boylove and Christianity.

    The Christian Consultation on Boylove was sponsored by the Christian Boylove Forum, an online support group for Christian men "who are sexually and emotionally attracted to boys."

    Six boylovers and four non-boylovers took part in the meeting; in addition to the journalist present, the non-boylovers consisted of two Christian service workers and a Protestant pastor. All three were members of a support and accountability group for one of the boylovers who attended.

    All of the non-boylovers spoke of their gratitude for being invited to the conference. "One of the most moving experiences I ever had was the time I took communion, and the person beside me, who had cerebral palsy, asked, 'Can you help me?'" said one of the service workers. "I want to thank you for inviting me to share with you in this gathering."

    The other service worker said that he considered it to be a gift that the boylover he knew had trusted him enough to tell him that was attracted to boys and was allowing him to walk with the boylover in his journey of faith.

    "When church and society deny that God can be with boylovers, they are promoting a belief that comes from darkness, not light," he said.

    The boylovers in turn talked of their desire to be able to speak openly to their fellow Christians about their feelings for boys and to receive support and guidance. A boylover who has shared the experience of telling others about himself said, "One of the reasons I came out to my pastor and friends and family is that heterosexual people have a network of support to help them in making decisions. They have people who can tell them, 'Yes, you're taking the right path,' or, 'No, you're going too far and you shouldn't do that.' They have people that they can talk to who can help them lead responsible lives. I wanted that type of help."

    Another boylover, who has only recently told his pastor about himself, spoke of his relief of being able to talk openly about this matter after so many years. Likewise, a boylover who had spoken to a Catholic priest from Africa told of how pleased he was when he discovered that the priest understood that some of the problems the boylover was facing were no different than the types of problems facing non-boylovers. "It's not who you love but how you love," the priest told him.

    "I think that's of central importance," said the pastor attending the meeting. "All of us, no matter what our orientation, deal with the issue of how to act in a responsible manner. That's common ground."

    The pastor spoke of the fear that she felt when she learned about the sexual feelings of the boylover she knew; even though he had pledged to remain celibate, she worried about the consequences of having a boylover in her congregation. Quoting the Second Letter of Timothy from the New Testament, the pastor said, "For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

    Some of the boylovers spoke of their own fears of telling others about their attractions. The participants at the meeting agreed that one way in which to overcome fears on both sides was for boylovers to establish "small circles of support" support and accountability groups that could "walk alongside the boylover."

    The group later put together a statement, "Beginning a Dialog Between Christian Boylovers and Non-boylovers," which drew upon the words spoken at the meeting. The statement urged that churches provide more opportunity for Christian boylovers to speak with their fellow Christians about their faith journeys.

    "Silence is counterproductive," said the statement. "When boylovers must remain secretive, they have no opportunity to discuss how to live responsible lives. All people, regardless of their sexuality, need guidelines and accountability for managing their sexuality and developing life-giving relationships. Honesty is a prerequisite to achieving such accountability."

    The statement also acknowledges the fears felt on both sides. "Love involves mutual trust and mutual acceptance of responsibility," the Christian Consultation on Boylove wrote. "Boylovers need to trust pastors and others they tell about their sexuality, and members of the church need to trust that boylovers will behave responsibly. Boylovers must accept the responsibility of expressing their feelings in ways that are beneficial to others, and non-boylovers must accept their responsibility to be in fellowship with people who are different from themselves. Grace is needed on the part of both sides."

    The meeting ended with a communion service led by the pastor.

    The organizers of the Christian Boylove Forum said that they were disappointed that so few boylovers and non-boylovers were able to attend the conference but said that they were pleased with the meeting and with the subsequent statement. They hope to convene the Christian Consultation on Boylove again next year in another location in North America. They also expressed hope that future dialogues can take place that include members of other Christian organizations for adults who are attracted to minors.

    Related Links

    Christian Boylove Forum

    Beginning a Dialog Between Christian Boylovers and Non-boylovers: A Statement from the Christian Consultation on Boylove 1999

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    © 1999 Heather Elizabeth Peterson
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