Category Archives: Conflict

Some Honest Questions for a Professing ‘Anti Gay’ Christian

This is a response to Michael Brown’s article on the Christian Post website, entitled ‘Some Honest Questions for Professing “Gay Christians”

For readers who would prefer a shorter (and much more gracious) answer to Dr Brown, please see this response by John Smid, a former ‘ex gay’ leader.

 

Dear Dr Brown,

I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of you before someone I know on Facebook linked your article to their timeline. I am aware that a large geographical and cultural difference separates us, you being an American professor with a radio show (Line of Fire – great title!) and 22 books to your name, and I perhaps a slightly less eminent grad student living in the UK. No, I don’t have a radio show, and although there are some books in my head, they are not on paper yet.

But I thought you might be interested to know that I am a “Gay Christian” (love what you did with the quotation marks there,  it adds a bit of mystery – are you questioning my sexuality or my faith? Or perhaps you are just preempting what I suspect you believe is the answer to the question you ask in the latest of your 22 books ‘Can you be Gay and Christian?’).

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. You asked some questions, and I’d like to think you actually wanted some answers, so here I am hoping to furnish you with some. But I hope you’ll forgive me if I ask you  a few questions myself. I know that answering a question with a question is not the done thing, but here we are, and I really just want to make sure you know that I ask these questions in the love of God and the fear of God, being jealous for your wellbeing in the Lord.

Sorry if my tone is a little acerbic, please believe that there is not an ounce of hate in my heart. No, not even one. Just quite a lot of ounces of frustration. Enough to make a five tier rainbow sparkly gay wedding cake.

 

lezzy cake

Make cake, not war.

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“What if I’m wrong?” Dialogue between “gay” and “ex gay” Christians

Friendship

 The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
John 17:21-23, The Message

One heart, one mind. Jesus’s prayer  for us – his followers – in the garden of Gethsemane. Just as he was one with God, we were to be one with each other, bound together by the Spirit. This holy echoing of the Relationship – the Trinity – is what will change the world. My church puts it like this: “the strength we have together when we are each doing what we are passionate about.”

What is heartbreaking to me about the so-called “gays vs Christians” debate is that there are some of us standing in the middle.

– Gay Christians who have found that pursuing a monogamous same-sex relationship brings them much joy.
– “Ex Gay” Christians who have found that the pursuit of holiness is for them also a journey of healing.
– Celibate Christians who have made a decision to pursue God alone.
– People who are not sure, who are just  “honesty struggling” with issues of same sex attraction and faith.

We are churched.
We are unchurched.
We are in relationships.
We are single.
We are celibate.
We are hurt.
We are healing.

I have been following Rachel Held Evan’s blog as she sensitively steers a conversation about sexuality and the Church. As she discusses two different accounts of faith and same-sex attraction one of her questions throughout has been:

Do you think it is possible to fully support both [a gay Christian] in pursuit of a  [same sex] partnership/marriage, and [another] in a decision based on their convictions to remain celibate? Or does the full support of one somehow diminish the support of the other?

Discussion of this question has continued in the comments below her various posts.

What I notice is fear. And it is not just fear of “homosexuals” by “Christians”, it is fear of celibate/”ex gay” Christians by “progressive” gay Christians, and vice versa.

I recognise that fear. It coils around my heart every time I see this discussion.

The fear is called “what if I am wrong?”

It is a potent fear for people on both “sides” of the issue. What if I’m wrong?

Should I have looked for healing? Should I have chosen celibacy? Should I have tried harder? Does God hate me?

Could I have been in a relationship? What if it is ok for me to act on this attraction? Have I wasted these celibate years? Should I have done differently?
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Two ways to live?

In my first year of university I was part of DICCU, the Durham Intercollegiate Christian Union.*

DICCU is part of UCCF, the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship, which is one of the more stridently conservative organisations that operate in universities. Each year we did an evangelism week. The aim was generally to a) entice our friends to our rooms or various locations around college with food and then b) hit them with the Gospel whether they had signed up for it or not.

The actual evangelism was mostly done by people called CUGs – Christian Union Guests (Oh yes they loved their abbreviations did DICCU!), who were older people who sort of showed up around evangelism week and did talks and answered questions. But we simple members were also required to do a certain amount of evangelism. In order to help us with this, we spent a couple of weeks before the big event learning about how to talk about Jesus. One might assume that students at one of the top universities in the country would be well enough equipped in the brain area to cope with understanding about Jesus, but the general assumption seemed to be that the people we were talking to were numpties. Because of this we were encouraged to learn a sort of diagram called Two Ways to Live, which featured a little stick man being saved,  in order to help our friends understand what Christianity is all about and why they might want to join in.

Here is my attempt to remember/reconstruct the diagram:

Confused? So were we...

Confused? So were we…

You can see the whole thing explained properly by clicking here.

I learnt to draw it, dutifully, but felt pretty bewildered about why this was considered to be a more effective and easier to understand evangelistic tool than, well, just telling people the actual Good News. I don’t remember ever using it, although a non-Christian friend later described to me the strange and agonising process by which one of our DICCU leaders tried to use it on her (“…and then she started to draw this really random picture of a stick man…”)

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