Archive for the ‘GLBT’ Tag

Gay at Calvin College   9 comments

I’m here at Calvin College attending the Festival of Faith and Writing, one of the most amazing, one of the best, writing conferences out there.  The quality of the speakers—Gary Schmidt, Jonathan Safran Foer, Marilynne Robinson–not to mention the different seminars I’ve already taken–gives depth and urgency to writers who hope to change the world.  I have never felt such deep emotional responses to these calls and challenges to be good writers and write good stories.  Calvin College does a great thing for writers of faith.

And yet…. I find myself, as I knew I would, disturbed by Calvin College’s policy towards GLBT students.  It’s an ethical dilemma.

Calvin’s stance on GLBT issues

To their credit, Calvin is far more liberal than most Christian colleges.  They do not run them off campus, as they did in my day.  So by that measure, I should be pleased.  I have read their FAQs on their policy towards homosexuality and GLBT students, and you can read it here:  Calvin’s FAQs about homosexuality.

You’ll notice that it’s very kind and generous.  It acknowledges that gays and lesbians are attracted to same sex people.

“While the orientation seems usually to lie outside the scope of an individual’s will, by God’s power and grace, behavior lies within it.

Calvin College is also concerned that homosexual members of our community are treated with respect, justice, grace and understanding in the Spirit of Christ. We recognize the complexity of current issues around homosexuality and desire to engage this conversation with courage, humility, prayerfulness and convicted civility.”  (I use the quotation marks here because my pic makes it difficult to know where the quote starts and ends.)

It’s that sexual behavior that seems so SEPARATE to Calvin; it’s almost ridiculous.  However, they want to frame a “conversation” in respectful terms.  Conversation, of course, means that both sides are listening.  But I appreciate their dedication to civility, a civility that they have the authority to enforce.

In the classroom, Calvin College notes that multiple perspectives may be explored by students:

In exploring the full range of human experience, faculty will certainly acquaint students with many perspectives that are inconsistent with the confessions, but will do so from a perspective of adherence to the confessions.

That policy– the adherence to confessions–can be found in the the newest document on academic freedom for professors and students.   Mentioned in these FAQs, it addresses how faculty should approach difficult topics.  The underlying conclusion, as you read here, is that the administration is not wrong, and that they are not the ones listening, but the ones correcting:

We have learned that the best outcomes for such conversations are those in which an inquirer later reports “I’m glad I asked. I really do see this now from another, more biblical, point of view,” or where the faculty or staff member reports “I’m glad you raised this. I hadn’t been aware of all the ramifications of my view, and I’ve now refined it to take other concerns into account,” or where both later say “we disagree, but we remain open to learning from each other” or “I realize that I need to learn more and think further about any position I advance.” Not every inquiry will end in this way. But we have learned to give such questions every chance to end with a positive outcome.

I like to point out that their “positive outcome” is one where there is learning on the inquirer’s side only.  However, Calvin’s new policies on homosexuality do protect gays and lesbians from negative slurs, prejudice, etc.— however, they don’t realize the institutionalized creation of prejudice they engender by their different treatment of gays and lesbians.  Watch the FAQs carefully:

[SAGA–Sexuality Awareness, Gender Acceptance] is not a ‘student organization,’ but a group of students with a counselor mentor from the Broene Counseling Center, who seek to educate others at Calvin about the challenges faced by homosexual students.

Gays are given groups within the auspices of counseling.  “These are not student organizations” the policy says emphatically, thereby denying them student rights.  They are, instead, places of refuge for gays and lesbians and places where they can, apparently, come to terms with the fact that God wants them to remain celibate–and teach others how to treat them better because of their “challenges”.  *note the student response below for a great insight into SAGA and Calvin College that I didn’t know, and am very pleased to hear.  While policy may be against gays at Calvin, the people there aren’t.

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No More Straight-Jacket: The Abundant Life We are Promised   1 comment

To be a Christian, it’s important to live a life of integrity, honesty, transparency, and of love.  Being in the closet doesn’t allow these things to happen.  You will find it difficult to love others if you can’t love yourself first, and increasingly, hiding who you are will take away the friendships you wanted to preserve.  Being in the closet is a false sense of security–and like every big secret, it takes a big toll.

But how do you be who you are and keep the church and the faith and the God that you love?  Where is the abundant life Christ promised us?  While we, as Christians, are ready to sacrifice our pleasures and lives for the cause of Christianity—certainly we’re not all required to give up our sexual expression.  And I can’t believe God intended only gay people to do that either, while letting straight Christians have more freedom.

If fear keeps us in the closet, it will have to be “love” that casts out that fear.  If love is the answer to eradicating fear, it’s going to take a lot of people’s decisions.  I’ve outlined a few of them in the pages:  what to do when someone comes out to your church, and what to do when you want to come out to your church.  But let’s look at the life you can have as a gay Christian.

“I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly”

Amen.  So what will that look like, and how do I know that this life is possible?  First, I know it’s possible because Christ offered it to everyone–not just the straight folk.  We already saw how Jesus treated those who “sinned,” which in his eyes had to be everyone.  Think about it.  And he affirmed them.  Welcomed and affirmed them.  His “Good News” is for everyone.

More Freedom to be who you need to be

If and when you come out, you will find a great freedom.  “The truth shall set you free” never meant more to anyone else than it does to GLBT Christians.  Literally it allows us to stretch and grow, unencumbered by the constant weight of our own fear and the constant work of our own deception.  You will find yourself able to love others deeply, more deeply than you ever have before—because you have been rejected too.  And you have tried to play the game of perfection.

I’ll tell you this about that game: you’re not going to be as nitpicky about perfection anymore.  Because tied to the pursuit of perfection is the pursuit of a perfect reputation.   And once you come out, your reputation will take a beating, at least in some circles.  Whew!  That’s a load off your shoulders, I expect.  Now you don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations.  You and God still work things out, but you don’t have to be “perfect.”

You will be where Jesus was–not in the elite, not in the people polishing their Sunday School attendance pins, or seeing who could outdo whom–you will be with the people who are hurting, and who need to know that God and Jesus still care for them.  Until you are rejected, you almost can’t see the invisible “Rejected” around you.

It’s an Old Message for the New Evangelicals

It’s amazing the parallels between Paul’s struggle with bringing Gentiles in to the mostly Jewish church, and today’s struggle with the acceptance of the GLBT community in the mostly Straight church.  But Jews adapted–and ironically, the church became mostly gentile.  I don’t think the church will become mostly gay…. However.  The reason that the Christian church lost its Jewish heritage is because mainstream Jews didn’t want to give up their traditions to embrace new ones.  The church gathered members from the Gentile community.  Who knows if the parallel will extend to modern churches?  Churches without gay members might completely break away, and we will see that those churches that accept gay members are the only true churches left.

As a Gay Christian, you get to talk about Jesus in a completely different way.  Suddenly God and Jesus are divorced from mainstream evangelical creeds that come across as judgmental, fear-inducing and shame-oriented.  You get to bring the original message–of hope, of love, of salvation–that has gotten mired by 21st Century Corporate-Modeled churches who think of membership and tithes as dues to a club, and the prestige of membership–with its benefits–as available to those who can pay.  (To be fair, some MCC churches also stress a financial angle–for the good of God and the good of the mission–and they can add just as much pressure for the generosity of those who attend services.)

You get a chance to show Jesus on the right side of justice and the right side of history once again—you get to save Jesus from the Conservative Evangelical Doctrine that had him trapped.  People need to know they are loved and accepted in whatever way they want to express themselves.  Christ isn’t Republican, Conservative, Wealthy or Exclusively White.  But he seems owned by them.  You get a chance to break that mold, to show Jesus as the person who can go anywhere to talk to anyone and spread joy and love to them.  You get to be Christ to a world that needs him.

There is a Joy in being liberated from the confines of current Christianity

The Rule is Love.  Love God, Love Each Other.  In Jesus’ words, it was “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul and mind.” And the second was like it–that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.  All the commandments and laws HANG on this idea, he said.  Notice that it’s not the reverse.  Loving God and Each Other do not HANG on keeping the commandments.  We get caught up in commandment keeping, rule keeping, and lose sight of what’s truly important.  Of who is truly important.  I’ve heard countless preachers amend Jesus by saying, “and the way to love God is to keep his commandments…”  and then they list a hundred rules that you have to follow or else you make God angry.  Thank God you don’t have to listen to them any longer.

Preachers have power, for now.  They’re enjoying their time with power–and they can bring politicians to their knees.  I wait for the day that a politician puts a preacher in his place.   But you don’t have to worry anymore about preachers.  You can if you want–you can fight them and tell them they’re wrong, but you can also turn around and do good in the community and let the false churches and the false prophets rail on….

Your Power is with God.  God is not with the Preachers who are against you.  Romans 8:31 “If God is for you, who can be against you?”  That goes for Preachers and Evangelicals and those who have anything to say about the exclusionary nature of God, or his “rule” of celibacy for gay people.  Be the disciples who were in direct conflict with the City (Acts 5) who preached the gospel because they had to obey God rather than man.  Let no one stop you from telling gays and lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, and straight people too that God loves them–and that God has a plan for them.  Tell them it does not include suffering under the straightjackets of any church that says the GLBT community must stop “acting on” their gayness.

The Lost and the Evangelicals: a reversal of roles

Today, the GLBT community can be the evangelicals who tell the good news of Christ’s love.  The churches, unfortunate for them, get to be the LOST who need to hear this message.  They dished it out for so long, they believe they can say no wrong, but God knows they have gotten off topic and off message.  It’s time they got a new lesson in Christianity.

“It is Good that Man not Be Alone”

The importance of the Genesis story for man is that God knew that Adam should not be alone—and neither should anyone.  Though Adam was straight and needed an Eve, you are not, and you need a partner.  Many in the gay community have given up on partnership.  No wonder–the straight community has not allowed us to have it for hundreds of years–but it is still a good thing to have a partner, to not be alone.

You have the freedom now to find someone, and over the next ten years, there will be more and more Christian men and women to choose from—but get someone who can love, whom the bitterness and cynicism given to us by the straight culture has not broken–if you find the cynical and the bitter, love them and help them know they don’t have to listen to anyone who tells them that they are less.  It’s a NEW OLD Good News—the original is the best, and it was for everyone.

Take back Christianity.  You are made to have an abundant life in Christ Jesus and the enemies who come in Christ’s name are not acting anymore on His behalf.  They have lost their way.  Love them and when they don’t listen, wipe the dust from your shoes and move out to those who will listen to the great message of New Life.

  

Posted October 3, 2011 by jstueart in churches, coming out, gay rights

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The Great Men and Women of History who were gay

“Within the typical secondary school curriculum,  homosexuals  do not exist.   They are ‘nonpersons’ in the finest Stalinist sense. They have fought no battles, held no offices, explored nowhere, written no literature, built nothing, invented nothing and solved no equations.  The lesson to the heterosexual student is abundantly clear: homosexuals do nothing of consequence. To the homosexual student, the message has even greater power: no one who has ever felt as you do has done anything worth mentioning.” -Gerald Unks, editor, The Gay Teen, p. 5. From Famous Gay People.

It’s difficult for gay Christians to come out because they don’t see a place for themselves in the world–because frankly, all the past gay people have been erased from history, or had their gayness washed away.  What could you accomplish, really, as a gay or lesbian in this world?

Famous People who were gay

There are some hugely famous people who were gay.  In fact, as an English Teacher I could design a syllabus of American Literature solely with GLBT authors and you’d think it looked like every other American Literature survey in colleges:  Willa Cather, Tennessee Williams, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman (of course), James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, Henry David Thoreau, Countee Cullen, Adrienne Rich, just to name a few.  These are hardly the marginalized authors of American literature–these are The Canon.  You can’t do a survey course without Whitman, Melville, Williams, Dickinson, Hughes, Emerson and Thoreau…you can’t.  Our culture has been interpreted and refined through their pens and their lens.

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What is “Welcoming and NOT Affirming”?

“Welcoming and not affirming” is a murky idea.  As an English teacher, it’s hard to read it and really understand what it means.  We all know what “welcome” is and how to welcome, but it seems “not affirming” is an odd way to express a verb.  It seems important to figure out what “affirming” is and then what “not” doing that would look like.  According to the dictionary, affirming is defined as:

  • State as a fact; assert strongly and publicly
    • he affirmed the country’s commitment to peace
    • he affirmed that she was, indeed, a good editor
    • “Pessimism,” she affirmed, “is the most rational view.”
  • Declare one’s support for; uphold or defend
    • the referendum affirmed the republic’s right to secede
  • Accept or confirm the validity of (a judgment or agreement); ratify
  • Make a formal declaration rather than taking an oath (e.g., to testify truthfully)
  • (of a court) Uphold (a decision) on appeal
  • Offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement
    • there are five common ways parents fail to affirm their children
    • good teachers know that students need to be both affirmed and challenged

Antonyms include: negate, reject, deny, nullify, renounce, refuse, decline

So, “welcoming and not affirming” could just as easily be said as “welcoming and denying ” or “welcoming and rejecting.”  We can probably see that no one wants to have a billboard say that they are both “welcoming and rejecting”….  but in a sense that’s what welcoming and not affirming means.

The other problem with this phrase is that for most evangelicals the adjectives don’t modify the same noun.  What are we “Welcoming” –all people, we might say.  What are we “not affirming”–a sinful lifestyle.  But without the nouns to make a difference, the phrase gets confusing—and we end up saying we are “Welcoming, but not affirming” actual people.  Because we’re not saying we’re “welcoming and not affirming” a lifestyle….  You’re not welcoming a lifestyle into your church are you?

But perhaps there is another definition that we need to consider.

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Does Jesus Practice “Welcoming, but Not Affirming”?

Jesus met up with lots of sins he couldn’t affirm–especially lifestyle sins.  But we only use the phrase “welcoming but not affirming” when we talk about gays and lesbians, not when we talk about sinners in general.  We’ve already seen that the phrase itself is murky, at best. Surely, there must be a Biblical precedent for how to welcome but not affirm gays and lesbians.  The church can’t possibly be using a method that Jesus himself would not endorse, and practice.  Since there are no visible gays and lesbians in the Bible, we’re going to have to expand to those other sins that Jesus encountered.  What did He do when He met up with greedy tax collectors, two adulteresses, a prostitute, the Pharisees as a group and as an individual, and rambunctious, argumentative disciples?

Jesus must be against greed. It’s a sin.  Now Zaccheus was a greedy little man, but Jesus went over to his house.  He eats there, accepts his food and family. He makes a public show of his acceptance to the whole crowd both outside and inside the house.  He doesn’t say anything against Zaccheus, neither privately or publically that we can find.  In fact, it is Zaccheus who repents because of this outpouring of acceptance.  So Jesus never affirmed greed, but he also never displayed any disgust, any judgment, any reprimand, any opinion against greed.  How do we know he didn’t affirm it?  We know Jesus. Oh, wait, he did have a tax collector as his disciple, Matthew.  We don’t know if Jesus ever publically rebuked Matthew.  But the words we know he said to this sinner, of whose sin he didn’t approve or affirm, “come follow me.”

Jesus can’t have approved of sexual sin. But he does meet up with an adulterous woman, a promiscuous woman, and a prostitute.

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Will Sixteen Churches of the CBWC reconsider their stance on Homosexuality: an open letter   Leave a comment

Greetings, churches of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada.  I’m writing to you today to talk about an important issue that affects your church, or will affect your church very soon.

Most churches don’t realize that the “issue” of gays and lesbians in church already affects them.  It has a face.  You might have members of your church who are hiding out, closeted gays and lesbians. You might have members with close family who identify as gay or lesbian.  Inside your youth group, or your children’s church, are kids who will grow up to be gay or lesbian.   These are people you know.  They have faces you recognize.  What will your church do when any of these people come out?  Or when they ask you to accept and affirm them as you would anyone else?  Or what will you do if not “coming out” drives these people to hurt themselves, or hurt others by marrying heterosexual partners within your church and, therefore, hurting whole future families?

These are questions many churches are facing now.  They are hard questions to ask.  CBWC doesn’t currently have a policy on this.  Does your church?  Some churches are finding themselves blindsided when the moment arrives.  Forced to pick between their faith and the one they love, churches split, families are torn apart.

The Current situation in our churches

Gay and lesbian members of your churches are hurting.  The families of those members are hurting.  Some of the children you are raising in the church now will one day have to choose between their faith and their sexuality.  This will hurt your churches more than you can imagine.

Imagine this:  we tell our members that we offer them complete and total Christian love.  We baptize our babies and dedicate in front of the church, promising to be there for them as they grow.  We promise them that we will work out our differences in love.  However, from our pulpits, and in our practice, we show that if those people come out, show themselves to be gays and lesbians–that we will shun them, judge them, take away our friendships, our fellowship and our love.

In effect, we ask gay and lesbian members to lie, hide themselves and appear straight—because it will go better for them if they do.  And while they sit there, hidden, we condemn them with scripture and tell them that God does not love them as they are.  They are the only ones who are required to change first before they can become active Christians.  We hold them to a high standard, asking them to be celibate if they are openly gay or lesbian, or to lie and marry our sons and daughters, so that our churches don’t have to face an issue that every other church is facing.  What if our churches are believing the wrong interpretation of these scriptures?

Baptists are long overdue in revisiting, and reassessing, these scriptures.

Many gays leave the church because it is not a welcoming place.  For evangelicals, whose mission is to spread the word of God everywhere, it must be difficult to see people leaving the church because of our stand on homosexuality, and our lack of hospitality towards gays and lesbians—even those who were raised in our own churches.  We find ourselves asking: are we undoing the good work we were doing?

Some will say that we are doing the right thing.  That we are taking a Biblical, scriptural stand on homosexuality—one of loving the sinner and hating the sin. The CBWC, on their website under About Us/what we believe/specific beliefs, say that as one of the Baptist specific and unique beliefs, “Any sexual behaviour outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage is not affirmed biblically or historically.”

But other churches, even other Baptist churches, say differently, that biblically there is no injunction against loving gay couples, or single gays or lesbians.  These Baptist churches have made a different decision—and they have remained Baptist, kept all their theology, and yet they reach out and love their gay and lesbian members, accepting and affirming them firmly.  They keep the families we turn away.  And these churches also believe they are right.  How is this so?  They have scholars too.  They have theologians too.  Who’s right?  Do we owe it to our families and children to search the scriptures again, and to make sure we are right?

The consequences of getting it wrong every Sunday

When we discover there were families in the church who had gay and lesbian children, and they never told us, we reel with the hidden pain they felt as they heard our sermons about their children.

How do we feel when we realize that the kids we taught in Sunday School grew up to hate themselves, or that some of them might choose to take their own lives?  Or what if they leave God altogether because of what we said?  Does it bother us that other kids learned to taunt, look down on, or otherwise reject their gay and lesbian peers in our Sunday School classes?

If someone came to you today and told you that you could have all of your Baptist beliefs intact, but that there was a way to accept and love your gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, would you look into it?  Would you form a book study to look at it yourself?

“But I’m not Qualified…”

All of us feel comfortable researching a medical issue on our own, but not a spiritual one.  Many of us feel intimidated by someone with a seminary degree, but feel no intimidation approaching, with questions in hand, a doctor with a medical degree.  We believe that God speaks to all of us.  We believe in the Priesthood of the Believer, that we have the right to interpret, as well as the responsibility to interpret the Bible correctly.  But do we also know that we have the ability to interpret the Bible because of the Holy Spirit?

God did not expect everyone to get a seminary degree first before coming to Him.  He doesn’t put a bouncer at the door of heaven to anyone without the ability to understand Greek or Hebrew.  Through the Holy Spirit we learn, we grow, and we interpret the Word of God.

Study both interpretations

We can study this issue ourselves by listening to the Holy Spirit, reading our bible and reading commentary from those who have insight from both sides of the issue.  It’s how we understand ANY issue.  We put people who believe both sides passionately and then we read their reasons and arguments.  The CBWC has material on their side of the issue—that of accepting but not affirming gay people.  They also believe in the one man/one woman view of marriage.

There are many seminary-taught people, and lay people, who take a different interpretation of the scriptures concerning gay and lesbian people.  They are Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Mennonites, the United Church, among others, and they accept gay and lesbian people, both single and married, into full membership with full rights to serve God.  And they can show you in scripture how they did it.  Hundreds of churches, who have the same theology you do, made the effort to look at the scripture again, and choose to save these people by pulling them lovingly back into the church, and affirming who God made them to be.

Where can I find information on this interpretation?

There are many websites that cover the basics of the scriptures we use to condemn gay people.  They give an overview of how they are interpreting the scripture.  The best of these sites are at Whosoever magazine, and the Welcoming and Affirming Baptist Churches website.

For those of you who want a more thorough study, good books exist on this subject. Jack Roger’s Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality makes a wonderful book study.  No one can stop you from learning the truth about the widespread turning away of gay and lesbian Christians and their families.  Only you can do something to help them.

Things you can do:

1. Form a book study to read one of the books listed as a group

2. Have a video night and invite others to watch one of the DVDs listed on the Helpful Resources page

3. Ask the church to hold a churchwide forum or discussion that takes into consideration both sides of this issue—with knowledgeable representatives from both sides.

4. Invite a Christian gay person to your meeting, or to your house to talk to him or her about their faith.

5. Invite the family of a Christian gay or lesbian person over to your house to talk to them.  Give them encouragement and hospitality no matter where either of you stand on the issue.

6. If someone comes out in your church, make a public show of support for that person, whether or not you have worked out the theology yourself.  That show of support could be the difference between life and death, someone staying or someone leaving, a church together or a church split.

7.    If someone comes out in the church and they are in a service position, it’s okay to ask them to step down from any service position until you can study the issue.  This is not too much to ask.  But please study the issue.  Pick a date by which the study will be done, look at both sides of the issue from sides that support the affirming and accepting of gay people, and those that don’t.  Publicly affirm them as a person while you do the study and be ready to hear them when they want to speak.

Why did you write us this letter?

You are members of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, one of the sixteen churches represented by members of the Board of the CBWC.  Like you, my church belongs to this denomination.  I am a member of Riverdale Baptist Church in the Yukon Territory.  Our church has been facing this complicated issue over the last year and a half.  It has not been easy for anyone.  You can read more about me, Jerome Stueart, if you follow the My Story link.  You can also view there letters I sent to my own church here, and to the CBWC.  My hope is that this will be a resource, one of many, for your church, for it is addressed, like a personal letter to your sixteen churches.

Each of your churches are linked multiply to this letter, and you can contact and discuss this issue with each other.  Many times we never see or hear from the churches in our denomination–we may not even be aware of them.  But today, like that moment that happens in church on Sunday morning, I want you to stand up and greet one another:

First Baptist Church, Prince Albert, SK

Willowlake Baptist Church, Winnipeg

First Baptist, Brandon MB

Leduc Community Baptist Church, AB

First Baptist Church, Pincher Creek, AB

Clive Baptist Church, AB

First Baptist Church, Kelowna, BC

First Baptist Church, Port Alberni, BC

Westview Baptist Church, Calgary

Riverdale Baptist Church, Whitehorse, YT

First Baptist Church, Penticton BC

Broadmoor Baptist Church, Richmond BC

Westhill Park Baptist Church, Regina

First Baptist Church, Lethbridge AB

First Baptist Church, Vancouver

Bethel Baptist Church, Sechelt BC

And the group that binds them together:  the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada

My hope is that you will sit down and talk about this issue, that you will do it in your homes, that you will do it in your studies, that you will do it in your fellowships, and that you will ask your administration to join you at some point.  Be careful that you do not reflexively defer to your pastor for his knowledge alone to solve this–or else you lose what we hold dear about being a Baptist–that we do not need an intermediary between us and the Holy Spirit, that we can listen to the Holy Spirit and interpret scripture too.  By all means, invite him in–but find a way to come to consensus on the verses, and the Bible, and what the Holy Spirit is saying.  These are your families being affected, not a theological issue to be parsed.

We cannot continue to preach condemnation on gays and lesbians and others in the GLBT community and not reap the consequences of misrepresenting Christ.  Our churches will dwindle in attendance.  Our own children will walk away from the church.  And we will be forced to wear this condemnation against gay people as either a tar baby or badge of honour.

I pray that the churches will consider this request while there is still time to change course.  Your church is part of the CBWC and they will not want you to openly discuss this, to hold a forum on it, or to put it to a vote.  It could mean your expulsion from the CBWC.  But who is it that can harm you if you are eager to do good? (1 Peter 3:13)

The CBWC does great things in the world, and there is no denying that they are a help to other countries, as well as many communities in Canada.  But irreparable harm is being done to people who are being told to hate who they are, or to change who they are for the sake of God and the church.  Quite frankly churches bully gay people and their families until they submit to the pressure.  This was never the intent of the good news.  Despite all the good we do, if we hurt others to do it, can we say we are following God?

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Please let your sixteen churches be the first to study this issue–every person–to make sure your church is not contributing to the problem, and to make sure that the good news gets to every person, regardless of race, gender, sex, nationality, ability, sexual orientation, or any other factor.  The Good News is the Good News of Salvation to every one.

Blessings and the Peace of Christ to you,

Jerome Stueart

If someone has already come out in your church, or you want to know what to do when they do come out–even if you don’t agree with their interpretation of the issue, please consider reading: when someone comes out in your church.  We can react in a loving way–we can sit and listen to each other.  We can be Christ to each other.

Creating a Helpful Books Page   Leave a comment

I get asked a lot which books I would recommend for those seeking some answers in their struggle to reconcile their faith with homosexuality.  I’ve started compiling a list of books I found most helpful.  On the top of the list is Jack Roger’s Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality–with a study guide.  For churches and individuals who are seeking answers, it’s thorough, complete, but not too heady.  

When I was looking, I didn’t want answers based on “feelings” or “desires” or “wants”…. I needed a way to think of homosexuality as I think of other things: in accordance with the one book that holds a lot of importance and authority in my life–the Bible.  If I couldn’t find a Biblical way to make it work–a way to make it work within my faith–I don’t know how I would have coped with being gay.  

Christians have a worldview that includes a personal relationship with a god–the God.  This is so radical that I think we’ve lost sight of how radical it is to talk like this, both inside the Christian community and what we sound like outside of it.  But the truth is—we DO communicate with a god, and that God is seriously in love with us.  He watches us individually as if we were the only person on Earth, and he cares what’s happening in our lives.  So, we don’t want to hurt him, and we don’t want to do anything to mess up that relationship.  

This is why many Christians who find out they are gay commit suicide.  They can’t find a way to reconcile these two things.  The Helpful Books page is a way, I think, for people to find the merging of their faith–INTACT–with their sexuality.  If they are afraid of the “lifestyle” choices of other gays, they need not be—straight men and women also choose “lifestyles” that aren’t the most productive.  You can choose to do whatever you want to do with this life you are given, straight or gay.  The important part is to choose life.

The Books page is for anyone looking for life.  

 

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