I’ve spent the last few days of my commute listening to a podcast exploring differing Christian responses to the LGBTQ community from the brilliant Litugists. Introduced to them by my friend Andy, I’ve come to find their podcast an invaluable source for thought provoking and nourishing content. I want to encourage you to put aside an hour or so to stop and listen if you can.
Just to be absolutely clear, I’m a firm believer in and advocate for full inclusion and equality of all who look to follow the way of Jesus. I’ve posted before here some of my thoughts on why a Christian community should be inclusive without specifically mentioning sexuality. Perhaps it would be helpful to be specific now: I believe God created us as we are, attracted to men, women, both or none. I believe that God calls us into faithful, loving, committed, monogamous relationships – and that this is not the exclusive domain of heterosexual couples. I believe sex is not something purely for procreation, but also something that draws us into deep relationship with those we love. I believe it’s wrong, therefore, to enforce celibacy based on orientation rather than vocation.
I’ve studied the issues and the texts used to argue both for and against my position. I’m also a believer in finding a better hermeneutic to help those who struggle to accept anything other than the traditional reading of the Bible. In that sense I’ve found the work of Matthew Vines to be immensely helpful in understanding key elements of the biblical narrative regarding same-sex attraction. I may post on this at some point in the future to articulate my views, but for now, I can only promise that I’ve come to this position through much thought, study and prayerful reflection.
That said, I also believe in the importance of dialogue and relationship with those who disagree with me. This brings me back to the podcast mentioned earlier. Here the creators have sought to bring together different voices to explore the human face of the ‘issue’. To my mind it’s the most helpful thing I’ve discovered in creating space to reflect on how the Church might respond to the LGTBQ community. Here are those who agree with inclusion, and those who do not. It’s not an echo chamber seeking to push a particular view – and certainly gives plenty to wrestle with.
So, find a space to stop, listen and to contemplate authentic voices in this defining issue for the Jesus community in the twenty-first century.