Saturday, November 28, 2009

Side B interview on GCN Radio

In case you aren't already aware, earlier this week GCN Radio posted their interview of my friend Wesley Hill on what it means to be a Side B Christian. (You may recall that Wesley is the author of the article "'A Few Like You': Will the Church Be the Church for Homosexual Christians?" published by Ransom Fellowship and mentioned on this blog last March.) Whether you are a gay or straight Christian, I think you will be surprised and challenged by what he has to say.

I personally think being a Side B gay Christian is the toughest calling of all. They don't fit in with the majority of "out" gay Christians, who are mainly Side A. They aren't warmly embraced by the conservative church since they reject the label of "ex-gay." And they don't have the comfort of having a life partner to support them through these difficulties.

Yet Side B'ers will make the biggest impact on the conservative church for the benefit of all gay Christians because of two reasons: 1) Their commitment to celibacy means they can't be dismissed out-of-hand by straight Christians as sexually immoral. 2) They are insisting on being called "gay" and are not letting straights get away with thinking that homosexuality is something you can just detox from.

Side B gay Christians are in the best position to change minds in the toughest pockets of the conservative Christian church, and yet they tend to be the most marginalized group among a marginalized group. They very much need our encouragement, support and prayers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Welcome to our new followers

It's time to welcome a new group of followers to this blog. Thanks for joining, everyone!

Lori D
Lynda Mounts
Freeing Julius
Jon Trouten
Joelle Wolters

On an administrative note, from now on you'll have to sign in with Google in order to leave a comment in the comments section. Sorry for the inconvenience, but it's to avoid getting spam and I had to delete one for the first time this morning.

Generally I'm skeptical of comments sections on blogs. I've only recently enabled this blog's just to see how things go. So far I'm pleased with the quality and civility of the discussion. Thank you, everyone. I know what an achievement that is, especially for the kinds of topics we are discussing.

But, just to warn you, the moment I see things starting to go south, I'm canning it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Side A/Side B debate

As many of you know, there is a debate among gay Christians about what the Bible teaches regarding same-sex sexual relationships. "Side A" believes that God approves of same-sex sexual relationships and that living a chaste life means abstaining from sex prior to entering into same-sex marriage. "Side B" believes that God does not approve of same-sex sexual relationships and that living a chaste life means living celibate (or, in some cases, being married to an opposite-sex partner, where both partners know it is a "mixed orientation" marriage). In my writings I have sometimes referred to Side A as the "affirming" position and Side B as the "traditional" position. I just like the idea of using terms that aren't judgmental or inflammatory when engaging in this debate.

Yet even though I take the Side B position, more than half of my gay Christian friends are Side A and we get along just fine. Why is that? I first began to realize that there were Side A evangelical Christians out there when I began meeting them at gay churches and gay Christian Bible studies. I'd worship with them, discuss the Scriptures, share testmonies and prayer requests. A group of Side A Christians prayed for me and supported me during the entire controversy I went through with my old denomination. When you experience that kind of close fellowship with one another, you can't deny the presence of the Holy Spirit is among you.

I also came to understand that many Side A evangelicals have scripturally-based reasons for believing as they do. Some arguments are very sound while others I can't agree with. But I agree with them on all the important things: the central doctrines of the gospel and the saving work of Jesus Christ. I just don't agree with their understanding of what the Bible teaches about the specific issue of whether homosexual sexual relations is sinful.

So this is how I've come to think of our differences. Suppose I were asked to write out a list of sins for which I think Jesus died on the cross. This list would represent my interpretation of what Scripture teaches to be sin. I might put down a thousand things on that list, one of which would be homosexual sexual relations. Then I'd leave a large section at the bottom of the paper blank for all the sins I might have left out, perhaps out of ignorance or self-deception or whatever. A Side A Christian might do the exact same thing, except he or she excludes homosexual sexual relations from their list and instead includes the sin of thinking homosexual sexual relations is a sin. So we have both included something on our list that the other person has excluded, and excluded something that the other has included. And we both acknowledge that our own lists are probably very flawed.

Now when we both come before Jesus to ask for forgiveness of our sins, we know that he pays for everything regardless of whether we have included them on our "list" or not. We both come with humility of mind, trusting that his blood will cover not just the sins we've acknowledged but also the ones we've failed to acknowledge because of ignorance, prejudice, hardness of heart, or whatever. So in the end does it really matter if a Side A Christian and a Side B Christian don't agree with each other's "lists"?

The main thing is that we both come before Christ knowing that he can remove all our transgressions, whether we fully understand what those transgressions are or not. In Christ there are no more lists. Our lists have been wiped clean, both what was on it and what we failed to put on them. And since we both come away from the throne of grace so thoroughly cleansed and perfected in Christ's righteousness, can't we forgive each other those disagreements that the blood of Christ has ultimately made irrelevant?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Welcome, GCN Radio listeners

Thanks, GCN Radio listeners, for dropping by to visit my blog. I've been writing on the topic of "Christianity, Homosexuality and the Bible" over a span of nine years, which has ended up being a lot of writing. The links to many of the articles I referred to during the interview can be found along the sidebar of this blog. Nevertheless, I thought I'd provide a list of them right here for your convenience, along with links to other writings that you might be interested in.

(I apologize in advance for the crummy format of some of these older articles. I really need a web designer who can update my original site but somehow haven't gotten around to finding one yet.)

"A Conservative Christian Case for Civil Same-Sex Marriage"

"Gregg and Joel." The story of my gay neighbors.

"A Log of My Progress, 1999-2001." My journey toward understanding homosexuality.

Chronology and documents relating to the controversy in my old denomination.

"The Broken Hearts' Club: My Movie Experience"

Some highlights from this blog:

"Is homosexuality lust or love?"

"How Christians and gays talk past each other." Three part series.

"What it's like to be you." What straight Christians need to understand about celibate gay Christians.

My critique of ex-gay testimonies here and here.

"Suicide." Three-part series.

Friday, November 06, 2009

My interview with GCN Radio is up

My interview on Gay Christian Network Radio is now available at the GCN website. Don't forget to scroll down the page and check out other GCN Radio programs. I felt honored to be invited as a radio guest for what I consider to be one of the hippest, coolest gay Christian ministries out there today.