Thursday, January 28, 2016

Yes, I am Side B. No, I do not advocate celibacy for all gay Christians.

Apparently, in spite of my recent and very public 2016 GCN Conference talk, there is still some misunderstanding about my Side B position. A recent article written by Stephen Parelli, who was present at the conference, called "Celibacy at Gay Christian Network: What's that all about?" characterizes me as advocating celibacy for all gay Christians.

I never advocated such a position in my keynote, and I never have advocated that position on this blog or in any past writings. The entire point of my GCN keynote was this: "Yes, I am Side B. But I believe Side A gay Christians should be accepted in the church in an 'agree to disagree' fashion according to the principles of Romans 14. Now, allow me to explain why I think the conservative church has been too blind in the past to see this truth, and how being obedient to Scripture can lead us out of this mess."

Over four years ago on this blog I wrote a piece called "Side B with Qualifications" that might be helpful to anyone wanting to understand further why I call myself Side B. Here is how I conclude my post (italics added):
This has caused me some problems. I have discovered that labeling myself Side B conveys the idea that I think Side A gay Christians aren't really saved, that all gay Christians should be celibate otherwise they're living in sin, and that my agenda should be to befriend Side A people for the purpose of converting them to Side B. And I have to wonder, what ever happened to respecting the consciences of others? I believe I can manage that as a Side B person. And nothing about what I believe concerning my imaginary choice as an imaginary gay person in an imaginary scenario blinds me from the reality of seeing true Christian faith in the many, many Side A gay Christians I meet all the time.
From what I've experienced I don't think the Side A/Side B divide is nearly as great as the divide between those who do and do not recognize that there are some cases where taking a "biblical" side is more about a personal choice than a cosmic mandate. I side with those who believe in strict moral convictions for themselves but much leniency and charity for others. I wish there were a label for that group.

Monday, January 11, 2016

"What's Next for the Conservative Evangelical Church?"

For those of you who made the request, I am here providing the manuscript of my 2016 GCN conference talk, "What's Next for the Conservative Evangelical Church?"

The talk was also live streamed but sometimes the video skips, which I understand can be annoying.

I loved meeting all of you at the conference. Even though I sometimes have trouble remembering names and faces, if you told me your story I almost always remember that. When people tell me about their personal experience I can visualize and sometimes feel the emotions of it, and that leaves a strong impression. So if you told me your story, remind me of it if you'd like to drop me an email, and that will help me continue our conversation.