I am a Sydney Anglican Christian. Sitting at San Francisco airport now awaiting my flight home. I have been in USA visiting friends and I attended the gay christian network conference in Nashville last week. The keynote speaker was Tony Campolo whom you may recognise as an evangelican Christian. I thought I would jot down the jist of his message….
Tony is an evangelical – believes scripture is God breathed and that we are Christian by having an intimate relationship with Jesus.
What does Jesus have to say about gay people? – Nothing. But he did condemn those who condemned others. The people most likely to accept his message will be the unclean, the outsiders. The religious groups had deemed certain groups of people unacceptable, but Jesus makes them acceptable.
Tony is side B – believes gay people are accepted by God, but calls for celibacy.
Peggy, his wife is side A – believes God blesses monogamous same sex relationships.
Despite this difference, they work in partnership together. Both agree that monogamy is essential in a relationship.
Re : “hate the sin, love the sinner.” This is not Biblical. Jesus actually told people to love the sinner and hate your own sin – ie take the plank out of your own eye before worrying about the speck in someone else’s.
Myths that need to be challenged:
1) Myth 1 – gay = pedophile
1 in 6 women are molested before the age of 12, most by heterosexuals. We deplore this. But it is a myth that being gay makes someone more likely to be a pedophile.
2) Myth 2 – sexual orientation can easily be changed.
Nobody knows what causes sexual orientation. Blaming parents is wrong! It is NOT their fault that their child is gay. Changing orientation is almost impossible – it is extremely rare for sexual orientation to be changed. 2nd major cause of death in teens is suicide. A significant proportion of suicides are because they are gay. People are suiciding because of something they did not choose for themselves.
3) Myth 3 – Evangelical churches have no gay people I their congregations.
That is a delusion. It is important if one has the courage to come out of the closet. To be models, to show others that gay people are not deviants, not abominations. Unless people come pout, others will not know where to go.
4) Myth 4 – Sin of Sodom is homosexuality.
Ezekiel 16 shows that the sin of Sodom is not homosexuality. It is neglect of the poor.
Tony argues that we need a community of fellow believers to tell us that we are people, not an abomination. Many gay people believe the church despises them. We should challenge the church to rid its myths, challenge the church to love (Romans 8).
We have to pray – centering prayer, focusing on Jesus, surrendering to God.
We have to help the church come to know the real Jesus, help the chuch live out its calling, live out the sermon on the Mount, love those who hurt you, respond in kindness and forgiveness.
Re : Same sex marriage
Tony suggests we don’t legalise same sex marriage. The state should legalise couples for both straight and gay. The state should gurantee civil rights. For marriage, people should go to church. Some churches will allow gays to marry, while others won’t. One should not impose one groups set of beliefs on another.
Re : Interpreting Scripture
1) Use reason
2) Use research
3) Trace the tradition of the church through the ages
4) What does the community of faith believe?
Move through the struggles of your own life to the struggles of the world.
It’s Friday now, but Sunday’s coming!