Report from Gay Christian Network conference in Jan 2010

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Joined in 2010
January 15, 2010, 15:17


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!


Joined in 2007
January 15, 2010, 15:28

Hi Kizza,

I have read a transcript of Tony Campolo’s talk on homosexuality and the bible/church and think that it is an excellent talk. I like, especially where he says that “Gay and Lesbian people believe that the church despises them. Why do they believe that? Because the church despises them!”

He pulls no punches and that’s a much needed approach. The transcript used to be available on the Bridges Across the Divide website. Not sure if it is still there, though.

Thanks for sharing this on our forums.

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
January 15, 2010, 17:13

Hi Kizza

Thanks very much for writing this out for us at f2b. I too like that same part, Meg. The church has for so long despised our community, and made it abundantly clear we were not welcome – hardly helpful for the fellowship they preach is so important.

It’s good to know that Tony, Peggy and others are addressing these imbalances where it needs to happen – in the church.


Ann Maree

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
January 15, 2010, 18:56

thanks so much for this summary Kizza… this your first post?

Tony & Peggy are a great couple and a wonderful example of how this issue should be approached. They are real models.

We have had links to their message before on our forum.

Joined in 2010
January 17, 2010, 05:27

Hi Anthony,

I think this probably is my first post – I sometimes atted the F2b meetings in Sydney.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
January 17, 2010, 12:30

I’ve put two and two together now and come up with who you are……thanks so much for the report.

I met Justin at a conference we both spoke at in Phoenix 2008…….great guy…..and done an amazing job creating gay christian net.

hope to see you at the next meeting……and you can tell me more.

is that the first GCN conference you’ve attended.

Joined in 2009
January 18, 2010, 21:50

Thanks for your summary Kizza.

I’ve always appreciated Tony Campolo for his honesty and integrity.


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