Evangelical, Quaker and Anglican groups endorse pilgrimage

My walk of repentance for homophobia is now just over a week away. I’m deligthed to say that in the last few days, another three national organisations have given their endorsement.

The groups in question are Accepting Evangelicals, who encouarge acceptance of loving same-sex relationships amongst evangelical Christians; Changing Attitude, who work to develop Anglican attitudes to sexuality; and Young Friends’ General Meeting, the organisation of British Quakers aged around 18-30. 

They join five other national organisations, along with individual churches and local groups, who have backed the walk. Please click here for a full list.

The support of these groups is a reminder that there is growing acceptance of same-sex relationship across nearly all wings of Christianity. Church divisions over sexuality are not – as the media sometimes imply – a matter of “liberals” on the one hand and “conservatives” or “evangelicals” on the other. The range of views that people hold are much too varied to fit into those two blocks. Furthermore, the endorsement for my walk by two evangelical groups (Accepting Evangelicals and Courage) is a reminder that many evangelicals d0 not reject same-sex relationships.

Along with the ednorsements from organisations, I continue to be humbled by the emails and comments I recieve from individuals. This evening, I recieved an email from a Christian mother of two adult children who are both gay Christians. She is proud of them, accepts their faith and their sexuality, and works with a support group for Christian parents with LGBT children, some of whom have difficulty reaching a position of acceptance.

I am only one of many, many people in Britain and around the world who are inspired by the radical inclusivity of Christ to work for the full equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, transgender, intersex and queer people within Christiainity. I do not think I could do what I am doing without the support of others, and I thank God for all of them.

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6 comments so far

  1. Nicola on

    This is a way forward that I hope others will see and embrace, the changes to homophobia in the church must start with few people and then go on to hopefully make a bigger impact. It means a lot to us LGBT people that some Christians can see that homophobia is not in line with Gods teachings 🙂

    • Symon on

      Thanks, Nicola! I appreicate your encouragement.

  2. devil's advocate on

    I don’t understand. Do you reject everything Paul says, or just Romans (1:26-32)?

    • Sophie, Surrey on

      Homosexuality in itself is not a sin. The verses employed to condemn homosexuality are few and their meaning obscure. Significant issues of translation, of interpretation and of cultural context arise. See here for further examination of the verses and of same sex relationships in the Bible.

      Some of the verses refer to commercial or otherwise exploitative relationships which would also be seen as sinful between heterosexuals. For example, the precise meaning of one of the words translated as homosexual in the Bible actually means male temple prostitute.

      Temple prostitutes of both sexes were part of life in Biblical times. Respectable gay couples who lived together openly were not. In our more open society it becomes clear that gay people don’t differ greatly from heterosexual ones. We all want to love and be loved. Committed gay couples want to formalise their relationship in marriage, a desire both natural and laudable. Gay or straight, marriage is good both for the individuals and for society. Loveless sex is a sin for all Christians.

      Chad Jones, a Methodist pastor, writes:

      “In my own conversations with people about (homosexuality) I found they were more than able to give ready answers about why God has forbidden us to lie, cheat, steal or murder. When I ask them why God would have called such actions “sin” they are quick to say (and right to say) that these sins hurt other people who are created in the image of God. And yet, when asked why God would call a committed, monogamous homosexual relationship “sin” the answers revert back to “Because God said so.””

      Chad Jones then examines what the Bible says in detail and concludes that homosexuality is “God’s gift to the church… It is a gift that in this time and place has called into question our understanding of family, sex and marriage… It forces us to consider what exactly is sin and how might two people who love each other, who are living into the very design their Creator has given them, be nurtured in such a way that they may blossom in sanctifying grace and communion just as heterosexuals are.”

      (http://chadholtz.net/2009/08/07/homosexuality-the-clobber-verses/)

      The author, lecturer and theologian, Tony Jones, issues the following challenge:

      “If you are one who thinks that homosexual sex is sinful, can you please explain to me WHY a gay or lesbian person who is in a long-term, monogamous relationship would not be able to wholeheartedly follow Christ?”

      “My only stipulation is this: You may not quote one of the six verses in scripture that mentions homosexuality. Instead, you must use theological and/or philosophical arguments to attempt to convince me that when you have genital contact with someone of your own gender, it somehow inhibits your relationship with Christ.”

      Read more of this debate at http://blog.beliefnet.com/tonyjones/2009/08/an-honest-question-about-gays.html#ixzz0xVYHfq9j

      Committed same sex relationships are no longer considered either sinful or immoral by a number of churches. However, just as Christian slavers quoted scripture to justify their trade and people still use the Bible to endorse racism or sexism, there are those who employ what Chet Jones calls “the clobber verses” to justify their bigotry. These people might do well to consider how they themselves would regard the Christian slavers who relied on Exodus:

      “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. ”

      The slavers had more verses to call on than those impelled to justify their distaste for homosexuality, but the parallels are striking. The ideal of equality for both sexes, for all races and for LBGT people is long past the debate stage in Western society. It has mainstream acceptance in society at large, and increasingly in our legal systems and among Christians. Just as support for slavery died out, those who condemn homosexuality are moving gradually but inexorably into history.

      To my mind, the promotion of hatred and prejudice by judicious selection and interpretation of holy texts is a far graver sin than any of the sins of the flesh.

      • Symon on

        Devil’s advocate – I think Sophie’s answered the question very well and thoroughly.

        Thanks very much, Sophie! I really appreciate your comment, and your taking the time to go into that level of detail.

  3. devil's advocate on

    Do you really think so? Christendom has considered homosexuality to a sin for 2000 years – surely you must agree that Sophie’s (recycled) post is rather arrogant in assuming that she knows better? All the fantastic Christian minds, that came before, got it wrong apparently…………..but thank goodness mondern humans know better. Human culture and morality change over time, but the Bible is a constant and just because its message doesn’t seem to fit in with our ‘modern morality’ any more, that doesn’t give people the right to twist the its message. Romans (1:26-32) is perfectly clear. Paul is not talking about temple prostitutes, he’s being specific and explicit – Homosexuals will not inherit new life when the end comes.


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