Later this week (or maybe next week), I’ll be sharing a post I’ve been working on for months now entitled, “Why I Changed My Mind About Same-Sex Relationships.”
The post has been a long time coming, but as I’ve been in conversation with my gay, lesbian, and bisexual friends (both those who support same-sex relationships and those who hold the more traditional view), as well as those Christian brothers and sisters with whom I respectfully disagree, I’ve come to believe it’s important to not only be upfront about where I stand but also to explain how I got there.
Certainly there are many other Christians struggling to make sense of what Scripture says about gender and sexuality and who long to do the right thing on behalf of the LGBT people in the Church and in the world. Contrary to popular belief, those journeys are rarely easy or straightforward. Like so many other people, I didn’t arrive at my own conclusions easily or carelessly, but only after many sleepless nights, hours of study, and lots and lots of listening.
I also believe it is possible to discuss same-sex relationships, as well as other issues related to gender and sexuality, with respect, kindness, passion, and grace, and I hope to model that as best as I can here on the blog, in conversation with you.
As part of this conversation, I’d like to invite you to participate in a special discussion group here on the blog around Matthew Vines’ book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships.
I chose this particular book because I think it provides the most accessible and personal introduction to the biblical and historical arguments in support of same-sex relationships, and because Matthew is a theologically conservative Christian who affirms the authority of Scripture and who is also gay. His research is sound and his story is compelling. He’s also a friend. [Check out this video where Matthew presents much of the content found in God and the Gay Christian.]*
During the course of the discussion, we will also take a brief look at the response to Matthew’s book released by the Southern Baptist Convention.
I plan to host discussions on Wednesdays, following this schedule:
Wed, September 17: Intro, Chapters 1-2
Wed, September 24: Chapter 3
Wed, October 1: Chapters 4-5
Wed, October 8: Chapters 6-7
Thurs, Oct 9: Chapters 8-10
In the interest of keeping the discussion civil and diverse, we’ll have a few ground rules:
1. The comment section after each post will be carefully monitored and discussions will only last for 24 hours, after which the thread will be closed. (I reserve the right to shut down the thread earlier if the conversation gets out of hand.)
2. I will be very engaged in the comments following each post, facilitating and monitoring the conversation throughout the day. Matthew will also join in when he can. I want this to feel as much like a real book club discussion as possible.
3. It is important to me that the comment section be a safe place for those who hold a variety of views on this subject, including those who disagree with me. No one will be turned away simply because of their ideas, experiences, or convictions. However, I will promptly delete any comment that is hateful, reactive, misleading, or off-topic in order to create a safe environment for those who really want to talk.
Lord willing, we’ll begin the conversation next Wednesday. In the meantime, check out God and The Gay Christian as well as The Reformation Project, which seeks to equip LGBT Christians and allies to reform church teachings on sexual orientation and gender identity (and which has a conference coming up in November).
*Note: Though I was provided with a complimentary copy of God and the Gay Christian from the publisher, I was not compensated to review or discuss the book (or any others) on the blog.