The culture wars surrounding the topic of homosexuality have sucked up tremendous resources, have left devastated casualties in their wake, and continue to perpetuate polarization and enmity – most clearly seen in the divide between the Christian community and the gay community. The diversity and divisiveness surrounding gay issues is staggering. Even the above statement needs to be unpacked. The sense of polarization is not simply between the Christian community and the gay community as if both of those communities were completely monolithic and mutually exclusive. Rather, we see fractures within the Christian community and disagreements within the gay community. In the midst of this wasteland are gay Christians – a diverse group of people too – who often find very little safe harbour on either side of the divide.
The intensity of this divide is ratcheted up several notches during annual Pride weeks. We’ve all seen the photos of the attempted Christian messages at Pride events. Placards and signs and megaphones. And many of us are grieved. Many of us disconnect and say, “That doesn’t represent the Jesus I know. That doesn’t represent me.”
We want to invite you to join us in a synchro-blog on the Wednesday of Pride week, June 24, to speak up and speak out of your heart to address this terrible divide.
New Direction has been seeking to foster safe and generous space for authentic conversation about faith and sexuality. We have committed ourselves to building bridges. But we cannot do it alone. We need other Christ-followers: gay and straight and everything in between, to speak up and join the conversation, to share the heart of the gospel in the midst of this conflict. We need those beyond the walls of the church: gay and straight and everything in between, to speak up and join the conversation, to share their thoughts on how the church can reach across the divide and build bridges.
If you've seen our DVD resource called, “Bridging the Gap: Conversations on Befriending Our Gay Neighbours” and would like to offer a review that day - that would be great. If you'd simply like to offer your own thoughts on what is needed to break down the dividing walls that continue to wound, alienate and obscure the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ - that is great too. And for those who read this blog who do not identify as Christian - please consider participating! Those of us who do identify as Christian need to hear your perspectives. We need to listen to and learn from each other.
So please, spread share this invitation with others you think would have a thoughtful contribution to make!
Our prayer is that this synchro-blog would model an opportunity for multiple conversations, from multiple perspectives, with a commitment to hear one another with grace, humility and respect.
Tony Campolo says, “I hope that you do much good in building the bridges between conflicting parties on a controversial issue that is destroying the church of Jesus Christ today. What you are doing is of vital importance. My prayers are with you.”
Greg Paul says, “Trying to bring together two groups of people who really don't want to like each other isn't easy. Try to imagine building a bridge across a turbulent river, in the midst of a raging battle - with both sides shooting at you... Such radical reconciliation efforts come only at a cost, but so does the Gospel itself. New Direction, many years ago, was one of those Christian organizations that gay, lesbian and transgendered people loved to hate. In the intervening years, it has become one of the few true bridge builders between evangelical Christians and the gay community.”
For more information & to sign up to participate in our synchro-blog email:
I look forward to engaging your thoughts and contributions on June 24!