Introducing The Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project

250squareAlong with Dan Savage (founder, It Gets Better), and Wayne Besen and Evan Hurst of Truth Wins Out, I’m proud to this morning announce the launch of The Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project. Inspired by and modeled upon It Gets Better, The NALT Christians Project is a platform from which LGBT-affirming Christians can proclaim to the world their belief and conviction that there is nothing anti-biblical or at all inherently sinful about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

We are deeply pleased that so many Christians have already made their own NALT Christians video, and by the number and quality of Christian organizations who have stepped up to partner with us on this project.

As an example of what this is all about, here’s a NALT video that came in last night. This, ladies and gentleman, is the inestimable blogger Slacktivist, in the very first YouTube video he’s ever made:

The NALT Christians Project is like a massive orchestra consisting of players who simply walk in, take a seat, and begin adding to a symphony so insanely beautiful that to hear any isolated strain within it—any solo instrument, any solitary voice—is to be heartened and uplifted, no matter who you are. This is the infinitely rich music that LGBT-affirming Christians have been yearning to make and hear ever since anti-gay Christian “leaders” bullied their way onto center stage, ordered the spotlight shined upon themselves, and began their braying chorus of sour, over-amped, painfully off-key bigotry.

If you’re an LGBT-affirming Christian, there is a seat waiting for you in the orchestra of The NALT Christians Project. If you’re a Christian who either believes that God condemns homosexuality, or has not yet decided where you stand on the gay issue, please give our NALT Christians song a listen. It is a song—it is a movement—inspired by Christ’s Great Commandment that all of his followers—that all of us—love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Like The NALT Christians Project’s Facebook page; follow us on Twitter. Learn how to make and upload your own NALT Christians video here.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • mike moore

    Congratulations!!!! Well done, John!

  • Lymis

    Fantastic! This is huge, and brilliant. Well done. May the Spirit use this in all the positive ways you hope for, and many more besides!

    • http://Fordswords.net David S.

      Amen. Amen.

  • http://timothy.green.name Timothy (TRiG)

    Wow! I get to listen to Fred Clark talk?! Can’t wait till I get to a computer with audio (some time tomorrow, probably).

    TRiG.

  • skip johnston

    Brilliant! Making it easier and better for us NALT Christians to come out of the closet…

  • http://kathy@canyonwalkerconnections.com Kathy Baldock

    Good work John, AND, we get to see Catherine. Bonus round.

  • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

    It was great to watch you and Cat together, John. And to see so many faces I know from here, Unfundamentalist Christians, and elsewhere.

  • Jill

    Fred Clark’s video. Woah. This is all SO powerful.

  • Christina

    Hurrah!!!! I have tears of joy.

  • http://www.diannaeanderson.net Dianna

    Hey, just so you know, “We’re not all like that” is frequently a dismissive derailing tactic used to silence the marginalized when they discuss systemic oppression. It’s a variation on a No True Scotsman logical fallacy, and may not be the best phrase to build a campaign around. Maybe.

    • Amy

      Hey, just so you know, what you did is called trolling. It’s a tactic used when people don’t want to actually engage, they just want to come spout their opinions. It’s a variation on being an ass and may not be the best way to handle your disagreement with John or Dan or any of the other people who are part of the campaign. Maybe.

      • http://www.diannaeanderson.net Dianna

        Why would you assume I don’t want to engage on this issue? I’ve been discussing it with various people across Twitter. Or are you making a tone argument because I was sarcastic at the end of my comment? Either way, writing me off as “not wanting to engage” is a pretty bad assumption.

        • Amy

          Because I saw the ranting on Twitter. It was mostly just that–ranting about people’s assumptions about this project and what it is or isn’t. Your flippant tone certainly didn’t indicate an interest in dialogue, only in schooling John, Dan, and the others on what they “should” have used as a platform for a campaign.

          • http://www.diannaeanderson.net Dianna

            A tone argument doesn’t seem all that productive to me.

            And as it was, on twitter, I was engaging with my LGBT friends discussing what was problematic about the campaign and looking to turn that discussion into a blog post (which is now up). I wasn’t “speaking for” them but with them – I only started criticizing it openly after they did.

            Anyway, it seems the one here uninterested in engagement is you, so. Whatevs.

          • etseq

            No you weren’t – you were complaining that no one was paying attention to you because you are so very important. And I love how you throw the word queer around like that gives you some hipster cred. Who made you or your internet friends the arbiter of all things gay, oh I mean “queer”?

          • Amy

            I’d be happy to engage, but you came on someone else’s blog, made sarcastic remarks, dismissed the project, and left it there. Those aren’t words of engagement. You have the whole rest of the Internet to be as sarcastic as you want. You don’t like it when people do the same to you, and I’ve seen you bully others repeatedly.

            Engage on the issue? Sure. I disagree. Telling people they can’t use a particular phrase because some people don’t like it is pretty ridiculous. It’s not a slur. It’s not racist, homophobic, or ableist. It’s just a phrase, and it’s not aimed at making anyone still be a Christian if they don’t want to. Dan’s been using the phrase himself–as a gay man–because it’s what people have said to him. I don’t trust everything he has to say, but this is one of the things I do like, because *it’s aimed at people like me*–people who were afraid to be public about being allies because we thought we might be the only ones. It’s also for people like the really, really good folks in my offline life who, despite being hurt, still ARE Christians and want to know that not all of us side with the John Pipers of this world. None of my LGBTQ friends have EVER, even once, told me not to use that phrase. And unlike a slur, which should not ever be used, it really is just a phrase and sometimes, people need to just stop playing hall monitor.

          • http://www.diannaeanderson.net Dianna

            Honestly? I didn’t think my comment would get approved because John Shore’s not a fan of me. That’s why I was sarcastic. I probably should not have been.

            However, my sarcasm doesn’t make my criticisms any less legitimate and my point about the confusion of the audience (elaborate further on my blog) still stands.

          • etseq

            She is the queen bee of the trolls on twitter and she is having an absolute emotional breakdown that people aren’t paying attention to her. It’s pretty funny actually…

        • Amy

          Oh, and also it was pretty dismissive of those for whom this project has meaning. It’s pretty presumptuous to speak for a marginalized group and assume that they will or won’t be helped by something based on a single phrase. If you were to actually watch Dan’s video, you might know why he used that phrase and what it means to him and to others.

    • Elizabeth

      I’d love to discuss marginalization and systemic oppression. It’s been awhile since I took on the PC apologists at college.

      • etseq

        Yes its the same postmodern theory crowd that are almost always white and middle class who went to very expensive colleges and who think they are so much smarter than the hoi polloi. All they do is “critique” and its an endless cycle of “privilege” and relativism that precludes any ability to arrive at objective facts or truth claims. I used to take it more seriously until I realized its all a power game.

        • Anakin McFly

          While I thought Dianna had a point here (which I see has been since debunked by Lymis and co), I like this comment a lot. I’ve far too often been the target of those people you described, to the point of severe online bullying that sent me on intense guilt trips and clinical suicidal depression, which was all the more ironic when they were allegedly trying to fight for people like me. Among other things, I also recall fun times with white people trying to angrily educate me on how I was being racist (I’m Chinese), and how I was being offensive in a variety of ways to groups I was a part of and they were not. I think 80% of the oppression I experienced came from people on the internet trying to ‘help’ me, in fact, which is saying a lot given that I live in a country that criminalizes homosexuality.

          • Elizabeth

            Hi Anakin. I took Dianna’s point seriously enough I actually commented on her page. I don’t think she’s all wrong — at all — and, face it, I’m probably the face of white privilege and elitist education. But I can’t undo that. I am who I am just as you are who you are, someone I’ve always thought contributed a valuable perspective here. NALTers are trying mightily not to ‘other’ you. To welcome everyone. The whole point is to get as broad and deep a range of voices as possible. Maybe you want to make a video? It’s not hard, it just feels that way.

    • EsAyBe

      Maybe it is, maybe not. I’m hopeful that this website will help many groups of people. And I’m hopeful that it will continue to grow to include a wide variety of people that support the LGBT community. If “We’re not all like that” isn’t the phrasing that is optimal, I counter that “I’m sorry for how the Church has treated you” from the Marin Foundation has had its fair share of detractors with the exact same reasoning.

      • http://toushindaisblogofwonders.tumblr.com toushindai

        I don’t think it’s the same reasoning at all. The problem with the Marin Foundation is that they are an in-the-middle group; they continue to lend legitimacy to “both sides” of this debate, the side that thinks I’m sinning in who I love and the side that doesn’t. And when they’re not working to counteract the mindset that causes Christians to condemn and oppress LGB folks, _apologizing_ for it comes across as somewhat empty. (Which is something John Shore has emphasized many times.)

        I like the idea of counteracting the “vocal minority” of hate. I like even better the idea of doing so not just with speech and videos but with actions. If this is going to be useful, I think it will need to engage with criticisms like Dianna’s and change in response to them.

        • Matt

          As someone who this project is actually aimed at (LGBT youth), I have no problem with the phrasing. “Not All Like That” is not being used to dismiss, but to encourage and support. The Christians in these videos aren’t looking for pats on the back, but instead are offering their hands to help us up. I’ve listened to plenty of strained monologues from straight people about how “supportive” they are of our “struggles,” but this project doesn’t ring hollow to me at all.

          One of the biggest challenges LGBTQ youth face is feeling isolated and like no one will ever care for them, especially in matters of spirituality. I think this will help to bridge a lot of gaps in a powerful way.

          • http://Fordswords.net David S.

            I’m with you, Matt.

            I’ve been Christian in the gay community for a long time. Failure to acknowledge that the loudest Christian voices have been hurtful and hateful would obliterate the credibility of the project. I think NALT acknowledges that reality effectively.

            I think, though, the question becomes “ok, so what are you going to *do* to oppose the Christians who *are* like that? Many of the videos answer that question – we’re working on behalf of LGBT people for total inclusion in the church and in society. That’s powerful stuff.

        • EsAyBe

          I agree with you toushindai – I think too often we get in a spin about semantics, not realizing the focus has to be the action. I’ve gone through the NALT website and I see a wide variety of Christians supporting LGBT – with passionate and heart-felt stories. In the end, the action will speak louder than the words.

    • Lymis

      Actually, I think it’s a great phrase to build the campaign on. Partly because I’ve been following Dan Savage’s writing since well before he coined the NALT term – and his point has always been that HE knows not all Christians aren’t like that, but that it was frustrating that they were telling him, and not telling other Christians.

      Rather than simply parroting what you’ve accurately described as a derailing tactic when used to US, this is, as I see it, a call to put their money where their mouth is, stop just saying it to LGBT people and step up and actually PROVE that they aren’t among those who are like that.

      If Dan’s call as an LGBT person was, “well, don’t just tell me that, tell THEM that, then this project is one place where people actually have a place where they can begin to do just that – speak out, and not feel like a lone voice in the wilderness.

      The It Gets Better project was similar – a place where people for whom it got better could tell the people that most needed to hear it, the at-risk and tormented marginalized and lonely youth.

      I see this as the same thing. And frankly, I don’t see this as aimed at LGBT people at all. This isn’t supposed to be Christians telling me I’m okay. It’s supposed to be Christians telling each other that I’m okay.

      • Elizabeth

        Bingo. When I made my video, I saw it as educating ‘traditional’ Christians and simultaneously reaching out to Christian youth scared they might be LGBT. Hell of a fine line to walk.

        • Matt

          Huh. Maybe that’s also why I like it–people get to take away from it whatever speaks to them most. There’s just such a depth and breadth of perspectives.

      • Amy

        You said it better than I could have. I’ve been trying to figure out what to say to these people who are *so sure* that this project is bad and wrong because of the phrase used to launch it. That, to me, is word-policing. So now we can’t even use the phrase “we’re not all like that” because it makes some people sad? And who cares if that wasn’t the point in the first place? But I’ve had a hard time knowing how to communicate that because I’m a white, middle-class, well-educated, cis-het person. I’m practically a poster child for privilege. I do not ever want my LGBTQ friends to think that this is all about me, because I’m not marginalized. And yet, as a Christian who was deep in semi-fundamentalism, I could have used something like this telling me that I wasn’t the only one. The only reason I decided to go public as an ally was that I saw Dan’s video (ages ago) in which he originally told an audience of Christians not to be silent. My hope is that we can take on those well-known, vocal anti-gay pastors.

    • Lymis

      I don’t see how you can claim “We’re not all like that” as a variation of the No True Scotsman fallacy. They aren’t claiming that the bigots aren’t “true” Christians, they’re accurately stating that not all people who can validly be called Christian condemn gay people. Big difference.

  • nonononono

    Rob Bell denies spiritual truth about hell and many other things, John Shore invented his own version of Christianity and Dan Savage is the pied piper of sexual immorality of any kind. Follow at grave risk to your eternal soul

    • Elizabeth

      Yeah, see, this is actually what it’s all about for me. Big launch, you don’t only get the fundamentalist trolls, you get the anti-Christian trolls parodying them. It’s a linguist’s dream.

    • Lymis

      It’s amazing how much wrong someone can pack into just a few simple sentences, isn’t it?

  • Elizabeth

    This video is so ridiculously brilliant.

  • Brenda in La.

    Yay! Brilliant, John…..and I, too, enjoyed seeing Cat. Congrats to everyone involved.

  • Brian

    I have mixed feelings. It’s a welcome gesture… but I feel it’s futile. I have long harbored the opinion that homophobia – and Christian silence in the face of homophobia – are symptoms of the deeper flaws inherent in Christianity and its central message. Until institutional Christianity’s pathological need to be “right” is addressed fundamentalism and evangelism will continue to be the arms and legs of spiritual abuse and violence. And not just that directed at the LGBT community but also that which Christians direct at other Christians (never mind other belief systems).

    • Bob Stahley

      Brian, I understand your cynicism, but know that, here in Washington State, our UCC congregation hosted a twice-weekly phone bank for months in support of Referendum 74. And we were far from the only Christians manning phones, canvassing the streets and marching in parades to make our LGBT-affirming Christian voices heard above the din of the hate-speech. Faith-based communities were involved in many ways in getting marriage equality here, and it’s been my and my wife’s joy to have been in attendence for three of our dear friends’ same-sex weddings, two of which were held in Christian churches.

      I hope–no, I know that you’ll be surprised at the outpouring of support from us NALT Christians, although I’d have preferred we’d be called WTRC (We’re The Real Christians).

      • Brian

        …ummm I don’t think WTRC is an improvement. I can’t tell you how awful it was for me when I was coming out (and trying to find a church home that didn’t hate me) what it was like when anyone/everyone I talked to made a WTRC statement, only for me to later discover that they are all just as homo-hating, just varying degrees of the politeness in which they expressed it.

        In the end I gave up faith and Christianity as lost causes altogether.

        I remain cynical. It’s not that I don’t think institutional Christianity is capable of improving – it’s more that it’s track record is such I don’t have much hope for it. And why I posted what I did. It’s a nice gesture – but my gut feeling is that unless it translates into more of the scenarios that you and Amy describe it’s not going to mean much in the long run.

        • Brian

          (for clarity and because I don’t think I can edit): by “it’s a nice gesture” I mean the NALT website.

    • Amy

      I definitely see where you’re coming from. But, as Bob said, there are whole churches doing more than just making videos. We changed churches last year in order to find an affirming congregation. When our son was baptized in April, we had the honor of having him baptized with the son of a long-time friend and her wife. The best part for me, as a parent, is knowing my children will grow up seeing all kinds of couples, families, and relationships.

    • Lymis

      Brian, I think you are absolutely right. A set of videos isn’t going to completely overturn centuries of misunderstanding, monolithic edifices of codified bias and intolerance, and the entrenched fundamentalism of the current corporate expression of what so many people see as inherent in Christianity.

      One candle doesn’t light up the world.

      One person refusing to give up her seat on a bus doesn’t end racial intolerance.

      One group of people holding a march doesn’t end discrimination against women, blacks, or gays.

      Giving one hungry person a meal doesn’t end world hunger.

      One mother doesn’t end drunk driving.

      One soda can recycled doesn’t fix the environment.

      But I don’t think any of the people who are starting this program are claiming that it will fix everything that is wrong with the Church on issues relating to sexuality. I think they are creating a place where individual people can raise their voices, and other individual people can draw inspiration.

      Because millions of candles can dispel the darkness.

      Millions of people can change the hearts and minds of millions of others, and working together, what one person can’t do can still be done.

      What’s most wrong with the narrow-minded kind of fundamentalist Christianity is that so many people think it’s the right way – often because they’ve been taught that it’s the only way. Until they know there is another option, it’s not even going to occur to them that they CAN change.

  • Leum

    John,

    I wrote a letter to you about this the NALT website contact us, but I need to express it again. The NALT website says as its mission/vision/nature statement “There is nothing anti-biblical or at all inherently sinful about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.”

    At this point in time, a lot of us in the LGBT community treat statements like that with deep suspicion. Almost 99% of Christians, from the Family Research Council to Bishop Spong, are willing to agree to statements like that. The reason being that homophobic rhetoric has, for the past ten years, been making a shift between condemnation of homosexuality as an existential state (i.e. it’s a sin to be gay) to condemnation of homosexual activity (i.e. having sex with someone of the same sex is immoral). This allows them to appear to be fully onboard with LGBT equality, while still teaching their queer congregants that they must never ever act on what they euphemistically call “same-sex attraction.”

    I urge you to update your website’s statements to reflect this shift in homophobic rhetoric and to make it clear that gay fucking is morally acceptable. Or, if you don’t believe that it is, to stop claiming you support LGBT equality.

    Thank you.

    • http://www.truthwinsout.org Evan Hurst

      Leum, NOTED.

      As an out gay man and co-founder of NALT Christians, I sort of take that as a given. Heh.

      But you’re obviously not familiar with Shore or with Truth Wins Out, and that’s okay. Both are 100% affirming places and TWO is 100% gay and pro-same-sex sexytime.

      • Leum

        Thanks Evan, but don’t tell me that, tell the people visiting the NALT site. I was able to find references to NALT’s support for sacramental same-sex marriage buried in your section on homosexuality and the Bible, but this needs to be front and center on your website. Otherwise other LGBT people who are familiar with the rhetoric of homophobia will visit your “About us” section, see your line about how it’s not a sin to “be gay,” and write you off as just another homophobe trying to get on our good side so you can stab them in the back. Like virtually every other Christian who has told us it’s not a sin to be gay has done.

        • Gordon

          Really? You want them to affirm gay fucking on their website? What is the matter with you? My knee jerk response to Christians is usually suspicion and mistrust too, but it shouldn’t take a logical person very long to figure out that NALT is about reconciliation, acceptance and celebration of who we are and who we do.

          One other point: Dan Savage is part of the team of founders. Millions of people know he’s all in favor of us fucking and he’s very willing and capable to help us as we go about the process of finding someone to do it with.

          I think that NALT is going to be huge. Watching this unfold is going to be fascinating.

          • Elizabeth

            Actually, I’m pretty sure my video affirms gay fucking. One reason it took so many takes is it’s really hard to say “gender and sexuality” a bazillion times without sounding like a perv. Re: your question above, Queer is now Questioning. I know, right?

          • Kristycat

            Elizabeth – yes, your video does :) In fact, if you read long enough on the website, it does show that the site, and those who support it, are supporting not just “gay people” but people who are actually in same-sex relationships. And that’s a good thing!

            The problem is, however, that it’s a good thing amidst a sea of bad things. And the website HAS to take that into account. If I had found the site while randomly searching the internet, and if I wasn’t already familiar with John Shore, Fred Clark, and a couple other names there, I would have rolled my eyes in cynical resignation and moved on long before I got to the good parts. Because from the bits that I saw up-front, it looked like every other half-hearted, mealy-mouthed website that supports gay Christians as long as they don’t ACT gay, or says “ok, sure, maybe it’s a sin, but we’re all sinners, right? Don’t judge!” or goes the “love the sinner, hate the sin” route. None of which is actually helpful or loving or comforting.

            The website doesn’t literally need to say “woohoo gay fucking!” or anything like that, but it DOES need to have, front and center, the bald statement that you do NOT consider it sinful to love and be in a relationship with someone of the same sex. Don’t bury it, don’t make me search for it, don’t just say “we support gay people” and make me wonder if you’re one of the millions of Christians who say that but only mean it for certain definitions of “support” and certain definitions of “gay people.”

            (It would also, while we’re on the subject, be nice if the site included more than just videos of support and explanations of why you don’t think homosexuality is a sin. It’s nice that you don’t think we’re sinful, but that’s honestly kind of a low bar. Christians in groups are powerful; I would like to see how this project intends to harness that power to actually help improve the lives of LGBT people who are being hurt by other factions of Christianity.)

            And in the end, I guess it comes down to what the purpose of this project is. If it’s just a feel-good project for people to show how non-bigoted they are… well, ok then, great. But if it’s actually trying to help undo the harm Christians have done to LGBT people, then this project really needs to take into account the environment it’s in and present itself accordingly. And when y’all get feedback saying “it’s really very unclear what your stance actually is unless you take the time to go searching for it,” you don’t need to reassure US – you need to make the website more clear!

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            This is the opening statement of our “About” page:

            “The purpose of the NALT Christians Project is to give LGBT-affirming Christians a means of proclaiming to the world—and especially to young gay people—their belief and conviction that there is nothing anti-biblical or at all inherently sinful about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.”

            Italics mine.

            If that’s not clear enough for you, then by all means do feel free to let us know what language you think would be clearer.

          • Leum

            John, I’d change the italicized bit to

            “There is nothing anti-biblical or at all inherently sinful about living as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person; being in romantic and sexual relationships with someone of the same sex; or seeking hormonal or surgical changes that allow your body to accurately reflect your gender.

            The last part concerns trans* people, and so you should probably check with a trans* person on that part. But it is vitally important that you recognize that most homophobic Christians would enthusiastically agree to your statement as you’ve presented it because of the distinction they’ve made between BEING gay (fine) and ACTING gay (damnably sinful).

          • Lymis

            I think that’s probably unreasonable.

            God knows I agree with you about the sacredness of physical relationships and that’s how I personally see things, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to demand that an explicitly Christian group declare that sexual relationship outside of a committed relationship, and specifically, marriage where it is available, is something they support.

            Most Christian groups don’t support it for straight people, either. And equal means equal. It’s only fair to expect them to frame equal sexuality in terms equal to what they hold as the standard for straight people.

            I certainly understand the skepticism, given the history of of “it’s okay to be gay as long as you live loveless, lonely, celibate lives” but I don’t know that it’s particularly fair to force a group like this to start out on the defensive about other people’s bigoted views by demanding they lead with a refutation of that specific rhetoric.

            I’m fine with positive affirmation.

          • Matt

            Not all trans people seek hormone therapy and/or surgery. Some of us can pass as our gender without it, some of us are fine just living part-time, and some just don’t want it. The trans community and experience is an entire universe unto itself–it’s fine to just use the umbrella term “transgender.”

          • Nicole

            Great point, Lymis, and much appreciated. I’m amazed at how you are able to put yourself in others’ shoes. *hug*

          • Allie

            Yes, I want them to affirm gay fucking on their website. It’s needed, today when so many bigots are willing to make statements that it’s okay to BE gay as long as you never act on it. If saying fucking is problematic, add a statement about living a full and fulfilled life or whatever it takes to make it clear that fucking is what is meant.

  • http://ethnologystudy.blogspot.com/ Mike Jones

    John, if you had listed “Q” as well, when you said “LGBT-affirming Christians,” I would have at least known that I fit in there, as I am always questioning many things, it seems. The only thing that I’m pretty sure that I am not is ever-straight, other than I have only dated women. What category do you place someone like myself in who is a Christian man who is single, who experiences primarily sexual attractions toward men, who is not ex-gay, not gay, only bisexual way over on the homosexual attractions section of the Kinsey Scale, who isn’t gay-affirming himself and who is not sexually active with anyone, but who has non-sexual attractions mostly toward men? And who accepts and respects people who are gay, ex-gay, anti-gay, bisexual, straight, not yet Christian, or never to be a Christian.

    • etseq

      Mike Jones is an ex-gay creep who loves to stalk gay blogs…

    • Lymis

      “What category do you place someone like myself in who is a Christian man who is single, who experiences primarily sexual attractions toward men, who is not ex-gay, not gay, only bisexual way over on the homosexual attractions section of the Kinsey Scale, who isn’t gay-affirming himself and who is not sexually active with anyone, but who has non-sexual attractions mostly toward men?”

      Umm… that would be bisexual, based on the “mostly.”

      And, one doesn’t have to be gay-affirming to be gay. That’s sort of the point of having everyone else be accepting, welcoming, and allies. It’s not about labels, it’s about lived experience.

      And the point of an umbrella term is to embrace a whole spectrum of people, not to parse it into little bits for the purpose of excluding people who don’t fit tidily into a particular pigeon-hole.

      Based on your self-description, I’d say you fit in under the umbrella just fine.

    • Gordon

      The “Q” stands for Queer, doesn’t it?

      • http://ethnologystudy.blogspot.com/ Mike Jones

        Gordon, I hope you are just poking some fun at me. But if not, the “Q” stands for questioning.

        • Gordon

          No, that was a serious question. I thought it stood for queer.

      • Lymis

        Normally, a single Q stands for questioning. It’s not until you add a few more letters to the alphabet soup that you get to queer – I’ve seen references that the Oregon State University campus resources group uses “LGBTQQIA” so that you have Questioning, Queer, Intersex and Allies added to the mix. ((and I’ve seen a double T and another A used sometimes to add transsexual and asexual.)

        LGBT is still the most common, and its rare that anyone interprets is as deliberately exclusionary unless they have some sort of axe to grind. Beyond LGBT, you’ve really left the territory where you can claim any sort of consensus on meaning or usage, though people do, of course, use what works for them, and in some settings, it makes perfect sense to do so.

        In this case, I think it’s a bit… I’ll go with unreasonable… to say that a group that already includes straight people and is committed to Christian acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans people would reject someone who is questioning, presumably implying that only people who have sorted things out are beloved of God.

        If people are equally accepted as straight, gay, or bi, it’s hard to imagine that those questioning their place in that spectrum would not be welcome too. If people are equally accepted who are cisgendered or transgendered, it’s hard to imagine people who are questioning their gender identity would be unwelcome.

        I certainly don’t think a knee-jerk condemnation for not explicitly including questioning is in any way justified, given the strong body of available work from all of those involved.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          Thank God for you, Lymis, and your apparently inexhaustible patience.

          • Lymis

            Oh, trust me, it’s exhaustible!

          • Lymis

            And, thank you!

        • Gordon

          Thanks, Lymis. I always learn something when I read your writings. I’m sticking with LGBT.

        • Emily

          Awesome response, but I’m also pretty sure that the “A” in LGBTQQIA never refers to allies. Allies are the people who support people who fit into the above very long acronym, not someone who identifies within that. The A is always for asexual.

          • Elizabeth

            According to Facebook, my dubious source for what ‘everyone’ is thinking, that alphabet soup means A is for Allies. Just like in my day the (only) Q was for Queer. Study gender and sexuality for 20 years and you realize… always is a really long time. :)

          • Gordon

            Sometimes acronyms can get so long that they’re just plain stupid.

    • Allie

      If you want an honest answer, I’d call you gay, based on the fact that you won’t come right out and say you have straight attractions without qualifying them that much. You like guys. Maybe in your more hopeful moments you pretend you sort of also like girls. That’s what I get from the post you just made, reading between the lines. I may be reading you wrong, but that’s what I get from how you’ve presented yourself here.

      Regardless, it’s past time to become gay-affirming.

      • http://ethnologystudy.blogspot.com/ Mike Jones

        Thanks for commenting. It helps our discussion here. It’s important to determine whether we are referring to a person’s identity or their orientation or their behavior or what triggers them romantically when we work to assign a label to them and their profile. For instance there is a difference between a person who is gay and celibate chaste and a person who is not gay-affirming themself and is only sexually attracted to people of the same sex. Or between a person who is bisexual while straight in their heterosexual relationship or marriage and a person who is gay and is dating both men and women.

        I am attracted to men and woman, and I am sexually attracted almost exclusively to men. Liking someone and being sexually attracted to them are not always synonymous. Sometimes people are very sexually attracted to someone who they don’t like as a person because of the person’s personality or character.

        It wouldn’t be honest for me to say that I am gay-affirming, because that is not my identity or my intimate sexual behavior. It wouldn’t be honest to say that I am ex-gay because I have not seen my sexual attractions shift that much over time. It wouldn’t be honest to say only that my identity is straight and not also say that my sexual orientation is primarily homosexual. It would be honest to say that the vast majority of my same-sex attractions do not trigger a same-sex sexual attraction.

        • Elizabeth

          Hi Mike. Welcome back. Affirming has absolutely nothing to do with your sexual identity, orientation, or behavior. It only means you affirm someone else’s God-given right to love whomever they choose. I’m not sure what it means that the vast majority of your same-sex attractions do not trigger a same-sex sexual attraction. It seems like a semantic bait-and-switch. We all know the brain is the sexiest human organ (I mean, hello), but attraction encompasses them all. No one walks around with a crush on an inanimate body or a brain preserved in a jar. At least, no one admits it publicly.

          • Jill

            A brain preserved in a jar walks into a bar and says..

        • Lymis

          Mike, I honestly don’t see what you think these comments have to do with the discussion, and it’s frankly throwing me trying to figure out what’s going on.

          I don’t dispute you self-evaluation. Sounds pretty rough to me, and it also sounds very much like the way I might have described myself decades ago when I was in the closet and pretty much hated myself. It sucked. I’m glad God led me out of it.

          But what it has to do in a conversation about a group that does declared it to be made of Christians who ARE gay-affirming evades me. If you are not willing to stand up as a Christian and declare to other Christians that it’s okay to be gay, then it’s probably not the group for you. If you are not willing to listen to the views of those want to tell gay people that it’s okay to be gay, then, again, it’s probably not the group for you.

          It sounds as though you want a group that is centered specifically around the concept of being welcoming and affirming to LGBT people to declare that it has open arms for those who are not.

          Frankly, it sounds as though you feel you’re being excluded from the group somehow because of your attractions, when the reason the group doesn’t seem to be for you is that you are adamant about your disapproval of them.

          The group is for Christians who are Not All Like That. For whatever reason, you seem to be adamant and unwavering in your personal conviction to be precisely All Like That.

          If it isn’t honest for me to say I am a vegetarian, I probably shouldn’t join a group that promotes it as a moral choice. That doesn’t mean I’d be justified in demanding that they rewrite their charter to welcome my views.

          The question really isn’t how you feel about your own attractions. The question in this case is how you feel about other people and whether they are obligated to feel the same way. I have no issue with someone who feels that God has called them to personal celibacy. I have serious issues with someone who tries to tell me that because they’ve made that choice, I have to do so as well.

          When you say you are “not gay-affirming,” it sounds like a coy way to sugar coat a disapproval of homosexuality and same-sex love, sex, and relationships.

          If so, well, it should be self-evident why the NALT Project doesn’t speak to you.

          But, Mary and Martha, dude. If this works for you and you and God are okay with it for you, I’m not going to try to claim otherwise. Just don’t tell the rest of us how to live and love, and that includes keeping your non-affirmation of other people’s lives more or less to yourself.

  • Elizabeth

    Hey peeps. In comments below and private messages, there seems to be a lack of clarity. Make a video if you’re a Christian who is LGBT or affirming. There’s no magic. I knew my story wouldn’t resonate with a lot of people. I knew I’d be seen as a privileged white elitist, never mind that I’m living hand to mouth in a crack neighborhood. I stopped apologizing a long time ago. My video took 25 takes. That’s how I am. I’m really deliberate with my words, my church history is complicated, and I’d never used a webcam before. I hate it. I just had to get over myself.

    Another frequent commenter here answered the challenge in, I swear, ten minutes. It’s direct and powerful, he looks like a stud, and it’s being widely shared across social media. Others just showed up to church and shot one during coffee hour.

    No magic. No popularity contest. People will make assumptions based on how you look or where you live or what denomination you are. That’s OK; that’s the point. All that matters is that you don’t believe Christian and LGBT are mutually exclusive. Someone out there is in that lonely mental space we’ve all discussed here. He or she wants to hear they are not crazy.

    The project is at 49 voices. Can’t we make it a nice round 60 to celebrate? You know how anal retentive I am. xo

  • http://www.christianvagabond.com Christian Vagabond

    Hi,

    I made a blog post on my site to help get the word out for your project. I hope it helps:

    http://www.christianvagabond.com/2013/09/06/great-idea/

  • Allie

    Hoo boy. This is going to be hard, I hate speaking on video. I even freak out the first time I talk on the phone to internet friends. I fully intend to be there but it may take me a while, please be patient, guys. In the meantime love to all and blessings on this enterprise. Going to go watch videos now.

  • Steve Green

    Hi. My name is Steve Green. I recently read your interview with the woman who is in a poly-fidelity relationship. What a wonderful statement she made! I recently self-published a novel online. It’s called “Menage3″. It’s available on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and Smashwords. I would be happy to send you a gift copy if you would like that. As for the woman interviewed, I think she’d love my novel. She summarized a lot of the same concepts. The relationship of 3 also formed naturally. Just let me know if you’d like a copy. I think NALT is a wonderful idea!
    By the way, a sequel to “Menage 3″ is in the works!


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