Short and to the point—this is officially the worst evangelism tool ever found on the face of the earth.
Sadness strikes me in great amounts hearing this gay man’s response.
Hi Andrew,I have been following your blog for some time and have been watching your videos. I would like to offer up the notion that this isn't so much about a cultural war between Christianity and GLBT Folks/Allies. I would assert this should be more properly framed as a cultural war between EVANGELICAL Christians and GLBT Folks/Allies. As an out partnered Christian Gay man, I have never experienced the hate that you describe from the church. I grew up in a liberal mainline protestant denomination. There are MANY churches that are gay affirming of which the notion of full acceptance has LONG been dealt with.I guess, from my side, it kinda irritates me when people who are "bridge building" and even people who are not frame these discussions or issues as a cultural war between gays and christians. I think a distinction needs to be made. Just because this is an issue for Evangelical Christians DOES NOT mean that ALL Christians should be lumped together–to do so kinda sounds like you arrogantly represent all of Christianity on this issue.
Andrew,OK! Touche!I guess I should have been more clear that it is true that there are conservative elements within many mainline protestant denominations that struggle with this issue. I shouldn't have said ALL mainline churches are gay affirming so I apologize for not being clear.However, I still don't think its fair that when people who are not Gay Affirming think they speak for all Christian Churches. Honestly, it would be like me saying, that since I am a liberal mainline protestant that all Christians Churches ARE gay affirming. That would be a false statement to make on my part. Does that make sense?I guess I am saying that evangelicals and other conservatives in mainline churches need to be careful about how they use language because it just isn't fully accurate. In this dialogue I think language is important! Be honest! Be real! That would be my best advice! I know I try to be.And let me also apologize for my strong language I know it probably sounded harsh–that wasnt my intention–but it is a pet peeve of mine. I appreciate your efforts to bridge build but honestly I think we have a long way to go.I think you also have to be prepared for the fact that you are the ones trying to reach out to the gay community. We have not been the ones that have necessarily started this dialogue. Of course dialogues and conversations should be respectful and open but the majority of(glbt folks) should feel no responsibility for bridging this gap. I think we SHOULD make the effort because Christ would want us to. If you want to take that as harsh or if you want to get defensive about it then so be it–its not intended that way–its just honest. Dialogue can sometimes sting–even when its not meant to. I have had really enjoyed my conversations with Wendy on Bridging The Gap. She and I have had many no holds bar discussion and neither of us holds back. But I still REALLY appreciate what she is doing! And I have a feeling that you are a lot like Wendy in that regard. People like me, who have been in gay affirming churches, often sit back and wonder why, all of a sudden, some evangelicals and other conservatives, want to reach out to GLBT folks. I have had my moments when I want to understand the motivation–sometimes I have been skeptical. I am trying to trust that Jesus is mixed up in all this and that I need to move forward in faith with all this.Can we bridge the gap? I am not sure. I guess its all in God's hands. I hope what I say doesnt offend you further–just being honest. I guess. PEace, Jack
I appriciate your comments and your life experience. But just because that is your experience does not mean it's the same for everyone – even within the most liberal denominations within Christanity that you think have "LONG" since resolved the topic. In fact, earlier this year the United Church of Christ (one of the most liberal denominations) brought me in to facilitate a discussion between their open and affirming group AND their conservative group, called Faithful and Welcoming. The UCC is a perfect example that what you're saying is not the case for everyone, as there are very conservative groups and factions, very vocal non-the less, even within the most "liberal" denominations.
The next time you decide to name call, think first about your argument in terms of wholistic worldviews and experiences across the broad spectrum of faith and sexuality, not just your own.
I'm glad you've had such a great go at it, but that doesn't constitute the majority of the GLBT community within Christendom (evangelical or not!). Your argument is too narrowly focused and therefore not thoroughly or appropirately constructed.
Hi Jack, I look forward to engaging this conversation more! However I'm going on vacation tomorrow and won't be back for almost 10 days. In the meantime, take care of yourself and much love!Talk soon.Andrew
Have a wonderful vacation! I just got your book in the mail I am looking forward to reading it! I will touch base with you again one I have had to read it and digest!
I'm back from vacation, and recharged (and a little bummed to be 'not on vacation' if you know what I mean).
Here are a few thoughts to your follow-up thoughts:
1. I understand where you're coming from with the broad-scope labels of "Christian community". I am more than open to suggestions on what you think would be better. I, however, cannot just single out evangelicalism, as I don't beleive that would be a correct assessment of all other denominations.
2. Why do people want to reach out to GLBT folks…why not? From a traditional biblical persepctive, all people will have the opportunity to believe or not believe – and someone's got to communicate that at some point in everyone's life. But don't get me wrong, it's been communicated very, very poorly to the GLBT community over the years – definitely hindered more belief than not! In the gospel of John, Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is inherited by belief (first and foremost). I stick to that as Truth.
I'm looking forward to talking about the book.
This little video reminded me of my very first Gay Pride parade in 1986. Someone took a picture of my partner and me as we were holding up a Meteropolitan Community Church banner. We’d vowed to sit on the sidelines and just watch the parade with a best friend from out of town.
There was so much excitement and happiness, we’d just moved to a great city, and were surrounded by the most gays and lesbians ever in our entire life. So when MCC came marching by, we literally RAN out into the middle of the street and grabbed the banner. When I look back at the picture of the exact moment this happened 23 years later, I’m still amazed at the ecstatically happy look on my face. I recall first looking at the pictures when they came back from the developer, and being amazed. I had NEVER in my life seen a look of such happiness on my face in a photo before. That’s right NEVER in my life, until that one magic moment.
The other thing I recall was how scary it was marching past a small group of fanatic christians waving “God Hates Fags” signs and yelling about us burning in hell, or something to that effect. Even though we were thousands upon thousands that day, the shock of that little hate group was profound. “What kind of people would go to a celebration and act like that?” I thought back then. Never in my life had I faced that kind of in-your-face attacking people, and these were the christians? Little did I realize that these fanatic little groups would prove so deadly as the 80s ended.
Every year, at every parade nationwide, this little group of hate people shows up, and never in all that time, have I ever heard of anyone in our community actually beating them up. In all this time, our movement has been amazingly peaceful.
Even New York City police statistics note that violence at straight male bars is epidemic, but never at gay male bars do the police have to break up bar fights on a Friday night. People say that gay men constitute the largest number of peaceful men on earth when they come together in large groups. You can’t say this about straight men after a football championship, or about straight men worldwide who march in protest of anything.
This unique quality about gay men in large groups is amazing. One never feels safe at all in large groups of straight men. It’s just interesting to know this stuff.