One of the days I was in London I had the privilege of speaking at the Salvation Army International Headquarters to a wide variety of British clergy, pastors, denominational heads, theologians, authors and some overall movers and shakers. Beyond such a great opportunity, the unique part to that day was immediately after I had the privilege of meeting with two of the most prominent leaders in the Gay Christian movement in the United Kingdom: Colin Coward from Changing Attitude (with their ever provocative and informative blog) and Jeremy Marks from Courage (video above).
Here’s the kicker to that meeting: When I mentioned to the straight Christian group that I was heading to meet with Colin and Jeremy, I can’t tell you how many of them looked at me in shock. A few even came up to me after and asked:
“Why would you go to meet with them?”
“Why would I not want to meet with them? What are you going to do, talk about gay people and then not actually talk to them?”
That didn’t go over too well with one person in particular, and a certain very conservative UK publication has written, and publicly called me quite a few nasty and offensive names over the last couple months because of it. Maybe I could have been more sensitive with my response, but one of the things that frustrates me to no end is when people like to intellectually or conceptually talk about something or someone and could care less about actually talking to them – what has been effectively turned from a child of God to an ethereal construct of not much worth.
When I’m back in the UK throughout the month of April, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the number of conservative Christian leaders who passionately caught the vision; as well as Colin, Jeremy and their groups in person (instead of just emailing with everyone) and seeing what partnerships and bridge building efforts we can really start tangibly working within. I’m very encouraged at the start we’ve been able to have thus far.
Tomorrow I will begin posting the more thorough reflections I wrote for Anvil, a UK theological journal.
Any thoughts on what Jeremy communicated in the video?