You’ve already mentioned some conservative concerns about your approach and your response to them but, given the debates in the Church of England, the wider Anglican Communion and other denominations, what do you say to those who are concerned you are undermining a traditional conservative stance on this topic?
I do not hide the fact that, theologically, I believe in a traditional interpretation of Scripture. The difference that ultimately leads to others being ‘concerned that I am undermining a traditional conservative stance on this topic’ is because I live out my conservative beliefs differently. I live them out incarnationally with my wife in the gay community, though I am straight and have always been such.
As I explained, I intentionally moved into the gay neighbourhood to learn from and listen to the same GLBT people that I wanted nothing to do with, that I didn’t agree with socially or theologically and that I repeatedly hurt and thought not worthy of my Christ.
It is very difficult for me to respond to such accusations from my own brothers and sisters in Christ. Not because I can’t put together an air-tight missiology that completely aligns with a conservative paradigm but rather because I am confused why my actions threaten so many people, why they feel the need to resort to knee-jerk reactions that question my belief system, a belief system no different than theirs. Maybe it’s because I use Jesus’ example and I won’t answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to ‘yes or no?’ questions? Maybe it’s because I use Jesus’ example that I didn’t come to preach and live among already saved Christians but rather came to those who are well acculturated with a great life and don’t feel the need to know Him? Maybe it’s because I use Jesus’ example of not being the first one to cast a stone as I concentrate more intently on the plank in my own eye before the speck in my brother’s? Maybe it’s because I use Jesus’ example of a humble servant, one that relentlessly serves those on the outside while asking nothing in return? Maybe it’s because I use the biblical model of knowing my Kingdom Job Description: it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love? Or maybe it’s because I use all of these examples with gays and lesbians and that just flat out frightens a lot of people who are already threatened by a God that longs to see a simple and pure faith lived out on earth as it is in heaven.
I have to admit that, in their fear, they hurt me. I have great pain when brothers and sisters call me names because of their own fear. I have great pain when the publication Anglican Mainstream prints that I am more dangerous to Christianity than the openly gay bishop Gene Robinson. I am still yet to figure out what is dangerous about me. Is it my conservative belief in Scripture or is it that I model my life after Jesus? At the end of the day, if how I am living my faith is dangerous then, Lord willing, might there be more dangerous believers around the corner to keep relentlessly working toward a biblical reconciliation between two warring factions no matter who or what, from either community, tries to tear us from God and from each other.