Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Bible Study on “Christianity and Homosexuality”

It has been too long since I have continued my series of posts on GLBT persons and the church. I hope to continue that this weekend. I should have finished it long ago, but it isn’t my favorite topic. I began it only because I believe that straight Christians like me have a responsibility to GLBT people to take risks on their behalf–since we are less vulnerable.

At any rate, for those of you who read this blog who live in Louisville, KY (a distinct minority of you Gentle Readers, I know), or who have friends who live here, I make this announcement.

My church, Jeff Street Baptist Community at Liberty, is having a Bible Study on “Christianity and Homosexuality” every Sunday evening in July from 6-8 pm. On 06 July, we will be screening the documentary film, For the Bible Tells Me So, which features Christian families and their experiences with their gay and lesbian children. Discussion and dialogue to follow.

On 13, 20, & 27 July, Dr. Rick Axtell, Professor of Religion at Centre College (and chaplain to students at the college), Danville, KY, a former colleague of mine in the same doctoral program in Christian ethics and a longtime member of Jeff Street, will lecture and lead discussion. Although I have tried to footnote many other sources in my blog series on this topic (since Rick has yet to publish his work on this topic), I nevertheless owe much of my approach to Rick’s lectures and notes. He gave this series when our congregation was first deciding to become a “welcoming and affirming” congregation, fully inclusive of our GLBT sisters and brothers, and periodically since when we have numerous members who weren’t there and don’t know “on what basis” we are so inclusive.

Everyone is invited to come, even if you are coming to tell us how wrong we are (as long as this is done in respectful dialogue, of course). We are at 800 East Liberty Street (the big green building that looks like an old factory–it once was–at the corner of Liberty and Shelby). Please RSVP so that we have a clue about how many handouts, etc. to make: 502-585-3787 (that’s 58-JESUS).

For a long time, my heart told me to welcome gays and lesbians without precondition, but I read the Bible as forbidding this. I confess that I was so much a moral coward that I waited until I was married (and ostentatiously flashed my wedding ring when checking out library books on the topic!) before I even researched the topic thoroughly–instead of just reading the standard evangelical “answers” to liberal/inclusive views. On no other controversial moral topic was I so cowardly. This was the Bible study series that allowed my head and heart to come together and end my conflicted views and be as inclusive as I felt the Spirit of God prompting me.

So (he said tongue in cheek before his critics could say it), if you want to join us in promoting the gay agenda and corrupting the youth of America, come on out. Or, if you want to refute our misguided teachings and stop said dreaded agenda (which is basically to be left alone and to be treated like everyone else), come on out–but not to picket or disrupt, please. Or, especially, if you are confused about the topic, as I was for so long, and know that you have heard the arguments for condemnation, but never ones for inclusion, come on out. If you are gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered and have been tossed out of your own family and church, welcome. If you are a parent, sibling, or friend of a gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgendered person and don’t know how to reconcile that with your faith, come on out. If you are just curious, come on out.

N.B.: Because THIS post is an invitation and not part of my series on this topic, I am closing comments to this post, only.


July 1, 2008 - Posted by | Biblical exegesis, ethics, GLBT issues

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