While “gay Christian” is an oxymoron to some conservative Protestants, it is an equally bewildering term to many radicals in the gay liberation movement. To “come out” as a Christian in the gay community can be as trying as it is to come out as a homosexual in the church.
This is the season when church bodies convene and contend over the issue of homosexuality. It is usually a wearisome struggle for all parties, and the struggle usually generates questions about whether there is a better way for Christians to deal with their differences.
In 2001, representatives of the Confessing and the Good News movements and representatives of the Reconciling Ministries Network and the Clergy Alliance for a Professing Church came to DePauw University, where I was chaplain, to discuss homosexuality and the church.
This was to be a relatively calm year for Mark S. Hanson, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA has not experienced nearly the angst over homosexual issues that Episcopalians, Methodists and Presbyterians have.
Same-sex relationships tolerated among laity but not clergy
Mar 09, 2004
The Church of England’s governing General Synod has voiced strong support for greater acceptance of homosexuals, but the church’s official stance—of tolerating gay relationships among the laity but not among the clergy—remains unchanged.
We have a bumper sticker on our car: “Keep Vermont Civil.” The sticker is a bit tattered, since it goes back to the controversy about “civil unions”—the Vermont law passed in 2000 establishing various legal equivalencies to marital rights for gay and lesbian couples.
I’m uncomfortably aware that this room contains two very different groups of Presbyterians—both of which have ministered to me. One is made up of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. The church has developed the bad habit of talking about this group as if it is a problem for the denomination. Let me address you directly: You have not been a problem for me.
I have spent a number of years engaged in Jewish-Christian dialogue. More recently, I have been involved in extensive exchanges with Muslim scholars. I regularly visit Utah for off-the-record discussions with Mormon leaders about deep disagreements between Mormons and evangelicals. I approach all these conversations with great enthusiasm.
During the fourth century, at the height of the Arian controversy in Constantinople, one Christian wrote that it was impossible to go into a bakery for a loaf of bread without debating the nature of Christ. Was he the eternal Son of the eternal Father or was there a time when he was not?
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s top legislative body had a full plate as it convened in Milwaukee in mid-August—major statements or initiatives on evangelism, mission, worship, health care and the Middle East, as well as an invitation to join a new ecumenical group.