The following was written as part of my theological studies and in response to the pain and suffering I have seen in my journey with the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender) community. All the stories told are taken from current literature, however I hope to continue and expand my research in 2011, with new examples and real life stories, taken from people that I have met.
If you or somebody you know would like to tell your story, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Rev. Matt Glover,
Lilydale Baptist Church
Every book I have read about homosexuality and Christianity starts off with a statement about how the debate is tearing the church apart. After debating the issue for years, we are no closer to a resolution and it seems that homosexuality is becoming more divisive in the world wide church. Positions have polarized with the church community and the LGBT community in a face-off over who claims the correct Biblical interpretation and theology. But even within the church, denominations and congregations are being divided to the point of schism, and the unity of the Body of Christ is in disarray.
In the middle of the conflict are men and women, young people and old, who are genuinely wrestling with big questions about their sexuality and spirituality. Young people struggling with their sexual identity are scared to raise their questions in the church environment for fear of isolation and ridicule. These same young people summon up enough courage to “come out” to their parents, who in turn wonder what they have done wrong, hiding their struggles and questions from wider family and community. Slowly gay and lesbian people drift from the church, and the cycle of loneliness continues.
Our churches have argued the issue on biblical, theological and moral grounds for years, and agreement seems elusive. But as the battles rage, real people are being forgotten, left bruised and hurting, and wondering where they fit. While not tackling the more specific issues of the debate like gay marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexuals, it is the purpose of this paper to bring another approach to the issue that is based on our equality before God, the work of the Spirit in our lives, and the unity that the Spirit produces in our church communities.
This alternative approach requires journeying with the real people stuck in the middle of the debate, listening to their questions and seeking answers together. It is a pastoral response that has its grounding in scripture and in my experience of ministry over the last twenty years.
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