Gay Christian Network Conference- Interview.

Last week in America they had the Gay Christian conference. Being in the UK I was unable to attend, but these topics are important globally. Still today, people are harming themselves and committing suicide because of the lack of acceptance (or perceived acceptance) that can still be very apparent within the Christian community.
A friend of mine, however, was able to attend and honoured me with an interview.

Ann Townsend of Hands Across the Pond (http://www.handsacrossthepond.com)
Author of LGBTQ: Outing My Christianity (http://www.lgbtqoutingmychristianity.com)

I would seriously recommend checking out her book. She is an amazing advocate of LGBTQ issues. It is also worth checking out her twitter @wouldbealex.

What was it that made you decide to go to the conference?

I think, if someone is really spiritual and believes in miracles, they might get what has been going on with me since August 14, 2014, the day after the article about Vicky Beeching came out in The Independent, the same day I read on Autostraddle a recounting of the article in The Independent. I had never heard of her, but she was a theologian, someone with a deep background in theological thought, someone who was saying we could be both gay and Christian. I was both, but I had never talked about my Christianity when with my LGBT community, because it’s not something most of them can understand because of anger and deep scars.

Initially, back in August when I signed up for the Gay Christian Network Conference, it was to go support Vicky Beeching. As time passed, it was about supporting the gay Christian community and finding a way to talk to people about my concerns about LGBT youth and young adult suicide and self-harm. I looked at our community and our rainbow family and felt very strongly that I needed to talk to people and get us to look at our roles in the lives of our young. From the time that I arrived at the conference, from my first conversation with Justin Lee, the Director of GCN, these were the topics of my discussions.

We adults who have made it through our teens and our twenties have a responsibility. We need to act like the rainbow family we claim to be. We need to take up the responsibility of being role models for our children. We need to be available to our young and share our stories. That was my message. The most amazing thing happened. From day one, that was Justin Lee’s message also.

What was the atmosphere like when you arrived?
What were the kinds of things addressed within the conference?

The first day I arrived was Wednesday. I had arrived early enough that the hotel staff mistook me for a GCN staff member. I spent some time collecting myself and getting my room organized, then I went downstairs and ended up chatting with a woman who was the mother of a gay man. She was going to be working with parents of LGBT, participating in activities to support parents but also coordinating an official parent hug room. All of the attendees that wanted to talk to parents that cared about them and loved them for being who they were could go into this hug room and get hugs, love, and acceptance from parents.

Apparently, God’s message was already in the works before I got there. The next day, I walked in and there was Justin Lee, watching, making sure check-ins were going OK. I prayed and let God walk me to him and started talking to him about my concerns about our children. I talked to him about our community needing to act like the rainbow family we claim to be. I talked to him about sharing our stories, working with people to strengthen the mesh of our efforts, where ever we overlapped, about getting our stories out en masse so that we were sharing our stories of survival and love with as many people as possible. He apparently agreed. That day he said the same thing to the entire gathering. It was amazing.

In as much as there was a peace there that I had never encountered, there was a positive tension of energy throughout the conference. The peace was from being with so many loving human beings, who were all LGBT or allies, who all were there for the glory of God and to re-energize their spiritual cups and reconnect with peace and love. The energy was the sense of purpose that we were all called to by Justin Lee. Every speaker after him, including Vicky Beeching, said the same thing, “we are all role models and have a responsibility”, “our stories are important”, and “be brave”, It was very powerful and strengthening.

Was there anybody particular that you were really looking forward to listening to?
Were there any other speakers that stood out for you?

I, of course, was looking forward to hearing Vicky Beeching speak, but I had also looked into and read up on Jeff Chu and Daniel Cortez. Jeff Chu is a gay theologian. Daniel Cortez is a straight pastor and father of a gay man. They had both spoke at the Reformation Project Conference in Washington D.C. in November. For that matter, many of the attendees had attended that conference also. I imagined that they couldn’t just keep using the same speech over and over. Jeff Chu’s story is one of his experience and it was filled with cultural overtones specific to his Asian decent and centered on the theme of the conference, “At the Table”. I had spent years in Hawaii and learned a lot about Japanese and Chinese cultures while there. It is very different to live on the periphery of those heritages and cultures compared to living in them. There was a lot to be learned from Jeff Chu’s experience.

On day three I heard that westboro came to picket there. How did the atmosphere change?

On Friday, the day before the protestors were scheduled to be there, Justin Lee spoke to all of us. He explained what was going to happen and that there would be a Wall of Love made up of people from around the Portland area. He asked any of us attendees who were willing to act as escorts for other attendees to show up the next morning at 7:30 AM. I did. I don’t know how everyone else felt, but I felt defiant. I felt protective. I felt ready to peacefully die for my fellow Christians. That is as close to describing my own perspective as I can get.

You mentioned a Wall of Love?

Early the next morning, upon arriving, the Portland Police Department were already on the scene. They had two patrol cars and four officers. A little while later, the people of Portland who had dedicated themselves to The Wall of Love started arriving. The headlines read “Christians Protecting Christians from Christians”. That’s a good headline, but everyone should know that the folks that turned up were a variety of faiths. While I was waiting to be sent outside with the other escort attendees, a woman came up to me and asked questions about the conference and about us as a people. She was Jewish. Her son is gay. Her ex-husband is a conservative Christian who does not interact with his son anymore because of his son’s identity.

I tell you, the people of Portland who took up the banner to support us were absolutely wonderful. In some senses, the whole thing was raucous. In others, it was bolstering. I don’t think a single attendee asked for an escort. The Wall consisted of 50-60 non-attendees and even more attendees. We took up the side of the block and then some. There were so few protestors that they ended up nearly encircled, surrounded by love and happiness. They were so very insignificant in number and message that it was truly amusing.

What was it like walking through the Wall of Love?

I had been outside in the rain for about an hour. I had had a lot of coffee, if you get my meaning, so I had to go back inside. I didn’t think very much of it as I started down through The Wall, because I was part of the escort group. I was tweeting the whole time, trying to get the best shot of that amazing, actual rainbow that was over Portland and the convention center. As I neared the end of The Wall, I had several people call to me from both sides of the Wall. “God Bless you!” “We love you!” “You are God’s creation!” I blinked and looked up from my tweeting and disassociation and looked around at all of the people sweetly yelling at me. I knew all of that. But it gave me pause to have it yelled at me. It put a perspective on things that I had not previously been able to voice concisely.

It’s kind of like when Vicky Beeching came out. I knew God loved me. I knew God had been using me *as a lesbian* in other people’s lives. I knew that I was God’s and He was my creator and that I was loved by Him. I still blinked. I still stopped and took in my surroundings. I still looked at all of the people looking at me with absolute love and kindness in their eyes. I wasn’t the only one who knew what I knew. That’s what’s important about Vicky Beeching’s coming out. That’s what’s important about the people that came for The Wall of Love. That’s what is important about the attendees of the Gay Christian Network Conference. I am not the only one who knows. I am not alone.

Surely this must show how far churches have come in recent years, does it give you hope for the future?

I think there is still a lot of work ahead of us to be done. It takes some work to get to the quiet love of the churches that aren’t being noisy extremists filled with hate, but there is more love than hate in the American Churches. I think the pastors, deacons, and reverends, etc. who are walking with us are out there, but the loud ones cover their voices of love and support. Those quiet ones need to decide what will set the narrative between the churches and the LGBT community. If they don’t make some noise it’s the noisy haters that have set that narrative.

I spoke to a lot of people at the conference about the Church of England and what the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is doing for women and the LGBT. Most people to whom I spoke didn’t know about what was going on and did not understand the significance of Archbishop Welby’s work. The Church of England is the corner stone of the Anglican Communion. We would not have protestant churches if it were not for the Church of England, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. For America, Freedom of Religion is partially due to people not wanting to be protestant or not wanting to be Roman Catholic. Also, though, whereas Americans may be very thankful that we do not have a state church, we would not have the Episcopal Church or many of the other protestant denominations if it were not for England’s King Henry creating the Church of England. There’s a lot of literal history that needs to go out and be understood by our generation of Christians.

I know that Vicky Beeching did amazingly in her talk! How did she address the current issues within the church?

Vicky Beeching’s talk was centered around the first telling in America of her story of survival and coming out as a Christian lesbian. She has done interviews that many of us had read. She had started talking about Equality in Marriage in November, 2013. She had not previously talked about her coming out in America. She called to all of the listeners to be brave and tell their story in any way they could, art, photography, poetry, writing, however they were most comfortable, because we have a responsibility to tell people who we are and how we have survived.

What she did say about the Church echoed what Justin Lee had said. We have to be able and willing to sit in the tension and be uncomfortable. We have to be willing to come to the table with people with whom we have disagreements. We have to be willing to have that conversation, no matter how disquieting it might be. Without discourse, there is no sharing of perspectives, knowledge, and history.

Overall what was the main message you took away, that you’d love for others to hear?

Justin Lee’s message was the most powerful. Even within our own community there are disagreements that need to be discussed, and in some cases, accepted, agreeing to disagree. We will not all agree about all things. We have to be willing, though, to have the discussions that emphasize the things on which we do agree. Where we overlap, we must unite, so that we are that much stronger in those areas of overlap, so our voices are that much louder.

The newcomers’ workshop defined some new terms for me and others, including the ideas of “Side A” and “Side B”. Side A folks believe in committed relationships and that a relationship is made whole with sexual acts of love. Side B believe that God loves us, but that celibacy is the only way to stay in God’s good graces. There was some decent amongst us as to which was best. Side A attendees were mad at Side B for “preaching” that Side A folks were sinning. Side B attendees were mad at Side A folks for judging them for being celibate.

If we are asking non-LGBT Christians and people at large not to judge us for being LGBT, then we can not be hypocrites and judge one another for our differing beliefs. Whatever our individual beliefs, we have to be able to live with ourselves. We have to be able to live in our skin. We have to be able to accept ourselves. If that means being celibate for some, then that is their way of surviving eternity. If it means for others that they are in a committed relationship blessed by God, then there it is. Whatever our beliefs are, that is our belief. We cannot judge one another for differing beliefs.

There was little discussion about bisexuality. In the community, though, there is a bit. Some LGT folks judge bisexuals as not being able to make up their minds or living in both worlds and not being willing or able to accept their other sexuality. This does not make sense to me for several reasons.

We are trying to tell kids that they are OK and they are awesome, however they identify themselves. Then, some of us turn around to people who are adults and say that they are not OK as they are and they are somehow not accepting their true identity. This is wrong.

If it is possible for us to be genetically predisposed to one sexuality or the other, how is it not possible for us to be predisposed to both sexualities? If one is possible and the other is possible and being born into the skin of one gender, but feeling the other gender, then it is possible to feel sexual attraction for both genders. If it is possible for someone to love a transgender person, it is possible for someone to be pansexual, loving whoever they love, male, female, presenting or not presenting, identifying or not identifying. Based on the science of biology and genetics, if one is possible, then all is possible.

At the conference, I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people. One woman said she had decided she was bisexual, even though, previously, she had considered herself asexual and then “Shelby-sexual”. She had never really been attracted to anyone until she met her now fiance, Shelby. Shelby is a lesbian, so she thought, “I guess I’m a lesbian.” Then, during the conference, she considered her thoughts about the attractiveness of men. So, maybe, she was a bisexual.

The Q as the Questioning in LGBTQ means that they are not sure.
I say to everyone, whatever you are, even if you are confused and don’t know what you are, is OK. Do not feel a necessity to put yourself in a box or to label yourself. If you are a straight woman and intensely love a lesbian, that does not make you a lesbian, so do not fear loving that person that is a lesbian. If you are a lesbian and find men attractive, so be it. The difference is in whether you are capable of considering yourself having a sexual relationship with that other person.

I find Vin Diesel attractive as a human being and a man. I’m not a fan of his acting, but dang can he drive a car, and he has a beautiful heart, and his parents are beautiful educators. I do not want to sleep with him, though.

I have made a few new transgender acquaintances. One is a beautiful transgender woman, called by God. I do not want to have a sexual relationship with her, though. Is it because I’m prejudiced? I don’t know, but I love her as a person. I appreciate her identity and what she stands for and her mission. Then again, if I met a transgender woman and she bowled me over, I guess it could happen. I just haven’t met my person yet.

If anybody would like to know more about these issues, please feel free to get in touch. Would love to hear from you and may be able to point you in the right direction.
You can find Ann’s book on amazon.

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The beauty of the church

I walk into the church. I see a sea of faces all chatting and welcoming one another. I see the lady who has just lost a family member being embraced and children running around excitedly before they head off to their Sunday club.
The noise is loud. But it’s not hostile in any way.
I see new comers being welcomed in and introduced to people so they don’t feel alone during the service.
There are the teen-agers in their trainers, all looking as enthusiastic as the adults around them, happy to see their friends who perhaps they’ve missed in the week.

The service is about to begin. The atmosphere is tangible with expectation and when we all stand to sing our praises an incredible sense of peace, power and excitement fills the room. I’m not sure what happens exactly. I heard it described once as heaven invading. As our songs of worship go up, the glory of God comes down. It really can feel that way. I’m sure it’s a taste of what’s to come in heaven! It’s an honour to be able to be in a place we get to experience a slice of it. Isn’t it wonderful? What ever it is, it’s my favourite part of the entire morning!

After a while we all take our seats. Notifications can snap us back out of the zone, but then prayer once again pulls us back. Again the same feeling I described in worship can be felt, but this time less excited. A sense of calm washes over us. I feel focused and ready to listen.
Again the sermons are invaluable. I’ve read the bible almost every day for my entire life, but still every time I listen I see a something written in a new light. It amazes me, after so much study of one book there is still so much to learn!
I’m so grateful for leaders that guide us through that and help to open our eyes.

Confession. I haven’t been to church in a long time. I still go to bible studies, but for over a year now I have barely stepped foot in a church and I miss it. My heart aches for it. Genuinely.
We were designed to be a part of this beauty.

There are a lot of reasons I haven’t been in so long. Despite the areas I feel the church have room for improvement (there is always room for that, we are made of humans and never entirely perfect.) it’s not the reason.
Moving to a new area plays a part, as do having two children who are autistic and struggle there.
But the true reason is, I’ve needed time to process. Spending my whole life in the church has been amazing, but I needed the time to study alone. I needed to work out what I believed and why I believed it, instead of having people tell me.
I needed to search and find who God was to me personally.
I knew some things I felt, were things that I would be in the minority on, and I wasn’t strong enough.

So instead I’ve used the time away for growth. It’s been a phase of transition. A phase of learning. I have a lot of friends to thank that have stuck by me and allowed me to work things through alone. Friends to thank for being there to sound things off and discuss things when I needed too and for giving me the room to breathe.
I’ve learned so much in this time, it’s been a challenge. Answering your own questions, acknowledging those questions that have no answers and figuring out where you fit is not an easy challenge! I’m also grateful for a very patient God, who hasn’t once turned his back.

This blog is, in a way, a final stage of this journey. A way to put a voice to the things I believe, things that I’m so passionate about.

I don’t speak out about things we need to work on within the church because I hate it, I speak out because I love it so much and it hurts my heart that we get things so wrong at times that people miss the beauty. It is beautiful.

One day I truly believe that we can be united. Where sexual orientations no longer isolate. A time that we won’t be divided on the role women have in church. I want to be a part of that change so badly! We will never be perfect, but we are beautiful and all we can ever strive to do is seek the heart of God.

I can’t wait to get back 🙂

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Accepting Evangelicals Conference

Second blog of the day! Please do go look at my previous blog if you haven’t already! It was a poem and it’s exactly what I’m about to write about that inspired it, but I’ll explain that more further down.

If nobody has heard of accepting Evangelicals, they are amazing! I fully recommend taking a look at their website (I will post a link at the end!)
But they are group of evangelical Christians, passionate about accepting everybody, especially those within the LGBT community.
They, in my opinion, bring church back to what it should be. They are about bringing everybody together, so that there is no isolation.
As you can imagine, this was exactly the kind of conference I wanted to be part of. After a week of illness I was so blessed to be able to go!

What I saw there actually blew me away. The passion for God was almost tangible!
The room had such an amazing atmosphere, so full of love and passion!
Every one there together, LGBT and straight allies worshipping together with total freedom to be who they are. Total freedom to be who I am!

Vicky Beeching spoke in interview on stage, and the point she made is that people say that she doesn’t take the bible seriously but actually it’s about taking the bible very seriously! Looking into scripture, looking at context and actually taking time to really think.
She spoke of the hurt, how hard it is to come out as gay within the Christian faith, and about weighing up the cost. But also about the freedom in being able to be who you are.
Honestly an inspiring woman. She speaks simply, but her words are godly and so full of truth.

The next person to do his talk, was Steve Chalk. He is the founder of Oasis who were part of the evangelical alliance until he started to speak out and put across the view that same sex relationships weren’t sinful.
There was so much passion in his words! He spoke dreams and how the world didn’t need dreamers, they needed people with vision! Visions are things that get into every part of your body and make you do something! You need people of vision, to change the things that are hurting the people we are called to serve!

I came away so uplifted! The church has a long long way to go on this one.
Yesterday the Catholic Church wouldn’t agree to the popes proposal. But yet the Pope still opened conversations that so desperately needed to happen.
I’m not catholic, but it doesn’t even matter.
What we need is, regardless of denomination, people with a vision!
We need people who want to see, every single person welcomed with in the church exactly as they are.
We need people that realise, that maybe here we’ve got it wrong.

I fully believe a change is happening right now. I think that eventually the church will be one that’s more inclusive. But yesterday I got a glimpse of what that looks like, and it’s the truest reflection of Jesus I’ve seen in a long time.

We need you. It doesn’t matter how much or little you can do, but do something. I don’t want to wait years for church to look this way and the longer it takes, the more people we lose from the church, the more people we isolate.
If this is going to happen, everyone of us needs to be talking and making people think. Nothing changes through silence.

At the beginning I wrote about the poem I wrote this morning. I wrote it because I wanted to show how as humans we get it wrong over and over but how that’s not of God.
When this battles won, there will be more but that doesn’t mean that we should just stand at the sidelines. God created us all to serve. The time we should have been doing that properly was yesterday. Let’s get it right now.

http://www.acceptingevangelicals.org/

Creation equality.

This ones a bit different to my usual blog posts.
I wrote a poem last night after coming back from an amazing and inspiring conference, which I’ll be posting a blog up about this evening.
But for now I thought I’d share the poem.

When man was created out of the dust and the mud
And woman soon after, Adams rib, Gods love.
And as they stood hand in hand
Man and woman, woman and man.
They were both in Gods image,
He didn’t differentiate.
He loved them the same, there was no hate.

But then sin came in, jealousy, anger.
And as people divided, one side shouted louder.
History through out repeated over and over.

People marginalised, one sided bible interpretation.
Until one voice loud enough, shouts out across the nations.
Martin Luther King, stood up and fought slavery.
A part of the bible, returned to former glory.

God made us unique, we were created to serve.
But yet we keep wounding, lessons go unlearned.
We are told to go out and preach the good news.
But instead we isolate because of one sided views.

We miss the hurt etched on the faces
Of those who love God, yet no one embraces.
We refuse to acknowledge their homosexuality.
Because it doesn’t fit our plan for Christianity.

But when God created woman and man
He didn’t differentiate, he had a plan
He knew their hearts, he created them whole.
He knew exactly the words etched onto their souls

So now what we need is to head back to the start.
Back to creation, back to the heart.
One sided views, one sided theology.
When actually God created equality.

How to respond if someone at your church comes out as gay.

Thought I’d keep this post simple.
Those who have been following my previous blog posts know I am pro LGBT.
I also have repeatedly said in my posts on here to stay loving, which ever side of the argument you are on.
I’ve noticed though that there seems to be controversy about what constitutes being loving.
Some people think, telling people that if they don’t repent of their homosexual thoughts they will end up in hell is being loving.
Some people think that by telling them that they are deceived by the devil and that they need to get him kicked out, they are being loving.

So this is my view on how you should respond.

1. Thank them for their honesty.
I’m not kidding you! If somebody has just taken the step to come out to you, it took guts. They have just put themselves in a vulnerable position. Be honoured they chose you, and thank them for it.

2. Tell them you care about them.
Let them know they are still somebody of value. This isn’t you saying you agree. This is you letting them know that you care. Believe me, they need to hear it!

3. Tell them God loves them.
Because, well, he does. He loves all his children, and it’s good to affirm that to them.

4. Let them know you are available.
Again this still isn’t agreeing. This is acknowledging that they need support. As we all do. If you don’t feel you can be the one to offer it, find somebody who will.

5. Pray with them.
Pray for Gods peace and love in their lives. Pray that God will stay close and that they won’t loose sight of him. Do not pray for God to change them. That can do more damage. If they God does think it’s wrong, then by praying God remains close, their hearts will change anyway. (I firmly believe God doesn’t think this.)

6. If they ask you if you think it’s a sin, be careful.
You don’t have to lie here. You can honestly turn around and say, I know God loves you.
You can honestly say to them that they were fearfully and wonderfully made. You can honestly turn around and say to them that God still has a plan for their lives.
You can honestly say that we are all sinners.
Tell them to seek God first and tell them to let God reveal his heart.

7. Don’t out them.
If you are the first person they have told, let them know they can tell others in their own time. Tell them that you will support them as and when they decide to tell others.

8. Hug them!
At the end of the conversation, hug it out.
You don’t actually have to hug them if hugging isn’t your thing, but any form of touch reaffirms that they are still valued and that you care. Even just a shoulder pat.

9. Talk about something else.
Make sure first that the conversation has ended, but awkward silences are, by definition, awkward. Ask them what they are doing at the weekend or something.

10. Walk away knowing you made a difference!
You may be worrying that it’s come across like you’ve condoned something you don’t, but remember this isn’t about you.
You’ve told told them to seek God, so trust him.
In the mean time you’ve just saved somebody from feeling alone and isolated. They aren’t going to be the next person to leave the church because of a lack of compassion. You have made them feel valued and loved and they have gone away in the knowledge that God still loves them too.

You don’t have to understand, don’t have to agree. Just be the light in their lives when they ask you to be.
Let God do the rest 🙂

Christian network- DirecTV, CVS Pushing Homosexuality in TV Commercials. My take.

So today I read an article about homosexuality from the Christian network.
I’ve long since stopped feeling anger when I read these kind of articles, now I just sigh resignedly and hope to God (quite literally) things will start changing soon.
Today I thought I would break the article down and try to put the other side across as eloquently as I can.

“As the sin of homosexuality becomes more of an accepted behavior in American culture, satellite television”

There is sin in this world. So so much sin. There is murder, there is war, there are people raped. There is greed, there is lust, there is hate, there is pride and I could go on almost endlessly.
I am totally against sin. Of course I’m far from perfect, I don’t even try to pretend to be. I’m no more or less than human.
The problem with the opening sentence, is it leaves no room for interpretation. There is no room for the reader to think for themselves. The article has decided for you.
Yet there are Christian theologists that think otherwise.
This is a Christian issue generally too. Very few try to look anymore outside of the translation of the bible we have today.
We trust others to do our thinking for us, and we are too trusting of the views of others.
Original context is crucial to understanding the bible.

“In a commercial entitled Rivalry, DirecTV uses two men who state that they are “just like any couple” to promote the provider’s NFL Sunday Ticket.”

You know what? Just putting it out there, they are! There isn’t some different formula to a homosexual couples relationship than a heterosexual one. They do the same kind of things, live the same kind of lives, argue over the same things, share private jokes, laugh together, debate on what to have for dinner. Gender doesn’t have to be the defining point for relationship.
Whether or not you agree with it, doesn’t mean the relationship is different in the way it’s conducted.

“In a new television commercial for CVS, now known as CVS Health, homosexuality is featured more subtly with a brief two-second video clip of two men who viewers agree are meant to depict a couple.”

Here I will be honest, all my rational thinking gave way to “grow up!” Regardless of whether you think homosexuality is a sin, if you can’t cope with a brief two second clip of a couple holding hands, how are you going to cope when you see it in the real world?
I know the general point being made is that it’s a subtle attempt to normalise it, but in almost every circumstance outside of religion it’s already normal. It’s much more likely they are trying to depict the world as it is today rather than any subliminal messaging.

“CVS Health also features an article on their official website entitled Gay or Straight: Can You Really Change? written by Sherman M. Fridman, JD. Although the article notes that same-sex attraction is different from actual homosexual behavior, it concludes that “[a]cceptance [of one’s homosexuality] is an important psychological step.””

Almost any psychologist will completely agree with this analogy. There is tons of evidence showing how physiologically damaging conversion therapy can be.
I’m not sure what credentials the author of this article has to state otherwise, but he’d better have some great ones. Saying that people can change their sexuality is actually damaging;

American Academy of Pediatrics (1993)
“Therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.”

American Medical Association (2003)
“Our AMA opposes the use of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy that is based on the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.”

American Psychoanalytic Association (2000)
“Psychoanalytic technique does not encompass purposeful efforts to ‘convert’ or ‘repair’ an individual’s sexual orientation. Such directed efforts are against fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damaging internalized homophobic attitudes.”

American Psychiatric Association (1998)
“The American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as reparative or conversion therapy, which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation.” The APA removed homosexuality from its list of disorders in 1973.

American Psychological Association (1997)
“No scientific evidence exists to support the effectiveness of any of the conversion therapies that try to change sexual orientation.” The association removed homosexuality from its list of disorders in 1975.

National Association of Social Workers (2000)
“People seek mental health services for many reasons. Accordingly, it is fair to assert that lesbians and gay men seek therapy for the same reasons that heterosexual people do. However, the increase in media campaigns, often coupled with coercive messages from family and community members, has created an environment in which lesbians and gay men often are pressured to seek reparative or conversion therapies, which cannot and will not change sexual orientation. Aligned with the American Psychological Association’s (1997) position, NCLGB believes that such treatment potentially can lead to severe emotional damage. Specifically, transformational ministries are fueled by stigmatization of lesbians and gay men, which in turn produces the social climate that pressures some people to seek change in sexual orientation. No data demonstrate that reparative or conversion therapies are effective, and in fact they may be harmful.

Is all that not enough proof? So isn’t then the logical step to accept your sexuality no matter what it is?
Facts not suiting your agenda, doesn’t stop them from being a fact.

The article then goes on to talk about a two people called David and Judith. Both homosexuals who agree it’s not something that you can change. The author obviously disagrees. But I think I covered that enough above.

Finally (and not too soon) the article ends listing companies who support homosexuality.
There is no reason, outside of the bible (and I would even contest that) not to be in favour of two consenting adults falling in love. Regardless of gender. So what reason do these companies have to be against it?

I urge anyone who reads this blog today to think for themselves. Look at the facts and research the biblical arguments for yourselves.

Also remember that just because you may believe in something strongly, everybody else has the right to their own views too.
Be that a big company, or Joe blogs down the road.
The best you can do is live your life in a way you feel pleases god and in a way that blesses those around you.

In summary; think for yourselves, analyse everything, love everybody, and bless the lives of those around you.

The importance of Vicky Beeching coming out.

Not so long ago, it was illegal for two people of the same gender to marry in the UK.
It is now legal and after a fairly big fight from the church to stop that from happening all had gone quiet again on the homosexuality front.
Then along came Vicky Beeching, in her brave interview she once again got everybody talking about it all. Except this time it’s different. There are still plenty opposed, but for the 1st time I’ve seen a lot more people within the church supporting Vicky and calls for theology regarding homosexuality to be looked at again.

There are very few verses in the bible that actually talk about homosexuality.
There is the story of Sodom and Gomorra. But this to me always feels like a bit of a leap to think that homosexuality was the sin.
Instead it is a story about Wicked people who are wanting to rape the guests in Lots home. The story is not pleasant but I think homosexuality was probably not the issue here.

Leviticus mentions it too, along with shellfish and mixed fabrics, but the really exciting thing is that we are freed from old law, that’s what Jesus did when he died. He freed us!

This then brings us to the new testament. This is the part people find hardest to argue. But actually it’s all very simple 🙂

The 1st verse I’m going to show you is the one in Corinthians. I’m going to use Youngs literal translation here so it is as accurate to the original texts as I can make it.

1 Corinthians 6
9 have ye not known that the unrighteous the reign of God shall not inherit? be not led astray; neither whoremongers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor sodomites,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, the reign of God shall inherit.

This is very commonly used, but read it! There is no mention of the word homosexuality. The closest is the word ‘sodomites’ but if you look this word up, you will find different answers depending on where you look. To me the most accurate translation seems to be referring to shrine prostitutes. But look it up and decide for yourself.

1 Timothy 1

8and we have known that the law [is] good, if any one may use it lawfully; 9having known this, that for a righteous man law is not set, but for lawless and insubordinate persons, ungodly and sinners, impious and profane, parricides and matricides, men-slayers, 10whoremongers, sodomites, men-stealers, liars, perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that to sound doctrine is adverse, 11according to the good news of the glory of the blessed God, with which I was entrusted.

I don’t even really feel the need to explain this one except to say that notice the closest word to homosexuality mentioned is again “sodomites.”

Lastly we have Romans 1. on the face of it this seems a little harder to challenge, but in actual fact again it’s a little simple when you properly read it. To get proper context you need to read the entire chapter. I’m not going to type the whole chapter here, although I will urge you to look it up.
The chapter is about worshipping things other than God,

23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of fowls, and of quadrupeds, and of reptiles.

26 Because of this did God give them up to dishonourable affections, for even their females did change the natural use into that against nature;

Again this all fits with the theory of shrine prostitution, something that was very common in the time of Paul.

Finally people are realising all this for themselves. There is a real sense again of realising that things aren’t always as they appear, and most importantly of all, Vicky Beeching has put a human face in to the debate, something that has been previously missing I think.
No matter what your opinion on this is, it’s so important to remember the real people. Jesus was love. Somehow here we’ve failed to bring love into the debate in previous times. This time though, more are listening and as such becoming a little more like Jesus, which after all, is the most important thing.