I’ve just finished reading Jeff Chu’s new book Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America, and I highly recommend it. Besides being well-written and engaging (I could hardly put it down), it’s also very illuminating. The book is a balanced, fair-minded collection of snapshots of virtually every corner of the (Protestant) Christian discussion of LGBTQ matters. If someone wanted to get a sense for how American Protestants treat their gay and lesbian neighbors, this is the book I would give them first. It covers Westboro Baptist, The Episcopal Church, and everything in between.
Archive for the ‘faith’ Category
Many of you have thought much more deeply and carefully about sexual orientation change efforts than I have, and none of what I say here is meant to minimize the complexity of that discussion. But I just wanted to note that my understanding of the character of hope leads me to approach that discussion from a particular angle.
[H]ope… [is] a state of mind, not of the world. Either we have hope within us or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul, and it’s not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation…. Hope is not prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons…. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more unpropitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper the hope is. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
Over at Christianity Today, Allison Althoff has a story about the growing attention to LGBT issues on evangelical Christian college campuses:
Same-sex attracted students at several Christian institutions have attempted to start on-campus organizations with varying degrees of success. Seattle Pacific University’s Haven is an “unofficial club” organized by students. It hosts weekly meetings on campus to encourage honest conversations about sexuality while holding to the school’s “Lifestyle Expectations” regarding sex outside of heterosexual marriage.
“Haven is recognized by the university administration, but not as a recognized student club through the student government system,” vice president of student life Jeff Jordan said.
In the Pauline Epistles class I teach, we talked today about the “overlap of the ages” that Paul portrays in his depiction of the redemption of the world in Jesus Christ. Believers exist in a present age that is “evil” (Galatians 1:4) and marked by sin and death (Romans 5:12-21), but in the death and resurrection of Jesus the “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) has dawned and now exists as an incursion of the future into the present. The light of the new creation’s dawn is diffused into the fog of this present age (2 Corinthians 4:4) in such a way that we have real hope that the light will one day burn the fog away completely. Nonetheless, that day is not yet. And so we groan, eagerly awaiting the consummation of the redemption that has been inaugurated (Romans 8:23). The light has come, but not yet in its fullest glory.
Pepperdine University is a Christian school affiliated with the Churches of Christ. Like other Church of Christ schools, Pepperdine embraces the traditional view that sexual intimacy is only appropriate within marriage between a man and a woman.
The following chapel talk invites students to talk about gay issues with honesty and integrity:
Christians like conversion stories.
The plot of a conversion story usually goes something like this: we hear various bits of pre-conversion debauchery—and the better conversion stories usually include some juicy violations of the Sixth Commandment (or Seventh Commandment, for those who follow the Philonic, rather than the Augustinian numbering of the Ten Commandments).
As a result of these sins, the potential convert encounters a crisis: