Communication through differences

Discussing new perspectives on LGBT Christians.

amazon.com
Back to Article
Back to Article

Communication through differences

amazon.com

amazon.com

amazon.com

amazon.com

Angelene Wong, Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






In light of Biola’s recent “How Do We Love” event, members within the Biola community, including student organizations such as BQU and NakID, focused on Rev. David P. Gushee recent publication of his affirmation of same-sex relationships. Gushee currently holds positions as the distinguished professor of Christian ethics and director of the Center of Theology and Public Life at Mercer University. Gushee was also invited as a three-time guest speaker at Biola University.

He recently published a book regarding his conviction on Oct. 23, titled “Changing Our Mind: A call from America’s leading evangelical ethics scholar for full acceptance of LGBT Christians in the Church.”

“I don’t think that Biola, or most evangelical colleges, are going to change their standpoint on whether same-sex behavior is biblically warranted, but I do think we’ve got a ways to go in thinking about the pastoral care of gays and lesbians,” said Matt Jenson, Associate Professor of Theology with the Torrey Honors Institute.

Dr. Jenson, who introduced Biola’s Statement of Human Sexuality at the “How Do We Love” event, commends Gushee for his passionate stance.

“Though I don’t share his conviction, I think it’s right that if you change your mind on something and are fully convinced, and it’s an issue that has a lot of purchase on people’s experiences, then you should really be advocating hard,” said Jenson.

THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH

Aside from his recently released book, Gushee expressed his conviction in his Nov. 4 publication in The Washington Post. In the editorial, he proclaims his solidarity with the LGBT community, articulating that experiencing his lesbian sister’s mental and physical struggle with her sexuality within the church allowed him to fully come to terms with his belief regarding biblical interpretation of homosexual relationships.

“Loving this particular five percent of the population in exactly the same way that Christians are called to love everyone … means offering full acceptance of LGBT people, ending religion-based harm and contempt, helping families accept the sexual orientation of their own children and helping churches be a safe and welcoming place for every one of God’s children,” wrote Gushee in his Washington Post editorial.

Although Gushee and Jenson hold differing viewpoints on the subject, Jenson agrees that the church can be a place of much more significance: safety, and love, and compassion, and support, and forgiveness and wisdom, than it has been.

“I hope that the church can be a place where it’s more and more safe to talk about sexuality issues without shame as a part of a particular person’s discipleship,” Jenson said. “Even if the church doesn’t condone certain actions, we can be radically different in how we support people in their ongoing walk with Jesus.”

Casey McCann, a senior Humanities major and representative of the Biola Queer Underground, agrees that healthy conversation within the church regarding opposing perspectives about homosexuality is necessary.

“Learning to think well about things can bring us back together,” McCann notes. “I hope the church is moving towards openness and charity and conversation rather than division.”

THE LOVE OF CHRIST

McCann defended Gushee’s position, saying that affirming homosexual relationships does not mean they are not Christian, but rather that they just disagree.

“LGBT Christians have additional obstacles to overcome within non-affirming environments,” said McCann. “There is hope, community and resources … places to be supported and sit with people who understand and have felt the turmoil of of the church.”

Even though McCann and Jenson disagree on the biblical interpretation of homosexual relationships and behavior, both believe a focus on honest discipleship crucial to conversations about the LGBT community and the church.

“If I’m trying to get into this conversation assuming I know what’s in your heart or … compromising on Jesus’ radical love … then I’m just being sub-Christian,” Jenson said. “That’s for everyone — whether it’s the gay or lesbian student … whether it’s the straight student who’s sympathetic or not sympathetic, whether it’s the professor or academic, whatever, it’s all of us.”

In light of Gushee’s newly public support of the LGBT community, Jenson desires to remind the Biola community to focus on Jesus and His calling to radical discipleship and love, despite differing opinions.

“Jesus loves people radically and unconditionally. Christians can never sacrifice that. He just does. There’s no ifs, ands, buts, asterisks — He just does. We just need to keep thinking and praying. The prayer needs to not be, ‘Lord, get people to think how I think,’ but ‘Father, bring us to a love for one another that we don’t have right now, and lead us to the truth,’” Jenson said.