So, after yesterday’s epic post on the Clobber versus used to teach against homosexuality, I wanted to end the week by pointing to some resources which give us positive teaching, verses we can use to celebrate diversity and difference, break the shackles of old covenant teaching (if we believe homosexual behaviour is prohibited under this) and become free to move towards the full acceptance and embrace of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, whatever their sexual orientation or gender expression. Again, I’m scratching the surface of the wealth of information out there, and choosing what has meant the most to me. Feel free to explore what appeals to you the most.
One of the most impactful testimonies for me was Vicky Beeching’s testimony ‘Undivided‘, a sometimes harrowing tale of her journey from popular Worship Leader and Songwriter travelling all over America, to losing it all overnight when finally coming out as gay, having known it all her life. Beeching has put up with so much abuse, vitriol and criminal abuse for having shared her story it is shameful. Yet I applaud and thank her for sharing it, because it is vital we hear it. I encourage anyone who wants to read more following my post yesterday to start there.
In it, Beeching talks about Peter’s vision in Acts 10, when, faced with a conflict over a non-Jew wishing to become a follower of Christ, “He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.” (Acts 10:11-16, NIV). Beeching, and others, have used this text to argue that where God has called people clean, who is anyone else to judge them as otherwise, and where gay people are called to ministry, demonstrating the fruits of the spirit, living lives of demonstrable Christian witness, living authentic relationships with Christ at the centre, no-one has any right to call them unclean, or sinful. Just as I have no right to call my husband sinful because he is sitting next to me wearing clothes made of mixed materials (Leviticus 19:19) or because we make love whatever time of the month it may be (Leviticus 19:19).
What does Jesus say about the issue? Well, that would be… nothing. At all. However if I was to give you his words on love, acceptance, supporting the marginalised, caring for the oppressed, breaking down barriers, loving those others do not love, breaking social conventions and rewriting the laws in the spirit of God’s community, you’d be reading this blog for a month. I think it’s safe to say Jesus was on the side of the LGBTQ+ community, and if anyone would like to challenge me on that I will happily do a blog on this alone another day.
For further voices around LGBTQ+ acceptance, I would highly recommend ‘The Book of Queer Prophets‘ curated by Ruth Hunt, and incredible compilation of stories and essays from those with lived experience of being faithfully LGBTQ+. Twitter is a treasure trove of amazing queer folk and allies, speaking out and supporting each other, it has been an absolute honour and a joy to find them all. There are too many to name check so if you would like to follow up, do go to my Twitter, @DeChurching and view my Following list, you will find many of the key voices there.
There is so much out there, from many aspects of the argument and for many it is such an emotive issues. I am so glad to say I have made my decision and I am at peace with it, I celebrate it and I rejoice in the renewed freedom of spirit it has brought me, my relationships with others and God. However, I will keep reading, keep learning, keep trying to connect with all wherever they are on the journey, and I so hope and pray these blogs help you, wherever you are.
Peace be with you.