Pride Month - Starting the Conversation


The month of June is celebrated as Pride Month by LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) folk and allies.

Anyone who has followed me over the past several years will know that it is no secret that I have become fully-affirming of LGBTQ+ folk and relationships. This affirmation has raised many concerns from my more conservative friends, family and colleagues. I am pleased to say that I am on more prayer lists than I can count because of my beliefs on this topic!

I have decided that for this Pride Month, I am going to spend some time earnestly discerning and presenting my beliefs with regards to gender and sexuality.

I am not doing this to start arguments or to convince others to agree with me. I am blessed to be a part of a church that encourages challenging conversations to take place. The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (of which I am an ordained minister) has acknowledged that our denomination consists of people (both clergy and lay) with widely divergent beliefs on the topic of same-sex relationships. In light of this, we have committed to being a church that focuses more on what unites us than what divides us and to find ways where each member can continue to practice their faith and ministry according to their personal convictions.

I am quite happy for people to disagree with my beliefs and to hold their own strong convictions. The only time I am willing to put my foot down and enter a debate is when someone’s expression of their beliefs is causing harm, exclusion or oppression of God’s beautiful creation - all of humanity included.

Almost all of the vitriol that I have received about my affirming position have come from fellow Christians and so they will be my primary intended audience during this month. However, I hope that this can be an informative journey for any who would like to join. Perhaps you have felt God’s Spirit leading you to becoming more inclusive and accepting, but you have struggled to reconcile these feelings with the teachings you were given about homosexuality from your elders or churches in the past. I believe these reflections will be beneficial for you as I found myself in a similar position a few years ago. Above all, I particularly hope that those LGBTQ+ folk who are following along (whether Christian or not; whether out of the closet or not) will feel heard, loved and affirmed.

Throughout the month of June, I will be posting articles that share my journey towards becoming a Christian and a Minister who is fully affirming (more on this terminology in one of the upcoming articles).

Some of these articles will include my personal stories and reflections. Others will be based on some of the perceptions that people have of LGBTQ+ people and some of the catch-phrases that Christians use to disregard this particular group, such as Love the sinner, hate the sin and The Bible says Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. The rest of the articles will focus on the few passages (six) in the Christian bible that seem to address homosexuality specifically and what I have learnt about these passages from my extensive studies and research. These texts have come to be known as clobber passages because of the way they have been used to clobber LGBTQ+ folk in the past, but you might be surprised by what you learn about them when you really dig into the texts themselves.

I will be posting two articles a week with a few more in the first week as we start the conversation and learn some helpful terminology.

I need to state unequivocally that I am deeply in love with God and the bible. My reflections will not be about disproving anyone’s faith or Scripture’s authority. In my years of deep study of theology and reverence of God and the bible, I have come to the conclusion that LGBTQ+ people are deeply loved by God and their diversity is a gift to the world (and the Church) and should be celebrated!

I pray that you would have grace and patience to read these articles with an open mind and a gracious heart. My intention is not to change your personal convictions, but I hope that we can learn more about those with whom we disagree; that we can discover more that unites us than divides us; and that we can start to see all of God’s creatures as worthy of love and care, regardless of our individual beliefs.

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