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The Affirming Church

25 Feb

Yesterday, we asked what a traditionalist church should look like in terms of LGBT folks. Today, I want to look at what affirming churches can and should look like. To summarize the affirming position:

In the affirming church, GLBT people are welcomed and celebrated as full members of the congregation. Options for gay and lesbians include marriage and committed long-term relationships.

So what does this look like? (Again, regardless of your theological position).

What specialized ministries and programs (if any) need to exist to help support GLBT folks?

How does a church create a healthy environment for dating, marriage, etc?  Is pre-marital counseling the same or different than for heterosexual couples?

How do we handle break-ups? Divorce?

What other considerations and issues are there?

OK… looking forward to hearing your thoughts…

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1 Comment

Posted by on February 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

One response to “The Affirming Church

  1. Nancy

    February 25, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    <p>It?s funny Bryan and Larainne should make those comments about ?everybody? and no ?them, us? because that?s what I was thinking about on my way into work today. I think I misspoke yesterday. I don?t think it?s homophobia I see in affirming churches, it?s affinity groups based on what I call ?false-identity-ism.? </p><p>False-identity-ism = defining myself and/or others by my external social markers</p><p>A friend from AWAB (Assoc of welcoming and affirming Baptists) said ?The number is 20%. When you get more than 20% gay members, the straight members leave.? It?s the same thing with race, gender, and other identity markers. Some people say there?s nothing wrong with wanting to be with people like yourself, but it really bugs me. </p><p>When I look out at my congregation on Sunday morning (first, my heart swells with love for these people so eager to hear God?s word and do it!) I don?t see gay and straight and black and white and brown and rich and poor. I vaguely note those things, but I see immortal souls. I see people God loves in various stages of sanctification.</p><p>God said to Samuel, ?Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the HEART.? Paul said, ?IN CHRIST there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, no male or female; for all of us are one in Christ.? That?s how I try to see people and wish we would all see each other.</p><p>Allison, totally agree there are virtually no resources/preaching to guide singles in my previous affirming churches. There is good counseling but maybe not well-advertised. That?s why I started this church ? we need a 4th option (1. Mainline Prot, 2. RC/Orthodox, 3. Evang/Pentecostal). I call it Quadrant IV but I hope somebody thinks of a better name for it.</p><p>Ben, totally agree about the need for mentors. I think most affirming churches have lots of healthy married role models but not so much for the dating scene or voluntary celibacy. Let?s face it, big cities have more resources than little ones.</p>

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