Today I had a really refreshing conversation with someone about homosexuality, Christianity and the church. It was honest, respectful, honest and authentic — a rarity when dealing with this topic.
Our conversation was over a good breakfast. He is a youth pastor at a local church and is discussing the issue with the Senior High Youth Group and as part of his preparation he was talking to different people looking for different perspectives. We don’t know each other well (prior to today the extent of our conversations were limited to “hello!” He knows my story mostly from this blog and he invited me to talk to him. I have been to worship at his church a few times and have developed a real respect for him.
Our conversation was broad and really good. This guy comes from a pretty conservative (traditional) church. So we certainly don’t agree on everything when it comes to this issue. But the conversation was always respectful, honest, grace-filled and Christ-centered.
One of the cool things is we were able to talk about how a church — even a more conservative one — can create safe spaces for people to talk about, discuss and process their own sexuality within the context of a faith community. And part of that is authentically creating a safe space for people who may come to different conclusions than you do.
To me, one of the great challenges for the church today is to create a place where no one needs (or feels like they need) to hide. Specifically, with this issue, churches need to work hard to be places where people can say “I am gay and I am trying to figure out what that means for me as a follower of Jesus” or as seeker, etc etc.
We are a long way off from seeing that happen… but these kinds of healthy conversations and relationships are the foundation that will lead all of us in the right direction.
QUESTION: What can YOU do to raise the level of the discussion? And what can YOUR CHURCH do to help raise the level of discussion AND create the kind of safe spaces that are so necessary for healthy community?