Author Archive

reply to “missed class”

Wes has posted our new schedule in the “Comments” section with a link you can just click on to view it.  Hope that helps.

Questions from Session 1

Here is a summary of the questions we posed to ourselves in our first session.  Please keep these questions alive as we read and listen:

Why is it so hard to be honest and open about these things?

Why does it seem to be such a big deal (why is it all people seem to want to talk about)?

What is the church’s response to homosexual actions?

Are you born that way (is it genetic)?

What happens to those unrepentant of their homosexual activities?

How can we as Christians approach people in the G/L/B/T community in conversation?

Why are we so prone to single out this particular sin?

Could we (or how might we) as a church welcome them (could/would they feel welcome here?)?

What are we as heterosexuals afraid of?

Is there any room here for a gray area?

Could we explore the complexity of human sexuality (there is more than just homosexuality and heterosexuality)?

How can we be on the compassionate side/act against hate?

What does living in the tension look like?

Why are we so continually bombarded by our society and the secular media (Hollywood) on this issue?

How does God want me to address this?

Why is our approach to the gospel always centered on who goes to heaven and who to hell, and not so much on Kingdom life and living under the lordship of Jesus Christ?

Have we pushed away our gay/lesbian brothers and sisters?  Is there a way to reclaim them?

Blessings,

Curt

Categories: Resource

Class Schedule

Date Topic Video Read   in Preparation
Jan 9 Intro/Orientation None None
Jan 16 Basic Attitudes, Prejudices 1 “Love Is Our Orientation” Foreward; Ch. 1 “We Don’t Need Your   God”
Jan 23 Getting to Know the G/L/B/T Community Real People:

Jon

Jessica

Ch. 2 “We Are Not Your Project”; Ch. 3   “Stigma, Shame, Politics”
Jan 30 Theological Questions 3 “Theology of Bridge Builders” Ch. 4 “Gay vs. Christian and Gay   Christians”
Feb 6 Reaching Out Real People:

Richard

Darren

Ch. 5 “Who Are We Looking to for   Validation?”; Ch. 6 “Reclaiming the Word Love”
Feb 13 Ash Wednesday No class None
Feb 20 Elevating the Conversation I 4 “Answering Tough Questions”;

Karen

Ch. 7 “The Big 5: Principles for a More   Constructive Conversation”
Feb 27 Elevating the Conversation II 2 “Building Bridges”

 

Ch. 8 “Laying the Foundation”
Mar 6 Building Bridges 5 “Adolescents and Sexuality”;

Eric

Ch. 9 “Building a Bridge”; Ch. 10   “Crossing a Bridge”
Mar 13 Living in the Tension 6 “Living in the Tension” Conclusion; Appendix

 

Categories: Resource

Some definitions:

Sex vs. Gender – sex refers to biologic anatomical difference; gender refers to what society or the individual perceives as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ in terms of attitudes, feelings, and behaviors.

Sexual orientation – refers to which sex or gender a person is attracted to:

–          Heterosexual – to the opposite sex

–          Homosexual – to the same sex

–          Bisexual – to either or both-

Homosexual as adjective vs. noun – gays tend to be offended when you refer to them as ‘homosexuals,’ largely because of the baggage that term carries.  It is OK to refer to ‘homosexuality’ as a condition, or to use ‘homosexual’ as an adjective (as in “homosexual behavior”), but it is usually safer to use the terms ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian,’ or to use terms such as ‘same-sex attraction’ or ‘same-sex behavior.’

–          Same-sex attraction – attracted to the same sex

–          same-sex behavior – acting on that attraction sexually

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

–          offensive to gays

–          as we’ll see, ‘the sin’ of how they express their sexuality is their identity, so you cannot separate the ‘sin’ from the ‘sinner.’

Gay – refers to either gay men or gay women

–          Lesbian – refers only to gay women

Transgender

–          refers to gender identity, identifying with the gender that is not congruent with one’s biologic sex

–          cross-dresser or ‘transvestite’ – desires to dress as opposite gender (usually refers to man dressing as woman)

–          transsexual – one who feels trapped in the body of the wrong sex

  • these are the ones who sometimes undergo sex-change operations.

Queer – can refer to a whole constellation of conditions and expressions, but a term (somewhat like ‘nigger’) that is only acceptable when used by those within the G/L/B/T/Q community.

Categories: Resource

Group Guidelines

As we prepare to begin, I thought we might all agree to some group guidelines.

Above all, in this class we’re trying to create a safe place for everyone, regardless of opinion or orientation, to explore their questions and to reflect deeply on how to be the Church to all of our brothers and sisters.  So we ask each class member to covenant to observe the following guidelines as we struggle together:

–          I will do my best to:

  • Be punctual.
  • Be faithful in reading the material.
  • Pray about what I’m reading.
  • Come to class whether I’ve read the material or not.
  • Listen to the Holy Spirit both in class and outside of class.

–          I will expect to be:

  • Challenged
  • Surprised
  • Convicted
  • Reassured
  • Affirmed as a person
  • Transformed
  • Inspired
  • Filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

–          I will let these fruits be apparent in all of my exchanges with others, in and out of class, and on the website.

–          I will honor the work of the Holy Spirit in others, especially when they disagree with me.

–          I will not engage in personal attacks, according each person dignity and respect.

–          I will not gossip.

–          I will seek and freely dispense forgiveness.

Categories: Resource

Welcome to the Class from Curt

I’m really excited about this class, but a little fearful, too.  I’m hoping it will be a safe place for us all to explore and wonder about these issues of same-sex attraction that have been tearing our denomination apart for so long.  Last summer I complained to my wife, Jan, that it seemed that no one was willing to live in the tension until we could all figure it out.  I kept thinking of Gamaliel in Acts 5, who when confronted with Peter and the other apostles making trouble in Jerusalem, advised the elders in the Sanhedrin to leave them alone, because “if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them– in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”  I don’t think any of us clearly knows God’s will in these matters, but each side wants to declare an answer and be done with it.  No one seems to be willing to live with the question as long as it takes to truly discern God’s will.  So Jan poked around on the internet and found The Marin Foundation, dedicated to living in the tension, and meantime, elevating the conversation between the G/L/B/T community and evangelical Christianity.  Their materials are designed to inform both sides of the other’s position and concerns, and get them talking to each other.

So I’m hoping this class will do that.  Admittedly, most everyone from our church is likely already aligned with the conservative Christian viewpoint, but in the materials we’ll hear from the other side, too – so expect to be challenged, and maybe convicted.  My goal is not so much to impart information or to have us, either individually or corporately, reach a position on these matters, as much as it is to just immerse ourselves (even vicariously through his materials), as Andrew Marin has done, in a different culture and open our hearts and minds to taking a fresh look at things, maybe to have our hearts changed and become inspired to be the true Body of Christ to our hurting G/L/B/T brothers and sisters.  We’ll certainly talk about whether or not their same-sex sexual behavior is sinful or not, whether they should marry, and whether practicing gays should be ordained, but my primarily goal is not to reach conclusions on these issues, but to just wonder together about them for a while, and try to discern how we are called to love people with same-sex attraction in the name of Jesus Christ.

So if you want to engage in a peaceful and collegial exploration of these issues, please join us.  Meanwhile, if you’d like to start getting up to speed on the positions of both camps, I recommend you log onto http://gaychristian.net.  On their homepage, in a box on the right of the screen, you’ll see a link called “The Great Debate.”  If you click on that, you’ll be led to two essays, one by Justin, the other by Ron.  Justin takes defends the position that the Scriptural prohibitions against same-sex behavior is not talking about committed monogamous relationships as we have today.  Ron’s position is that Scripture prohibits all same-sex behavior, so he has chosen celibacy.  Both Justin and Ron are gay Christians.  Their essays are each well-researched and deeply reflective.  They are fairly long, but contain a lot of information and would be good place to get a quick summary.

FPC Edmond
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