How can we build bridges of trust with non-gay Christians?
Building bridges is hard work
Rick Brentlinger Answers -
Achieving rapprochment (establishing friendship and trust) with anti-gay Christians can be a frustrating effort. When they refuse to read the clobber passages in context, when they equate our committed partnerships to having sex with animals,
when they spend millions of dollars on referendums to deny us civil rights such as gay marriages,
when they support criminalizing our committed partnerships, its not easy to believe they are Christian and even more difficult to facilitate dialogue and understanding.
We are in approximately the same situation that Gentile Christians faced in the first century AD. Jewish Christians viewed saved Gentiles as dirty and some insisted that Gentiles had to keep the law of Moses and observe Jewish purity laws to be saved.
Led by the Holy Spirit, the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 (see also Acts 21:21-25), sided with the saved Gentiles. Yet it was a process of years before Jewish believers actually accepted Gentile believers as equal members in the body of Christ.
Instead of constantly pressing their grievances and demanding equality, Gentile believers focused on walking in the Spirit and serving God. Eventually their love for God, their practical demonstration of spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) and God's evident blessing on their lives won the day.
Possible strategies for dialogue
- We start by believing the Bible and what it teaches. When we diss the Bible and say that it isn't trustworthy, most evangelical Christians turn us off from the git-go.
- We allow the Bible to inform our worldview and affect how we live instead of ignoring the Bible.
- We walk in the Spirit, Galatians 5:16, and forsake the works of the flesh. If we're fornicating with strangers and getting drunk or high every weekend, while still claiming to be Christian, no wonder no one believes us.
- We witness for Jesus and by our lives and our testimony, lead our gay brothers and lesbian sisters to salvation by faith alone, through Christ alone.
- We find common ground with anti-gay Christians, some of whom have virtually no knowledge of what the Bible says, in context.
The better they know us sometimes, the more willing they are to listen to the Holy Spirit and view the clobber passages in context instead of as weapons to use against gays and lesbians.
- We recognize that oftentimes, non-gay Christians are reacting to stereotypes of what gay people are (re-read #3 above), instead of what we really are as gay Christians.
- We demonstrate the grace of God toward those who disagree with us, remembering that for many of us, coming to terms with who we are as gay Christians was a long process.
It isn't fair to expect non-gay Christians to do in a few weeks, what it took us years to do.
Help LinksOur Mission as gay Christians.Our Ethos as gay Christians.Bible study resources for gay Christians.
Kevin's original question:
In the short two years since I decided to come out to my family and friends, I've made some profound observations. It seems the bias and distrust is in both camps, Gay and strait.
What things can we (gay christians) do, say and be, to help them (the church) see us as brothers and sisters worthy of love, respect and fellowship. Not perverts but people. Not degenerates but new creatures in Christ. Not sinners but sanctified. Scripture says "...come let us reason together says The Lord." How do we do that? When do we do that?