A CAREFUL VIEW OF SCRIPTURE with Regard to LGBT Questions
Bridging Cultural Divides
Blessed are the peacemakers..the art of bridging
Whether you call it peacemaking or bridge building it is never an easy task. When Jesus said these words :"Blessed are the peace makers.." in Matthew 5:1-12, He was talking to an oppressed nation that hoped Jesus would be the promised one who would throw off the oppressors and bless them. Instead He called for peace.
When I talk about bridge building I am talking about building or facilitating a bridge of respect and understanding between us and those who believe differently than we do. In order to be effective ambassadors for Christ (which is what we are called to do) we must seek to understand the culture and mindset of those we are speaking to. This is true whether we are talking about difference in nationality, race, religion, or orientation. This requires dialog and understanding. All too often our understanding of another people group is slanted by a lack of information, misinformation, and stereotypes. As Christians we should not allow this to happen. Today we would call this prejudice or bigotry. James called it favoritism and warns us against it (See James 2:1-4)
When I refer to peacemaking or bridge building with lgbt individuals I am talking about a bridge of compassion and mutual respect between Side A and Side B. Side A and Side B are neutral terms used to describe two sides in the question of homosexual sex and sexual morality and are derived from Bridges across the Divide and GCN. The purpose of bridging is to provide a gracious atmosphere of respect and understanding where people can come to faith in Christ and, if they are already a Christian, grow in Christ.
A description of the Sides follows...
Side A: These folks believe that same sex individuals can have a sexual relationship together. Similar to some straight Christian folks, some believe in waiting until marriage or a committed relationship for sexual relationships .. others do not.
Side B: These folks believe you can embrace same sex attraction and /or gay identity but do not believe that same sex sexual relationships honor God. Lgbt individuals who believe this either live a celibate life or have a heterosexual marriage (sometimes called a mixed orientation marriage). They also may have a committed same-sex relationship but not have sex.
Side C: These folks are either not sure what they believe about the issue or are uncomfortable with defining their view point as one or the other.
The basic theology for the Sides can be found here.
Usually on the issue of homosexuality, people use one of two approaches described as 'methods'. See below (derived from Bridges Across)...
Method D: Many on both Side A and Side B are opposed to our ideal of respectful relationships and dialogue. Some of them think that such respect is impossible to achieve, others feel that extending that respect to those on the other side is wrong. The resulting dynamic is one which (in our opinion, unfortunately) plagues most discourse on the moral/political issues surrounding homosexuality today. (This method is not the philosophy of this web site).
Method E: Supporters of Method E do not deny that our disagreements with the other side are serious and profound. Some may view the other side as promoting evil and/or destructive practices and beliefs. To be Method E is not to be naive about the other side, nor is it to be lukewarm about one's own convictions. It is, rather, to insist upon acknowledging and respecting the humanity of those with whom we disagree. As a Christian I feel that Jesus' teachings about loving our enemies and blessing those who persecute us call us to reject the approach of Method D in favor of this method.
Some basic common guidelines for bridging to other cultures / belief systems follow..
1. Every human being is of immeasurable worth and deserves to be treated with respect.
2. We are definitely against any violence or inflammatory language towards each other.
3. Dialogue involves careful listening (as any counselor would tell you). We must listen carefully to one another and not make assumptions that we know what the other person thinks and feels.
4. Although we do disagree sometimes quite intently on some issues, we oppose attacking others through innuendo, slander, or violence.
5. The best way to get to know one another, respect one another, and learn from one another is through providing a safe harbor for all who visit here and also for all we may meet out in the world.
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