Current Conversation: Christian Faithfulness and Human Sexuality
Current Topic: Churches and the LGBT Community (February 2016)
Leading Question: Different Christian churches have taken various positions relative to their engagements with LGBT individuals, a number of which are variations of the following general categories:
- Welcoming but not affirming
- Welcoming and affirming
- Accepting, without taking a position relative to “welcoming” and/or “affirming” because the theological issues are “disputed matters” and we agree to allow disagreement
How do you recommend that churches engage with LGBT individuals and why?"
- Tim Otto, Associate Pastor, Church of the Sojourners
- Essay: A Third Way is Possible
- Response to other Contributors: The Will to Hear
- Response to other Contributors: (February 20)
- Weldon Nisly, Retired Pastor, Seattle Mennonite Church
- Essay: What God sets before us: being a welcoming and affirming Church
- Response to other Contributors: Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love
- Response to other Contributors: (February 20)
- Father Chris Schutte, Christ Church Phoenix
Topic #1: Voices from the Gay Community (July 2015)
Leading Question: What are your beliefs about morally appropriate relationships between persons who experience same-sex attraction?
- Eve Tushnet, Catholic Patheos Blogger
- Essay: The Hidden Paths of Love
- Response to Justin Lee: Eve's Response to "Three Ways I Was Wrong"
- Response to Justin Lee: Eve's Last Post: I don't Think There Are Monks in This one
- Justin Lee, Executive Director, The Gay Christian Network
- Essay: Three Was I was Wrong...And How We Can Get It Right
- Response to Eve Tushnet: Justin's Response to "The Hidden Paths of Love"
- Response to Eve Tushnet: Justin's Last Post: Romance Matters
Topic #2: Biblical Understandings (August 2015)
Leading Question: What is your understanding of biblical/theological teachings relevant to issues being raised by Christians who identify themselves as members of the LGBT community?
- Mark Strauss, University Professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary San Diego
- Essay: God's Design for Human Sexuality
- Response to James Brownson:Biblical Perspectives, Round 2
- Response to James Brownson:Biblical Perspectives, Round 3
- James Brownson, James and Jean Cook Professor of New Testament Western Theological Seminary
Topic #3: Biology, Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology (September 2015)
Leading Question: What is your understanding of the best findings from the academic disciplines of biology, anthropology, psychology and sociology relative to same-sex attraction, sexual orientation, and sexual behavior for human beings?
- Christopher Grace, Professor of Psychology & Director, Center for Marriage and Relationships, Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University
- Essay: Science and Same-Sex Orientation and Behavior: Is the Evidence Really That Neat and Tidy?
- Response to David Myers: Chris’s Response to Most Are Straight, Some are Gay, and Why it is That Way
- Response to David Myers: Chris’s 3rd and Final Post: Science and Same-Sex Orientation and Behavior
- David Myers, Professor of Psychology, Hope College
- Essay: Most Are Straight, Some Are Gay, And Why It Is That Way: The Science and Future of Sexual Orientation
- Response to Christopher Grace: Science, Faith, and Sexual Orientation: Round Two
- Response to Christopher Grace: Science, Faith, and Sexual Orientation: Concluding Thoughts
Topic #4: Constitutional Framework for Dealing with Public Policy Issues (October 2015)
Leading Question: How should the U. S. Constitution inform Christian thinking about public policy issues in America?
- Micah Watson, William Spoelhof Teacher-Scholar-In-Residence Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science, Calvin College
- Essay: The Constitution and Agreeing on How to Resolve our Disagreements
- Response to Kathy Lee: A Perspective on Perspectives
- Response to Kathy Lee: Final Thoughts on Our Constitution
- Kathy Lee, Professor of Political Science, Whitworth University
- Essay: Christians and the Limits of the Law
- Response to Micah Watson: Response to Micah Watson's "The Constitution and Agreeing on How to Resolve our Disagreements"
- Response to Micah Watson: Some Final Thoughts
Topic #5: Same-Sex Marriage: Pluralism (November 2015)
Leading Question: Given the pluralistic nature of American society, what stance should Christians take relative to public policy for or against same-sex marriage?
Adding a Third Conversation Partner
Dear Readers: I had not anticipated that our two conversation partners for our current topic (Julia and Mikael) would have so much public policy agreement (see their initial November 1 postings).
So, in keeping with our conversation goal to present and discuss differing views on each of our nine topics, Julia, Mikael and I have agreed to proceed in a different manner for the rest of this November conversation.
Adam MacLeod from the Jones School of Law at Faulkner University, who has a different view than Julia or Mikeal as to whether “allowing same-sex marriage is good public policy,” has agreed to join the remainder of our November conversation as a third “conversation partner.”
This mid-course adjustment changes the format for the rest of November to the plan that is described below.
- Mikael Pelz, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Calvin College
- Essay: Public Policy on Same-Sex Marriage: The State and the Church
- Response to Adam MacLeod: Marriage, Raising Children, and the Ideal Family
- Julia Stronks, Edward B. Lindaman Chair and Political Science Professor, Whitworth University
- Essay: Advancing Biblical, Civic Justice Even If You Believe Homosexual Relationships are Sinful
- Concluding Statement: Where Should We Go From Here?
- Adam MacLeod, Associate Professor of Law, Jones School of Law, Faulkner University
- Essay: Marriage is for Children
Topic #6: Anti-Discrimination Laws (December 2015)
Leading Question: Both states and the federal government have anti-discrimination laws relating to employment, housing and consumer protection for members of the LGBT community. Should faith-based institutions, both non-profit and for-profit, be eligible for exemption from these laws?
- Chelsea Langston, Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance of the Center for Public Justice
- Essay: SOGI Laws and Religious Freedom for Faith-Based Organizations
- Response to Kathryn Brightbill: Response to Practicing Religion in a Pluralistic Society
- Response to Kathryn Brightbill: Respect is Not the Same as Unconditional Affirmation
- Kathryn Brightbill, Safety Net board member
- Essay: Practicing Religion in a Pluralistic Society
- Response to Chelsea Langston: Response to "SOGI Laws and Religious Freedom for Faith-Based Organizations"
- Response to Chelsea Langston (December 20)
Topic #7: Voices from Younger Christians (January 2016)
Leading Question: Due to a perceived “generation gap,” some Christians wonder whether present controversies relating to faith and LGBT issues will “fade away” as a younger generation moves into positions of influence in both faith-based and secular institutions. As a member of this younger generation, how do you view the future relative to LGBT issues in American society in general and in Christian churches in particular?
- Matthew Lee Anderson, Mere Orthodoxy Blogger
- Essay: Will the controversies 'fade away'?
- Response to Isaac Sharp: Response to Isaac Sharp
- Response to Isaac Sharp: The Limits of Orthodoxy
- Isaac Sharp, PhD candidate, Union Theological Seminary
- Essay: Current Trends and Future Prospects
- Response to Matthew Lee Anderson: Respectful Disagreement on the Possibility of "Agreeing to Disagree
- Response to Matthew Lee Anderson: Lessons Learned