So there was a forum in Grand Rapids last night on being gay and Christian.
Keep in mind this is a city where you can barely throw a stick without hitting a church. Or a Christian publisher.
With just two nights to go, only a dozen or so people had registered. But last night, Wealthy Street Theatre was packed.
The presentations were good. Some were really good. And sure, some parts could have been better. (Twenty minutes probably isn’t enough to meaningfully address all six “clobber texts” in the Bible.)
But what mattered more than the presentations were the people who made them.
A card-carrying member of the Christian Reformed Church.
A woman who described herself as representing the black Southern Pentecostal lesbian community.
All of them gay. All of them Christian. All of them saying, “Yes, it can be both.”
And people showed up. Most were ready to listen, judging by their demeanor during the presentations and the Q&A that followed.
Sure, 500 people is a tiny fraction of the local population. Heck, it’s a tiny fraction of the local Christian population. (This is Grand Rapids, remember.)
But it’s a start.
I suspect that most Christians have never truly examined their convictions on this issue. Most of us have inherited our beliefs and assumptions without ever really questioning them. Most of us have taken someone else’s word for it that there’s only one way to interpret the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality — assuming it addresses the subject at all. (Side note: when someone tells you there’s only one way to interpret a 2,000 year-old text, be suspicious.)
But I think all that is starting to change, as the safe, sanitized worlds we’ve built for ourselves begin to collapse…
As “LGBT” ceases to be a distant concept for most of us…
As people we know and love — sons, daughters, uncles, parents, friends — come out of the closet.
We owe them more than an unexamined theology of condemnation.
We owe it to them to not just cling to our inherited beliefs and assumptions by default.
We owe it to them to “test everything” — including our own convictions, prejudices, and assumptions.
We owe it to them to hold on to what is good.
All I can say is, I saw a lot that was good in Wealthy Street Theater last night.