Earlier this week, The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released a document entitled “The Nashville Statement.”
Because I am passionate about loving LGBT people well due to some very personal ties, I feel compelled to express with utmost clarity my own convictions regarding sexuality.
Though I am an Evangelical Christian and though I live in Nashville and though I incompletely agree with parts of “The Nashville Statement,” I believe it is an extremely poor and untimely expression of beliefs in numerous ways, and one about which I am sad and angry.
And so, I’ve come up with some statements of my own.
I AFFIRM that sexuality is complicated, confusing, and ultimately a gray area in a world that insists on being black and white.
I DENY that sexuality is merely the sum of our biological parts and AFFIRM that the characteristics of gender difference are mostly shrouded in mystery and therefore cannot be described in ultimatums.
I AFFIRM that God has boundless compassion for individuals questioning their sexuality, and that He will love people through their own particular journeys.
I DENY that LGBT people are going to hell based on how they identify themselves.
I AFFIRM that the Church is called to be a place where sexuality can be discussed openly, freely, and without fear of judgment.
I DENY that the Church has any right to condemn God’s children based on their gender identity.
I AFFIRM that describing oneself as gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. as a partial expression of one’s experience of life are helpful descriptors that have many nuanced layers of meaning and that each person’s story must be heard in its entirety before jumping to conclusions.
I DENY that describing oneself as any of the LGBT descriptors is a violation of God’s “natural order”.
I AFFIRM that a continuous searching of the Scriptures combined with consulting of the Holy Spirit is required to mold our understanding of sexuality.
I DENY that the discussion should ever be “closed” on the topic of sexuality.
I AFFIRM that I will personally love and cherish every LGBT person I have the honor of knowing.
I DENY that my own convictions will prevent me from respecting another person’s story.
I AFFIRM that evangelical Christians have been historically hateful and phobic of LGBT people.
I DENY that hate and fear are appropriate responses to difference of any kind.
I AFFIRM that Christians have the radical and joyful privilege to BE FAMILY to their LGBT brothers and sisters in Christ.
I DENY that same-sex attraction for a Christian equates to a lifetime of loneliness and shame.
I AFFIRM that God is fully and uniquely at work in each of our lives and that He will mold our hearts to His will if we are willing to be open to the painful and uncomfortable processes He uses.
I DENY that I have all the answers.
I’m sure I could go on and on . . . but for now I will stop there and leave you with this beautiful song about a Christian man who experiences same-sex attraction and how a church’s all-too-common condemnation of LGBT people deeply affects him . . . and the radical love of Jesus that broke through all of the man’s shame and fear.