On same-sex marriage

I’m a married to a loving wife. I’m a white male living in middle class Australia, with two kids, two fish and a cat. I live in an inner city suburb of the largest city in Australia, Sydney. I was born in Australia (Adelaide, no less, but that still counts) and have lived here all of my life. All of those factors combined put me in a position of power. Power I didn’t choose, or fight for, but power I’ve been given nonetheless. Add to that the fact that I am an Officer in The Salvation Army, which as an institution has earned a powerful voice in this country and my position of power is enhanced dramatically.

I don’t have to fight for my voice to be heard. I don’t live on the margins of society, and by and large I’m not prejudiced against, except perhaps that I’m not allowed to become a member at a one of those "women-only" gyms… not that I really want to.

So that means that I need to be careful in the way that I speak. By virtue of who I am and where I’ve been born I need to be careful that my voice does not drown out the voices of those who are not in the same position of power as me. Because I’m male, I need to listen to the voice of women. Because I’m a parent, I need to listen to the voice of my children, but also those who do not have children (for whatever reason). Because I live in the city, I need to listen to the voice of those who live in regional areas. Because I live in a first world country I need to listen to the voice of those who do not. I need to be active in listening first before speaking, simply because my voice is louder than others. I may not necessarily like that, but this is the reality of the distorted world we live in. Some are in positions of power. Most are not. I just happen to be one who in many of life’s arenas has a powerful voice.

I have to be honest and confess that I’m not always good at using my voice wisely. It’s very easy to write a paragraph like the last one, but very difficult to live that way every day. It’s much easier to exploit a position of power than to use it for the benefit of all.

Which brings me to a very contemporary topic at the moment; that being marriage. In particular, whether or not marriage should be reserved exclusively for female and male couples or should legislation be changed to be opened to same-sex relationships.

On Sunday night the Compass program on the ABC aired a discussion on this topic between 6 people of various opinions, chaired by host Geraldine Doogue. For those who don’t know, Compass is a TV program that discusses religious issues. I didn’t see the full episode on Sunday night, but did manage to view it all online here. (The transcript is also available in case it cannot be viewed in other countries).

I found the discussion mostly helpful, with the relevant issues raised and many of the participants being very honest and open about their own experiences. Since Compass is a religious program it is natural that there be clergy present in the discussion. This was fair. It was also good that there were two homosexual people represented, and one father (and self-confessed, former homophobic) of a gay man present at the table. That was necessary and welcomed. I also appreciated the chosen forum – a meal table. This is something I think is worthwhile exploring in any debate. As a side issue, this is a consideration that rarely enters into sacramental theology. If Jesus did institute a participatory and memorial meal as a primary means of Christians retelling his death and resurrection and anticipating his return, then why did he choose a meal? It’s an interesting question, but one for another day. For this program, the meal worked because it acted as a leveller between all the parties involved.

What did concern me, though, was the abuse of power from the one who held the most of it. I don’t think there was an intention to be abusive, but nevertheless it was there. That’s the insipid way that power subtly takes over. I suspect the white, middle-class, heterosexual, married, male minister approached this discussion with every intention of being respectful, but I don’t know that he properly acknowledged that he was the one with the most power at that table and so he needed to be the one that listened better than anyone else. I’m speaking in this specific instance about Rt. Rev. Robert Forsyth, not to “name and shame” him but simply because he was representative of a view that has been most dominant in the church for a long time. I acknowledge that there are personality issues, and many other factors at play here (including how the discussion was edited by the ABC), but his voice was the most dominant one at that table.

And he made it known.

The number of times in this program where Julie McCrossin had to say to Rev Forsyth “let me finish” or “let him finish” on behalf of someone else was really quite disturbing. Furthermore, Prof Dennis Altman remarked (after having been prompted by the host) “I’m finding this very difficult actually to say anything.” Admittedly, there was some humour in his comment, and his exclusion from the discussion wasn’t all Rev Forsyth’s fault, but still I suggest that his comment was representative of how the LBGT community has been made to feel by the church on this and other related issues.

I’m not going to provide my own opinion on same-sex marriage. To be honest, I don’t have one. I’m waiting for the day when I can have an open conversation with homosexual Christians to help form and inform an opinion. Perhaps around a meal table or over a coffee, where I can listen respectfully to their views first. The problem is I don’t really know any homosexual Christians. I know they exist, but I just don’t know where. Shame on me. Shame on the Church for being so opinionated on the “issue of homosexuality” (way to impersonalise the discussion) that we’ve excluded the people themselves from the place where they should be the most included.

Forgive me Lord. Forgive us Lord. God help us to be more loving. God help me to be more loving.

What I do want to suggest, though, is a way potential forward for the church in these sorts of discussion when they arise. Here it is.

Shut up and listen.

Stop speaking over other voices. Stop interrupting. Stop having duelling monologues and actually enter into dialogue with the other voice. Please, just shut up and listen.

I’m not saying “don’t ever talk again about this matter”. That would be completely unproductive. What I am suggesting, though, is that the church has held the power when it comes to marriage for 2000 years and we’ve not been good in the way we’ve used (and abused) that power. We need to realise that we hold the balance of power in this discussion and we should be using it in the same way that Jesus did. Not to exploit it over and against the powerless, but rather to give them a voice. To give them that dignity. To listen to them. To even sit down and have a meal with them. Jesus didn’t “name and shame” people as “tax collectors and sinners”. The Pharisees did a pretty good job at that. Rather, he sat down to eat with them as an equal. Something tells me that the church could learn something from Jesus’ approach. Maybe, just maybe, we might learn what it means to be an inclusive community first, rather than a dogmatic one. Perhaps we might just be able to be a place that everyone, including the LBGT community, looks at and says “look how they love one another – they must be Christians.” (John 13:34-35)

Maybe.

Just maybe.

Comments

  1. Thank you for your courage and honesty, even if it is of one without an opinion. This was a blessing ton read. Cheers, jeromy.

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  2. It is very easy for people who think they know all the answers to make those answers known.. usually in a way that shuts down or tunes out people who have a differing opinions on the same subject.

    People in 'conservative' churches have become so convinced that their answer to the 'issue' of homosexuality is the only one, the right one, the only one acceptable to God, so much so that they shut out the voices of those who are telling them that their viewpoint may not be right, or even acceptable to God.

    It's nice [and a blessing] to hear [read] someone who hasn't formed an opinion on the topic who is eager and willing to listen to both sides.

    As for the bravery and courage you've shown.. it's sad day in the Army when showing love and compassion for people means one has to be careful of who's listening when they give a kind word of support..

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  3. I enjoyed reading your refreshingly open and honest post and the sentiments expressed therein. Privileged people really don't understand the advantage they have... but those who don't share in that privilege are very aware of it. It's refreshing to me the amount of thought you have given to this subject, and the amount of awareness expressed in your post.

    I believe there is a greater need for love and respect to turn up in this debate... if it's not already too late, before opinion is expressed.

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  4. i caught the compass program and thank you for your comments inclusive is the right word listening not abusing power advocacy (not sure if i spelt that right) is a good word speaking for those without a voice. you made me cry such insight especially about the talking around the meal table . please keep talking and listening and encouraging people to use the jesus approach thankyou anne not sure what i'm doing as new to all this computer stuff :)

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  5. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it.
    God bless
    Adam

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  6. I am an 'ex-Salvationist' who was told since a young man that although God would always love me, the Salvation Army would never be truly inclusive unless I denied my sinful orientation (or behaviour to be more precise).
    My partner and I have been in a loving, committed relationship for over 23 years. If all love comes from God, how can that be wrong?
    While we are denied to right to marry, we will always feel like second-class citizens, and that our relationship means less. It certainly doesn't to us.
    I think that there is a certain fear that should we be allowed to marry, that we would somehow demand it to be sanctioned by The Church. While I acknowledge I cannot speak for the whole of my community, I don't believe this is paramount.
    Adam, I am delighted to read your blog. It's the closest thing I have heard recently that resembles the voice of the Jesus as I was taught to understand it.
    If ever you are in Melbourne, we would love to share a meal with you.

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  7. My 17 yo daughter is researching this subject for a project for school. I got told about the compass program today, but haven't had the chance to watch it yet. Thank you for your honesty here. For a whole range of reason this blog has resonated deep within my spirit. Well said and well done. Christine

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  8. thanks for this. i have to admit my views on this have changed over years and i would like to think grace has helped me change those views. however i think the problem here in the UK and Ireland is the opposite in that often even moderate christian views are drowned out by a very well organised and vocal homosexual lobby ( many who are not christian in any way) . In many ways this is sad because it drowns out the often genuine christian voice of those who struggle with this issue and thise who are in same sex relationships. hope you are well friend. Sorry have not got a clue wwaht a URL is. Robert Birnie

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  9. I have met people who sadly say they have no idea if there is a God or not and no way to explore this as they would not be welcomed in Church because they are homosexual...............so sad...............would Jesus have turned them away or ignored them?

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  10. Adam. This is a great meditation on discursive power.

    This concept dovetails one of perspective/of vision being blinkered by history and institutions/of "what you see depends on what your looking for."

    Your piece is a bit light on in this respect. The thing about the loudness of the "white, middle-class, heterosexual, married, male" voice is it doesn't come from your body. You don't need to speak it. It doesn't need to be spoken. It is inscribed in the minds of citizens, the lay of the land and the essence of institutions.

    Describing The Salvation Army as possessing a powerful voice sounds to me like you are trapped inside an echo chamber, in a sphere where the influence is evident and beyond which - out of sight - lies the bulk of society.

    Of course, I am trapped in my own echo chamber barely able to perceive the influences of your church's missions on the society around me.

    My point is whilst I think your awareness of power is admirable, I think you would be well-served to realise the power is in charge using you - showing you what it thinks it is best for you to see - long before you inadvertently/inevitably use it.

    But that wasn't actually what prompted me to respond: it was the ridiculous claim that you have no opinion on same-sex marriage.

    I believe that you are open to learning more from Gay Christians because you think their perspective might usefully inform your opinion - but this can't happen unless you have an opinion - an opening position.

    Really, the only thing you have no opinion about is something that you are not aware of.

    You don't need to wait for a same-sex couple to be married in front of you and approach you asking for congratulations to form your opinion.

    The marvellous human mind you have can imagine this already. It's called a thought experiment.

    What are you going to say?

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  11. Adam

    Thank you so much for your posting! As a former SA Officer of 18 years and as a transfer clergy in the Metropolitan Community Church it is refreshing to hear your voice of reason. A group of us recently had this discussion of power and privilege at Episcopal Divinity School. I plan on sharing your voice with them. Blessings on you and your progressive and positive point of view that is so relevant.

    Thom

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  12. Its a pity that Jesus and god don't exist, but discrimination is very real. Sexuality has nothing to do with religion, and so has no place in this debate.

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  13. Wow! So much to respond to. I'll try to address everyone individually.
    Ron... I was brought to tears by your comment, both for the heartache expressed in the first sentence, and the humbling comments at the end. I would be honoured to have a meal with you sometime. Could you go to the contacts page at the top and send me an email?
    Christine... Thanks for your comment. I hope what I've written here is helpful in some way.
    Robert... always good to hear from you mate. Thanks for commenting...
    Anonymous (1)... No, I don't think he would. That's exactly my point (and yours) which is why I'm saddened that the church has (by and large) sought to form an opinion on homosexuality "before" embracing homosexuals as people. That's where we've gone drastically wrong. Thanks for the reminder.
    Cameron... perhaps I could say I don't have a "fully formed" opinion yet. No i don't need to attend a same-sex wedding to form an opinion, but equally I won't express it until I've been better informed. That's more my point. True I should have a starting point, but I would express it simply as "I don't know".
    Thom... thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate it. I hope this is helpful in your discussions. By the way, I'm interested to know what a "transfer clergy" is. Can you tell me more?
    Anonymous... (1) saying "Jesus and god don't exist" is just as much a faith statement as saying that they do, (2) yes discrimination is very real, including "faith discrimination". I hope for the day when all forms of discrimination disappear. (3) the irony of posting about the non-existence of someone under the pseudonym of "Anonymous" made me smile! (4) Sexuality is not divorced from "who I am as a person". Equally, neither is religion. I think a "non-Christian" perspective is equally as valid as a "Christian" one, but both voices need to be heard. That's the problem I'm trying to address. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

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  14. adam,
    the homosexual community may be closer than you think,
    look in your bands and songster brigades, your congregations for the singles and also for some of the families who had to marry to keep their secret [married gays and lesbians]
    the meal table idea is a great way to start.
    thanks for saying something and using your voice to help others.

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. Over the course of the last 4 years we've posted a number of articles on gays, their membership and roles in the church, including SA leadership. The number of blog visitors often double when a thoughful, researched and well-written piece on homosexuality is posted.

    Our regular blog readers include active and former/inactive salvationist gays and lesbians, some married to same sex partners, with others waiting for the law to change allowing them to marry. Many, however, make clear that they are gay but celibate, and serve as active SA officers.

    Our visitor profile reveals that some 70% of the 65,000 visitors to date have a SA connection; recruits, adherents, soldiers, officers and former SA officers. One of the greatest blessings to me, the blog creator and administrator, is to have witnessed the softening of the hard line 'homophobic' stance of so many. They have not necessarily accepted or embraced the demands of the GLBT community, but there is a very real 'move' toward open dialogue and even cautious inclusivity.

    Your excellent piece lends itself ideally to my blog and I'd like your permission to share it (giving full credit of course) and also to share it with an officer friend with whom I often exchange posts.

    The two blogs are: www.fsaof.blogspot.com
    www.rupeba.se (scroll to top left for the English translation)

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  17. Hi Sven...
    I'd be very happy for you to share this. Please go ahead.
    Thanks
    Adam

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  18. As a committed follower of the LORD, Jesus Christ, I understand marriage as being an analogeous relationship reflecting our triune God. As such if the LBGT community wish to have a legal bond between couples, then let it be given another name other than "marriage" or alternatively, maybe Christian marriages may require a name change since it is clear that those of us who are united as husband and wife before the God of the Bible ar in a mininority and that we may need to have a legal name change for our institution?

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  19. Dear Adam,

    Thom mentioned the class at Episcopal Divinity School. I was in that class and deeply appreciate your post (Thom shared it on FB). I was outed while working within a Christian ministry, and it was a supportive co-worker from Australia who helped me keep my head above water. Keep listening, keep sharing meals, we really are everywhere--and we hunger and thirst for the good news of liberation through Jesus, just as you.

    Blessings,

    Sharilyn Steketee
    (Boston, MA, USA)

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  20. Sharilyn I now see you are referring to me, I am the Aussie Girl you refer too and I continue to be impacted by your love of the lord and as far as your sexuality goes, between you and God. Funnily enough I used to work for the salvos employment arm here in Australia.Like you I am impacted by this article, I have a sister who is also in a same sex relationship also. I still dont have the words for you but I know the Lord knows us all and takes us as we are and meets us where we are at. PS if you get married to Joan I wish to be a bridesmaid.

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  21. Thanks for your article Adam. It is certainly a popular topic at the moment. Last night at Street Pastors I was sitting around during our break discussing the topic of same-sex marriage with people from several denominations (brands) of Christianity. After we went back onto the street the person I was walking with wanted to discuss it some more because she felt uncomfortable.
    My response to her was that while I can see the need for the Christian community to have a voice on the topic I am always careful that whatever opinion we may hold that we share that in love. For example, if we need to pray about the issue then we can do this together in private and not in a way that makes others feel judged or condemned. It is more important that people see Christians acting in love than anything else, and certainly to share a meal is an ideal way to have a conversation.
    The discussion did take me on to a related topic which is the fact that so many Christian marriages end in divorce. In fact I believe that there is no significant difference between the divorce rates among Christian and not-yet-Christians. I personally think we of the faith community need to address our own issues in living faithfully before we have too strong an opinion on others behaviours.
    I have had the privilege of sharing a meal with and enjoying bible studies with people who consider themselves to be gay. I have always tried to explain to them that God loves them and is on their side because I want them to have a relationship with our saviour. From there it is between them and God.
    Thanks again for your thoughtful words,
    Brett

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  22. Brett.... Thanks for your comment. Good point to bring in about the state of marriages within the Church. Kind of like comparing planks and specks in eyes, one might suggest?
    I'm so glad that Street Pastors is continuing to have an impact. You're doing a great job there mate.
    Speaking of coffee... it's been too long. Got any time soon?
    Thanks
    Adam

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  23. Adam, thank you for granting me permission to share your article on our Former Officers Fellowship blog. www.fsaof.blog.spot It brought a good number of thoughtful responses, and as with other articles dealing with the GLBT community, brought unprecedented interest.

    I also shared, as you know, the article with the person who, next to Steve Court, must be the SA's most proficient blogger, and who can be found at www,rupeba.se . He is a well known officer and theologian in Europe and N. America and taught for many years ar TSA's high school in Jeloy, Norway.

    He shared his response to your article in our blog's comment section. I'll post it below.

    blessings, sven

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  24. My first reaction, subsequent to reading the article, is that we really live in different worlds. In Sweden the only voice that is allowed to be heard is the voice of pro-same-sex marriages supporters. In a Swedish television program the equal voice policy ought to be totally different. The prevailing attitude is that the Christian representative should not be given much time for rebuttal. The power to be heard is almost non-existent; the voice of warning against same-sex-marriages is as a consequence marginalised.

    In Sweden we have ha lot of state-paid representatives guarding against anything negative being said against same-sex-marriages or gay life styles. For many years now we have had "Homoombudsmannen" (Homosexual Ombudman) with his own office and staff and which recently merged together with other "ombudsmän", to become "Diskriminieringsombudsmannen" (DiscriminationOmbudsman)

    We have state-financed RFSU/RFSL (Riksförbundet för sexuellt likaberättigande) with the task of helping Swedish people's attitude adapt to the "correct" way to think about sexual lifestyles. They are producing school programmes to teach the children in school to think the 'correct' way.

    Homosexuals in Sweden is not a group without power or a voice. In Stockholm they have the annual "Pride-festival" supported by many major businesses and by every political party is in some way taking part in the event. At one of these festival one was allowed to throw arrows at pictures of Christian leaders and politicians, and in the march one could hear people shouting out their desire to kill the Leader for the Christian Democratic party.

    We really live in very different worlds!

    The only thing worth saying, from my point of view, in the article, is that you should not interupt each other in a discussion in a TV debate program or in any other similar setting. One should really treat everybody with respect.

    Finally. I totally disagreee with the final remark in the article about us eventually ending up saying, "see how the love each other". If mutual love should be the deciding factor in determining if something is right or wrong we will find ourselves accepting a multitude of sins which people love doing and doing while loving each other.

    Right or wrong can never be dependent on the amount of love we put into a person, object or activity. If a homosexual life style is wrong, then it is wrong whether the persons love or hate each other.

    Peter Baronowsky
    Regional Commander
    TSA Latvia

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  25. Thanks for the comments, Peter. I agree with the comment that we live in very different contexts. I can only speak of my context, and indeed my interpretation of that context, but I hope that it's transferable in some way and we can learn from each other.

    As for the final comment regarding "love", I think you may have misinterpreted my meaning here. My intention was not that we determine what is right and wrong by "mutual love", rather that love would be our defining characteristic, which is the kind of community I think Jesus intended for us to be. At the moment I don't think the LGBT community looks at the church and sees "love in action" (by and large) but rather dogma, criticism and labeling. My desire, in promoting loving relationships within the church and from the church to the world, is that all people would look at us and know we are Christians primarily by the way we love others. This is where I think we've failed in the past, and that's got nothing to do (at that point) with determining rights and wrongs. That's a secondary activity, and one I think should be done with homosexuals, not on their behalf.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    Every blessing
    Adam

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  26. Just read this Adam and it is really good. I too don't have an opinion on this topic just yet but had many Christians tell me why I should be against gay marriages and trying to convince me to be against it as apparently God is and so I am not allowed to sit on the fence! But you have raised many good points which is why I sit on the fence. I am a heterosexual Anglo Saxon female who may not always have the same authority as male but still have more so than a lot of other people in this world which then makes me wonder if I have a right to voice my opinion on this topic especially as I haven't had to fight for my sexual preference ( having said that as a woman in my 30's who is still single, I often have to justify myself for being single) nor would I have have to justify being in a heterosexual singe. I too would love to sit down with a Christian same sex person on this topic. I do know one but havent brought this topic up with him just yet. But I am concern how many Christians do get onto these panels and figure that they can dominate the conversation because they feel that they are right. I am not saying that we shouldn't voice our opinions just that we as Christians also need to learn to listen to others too whether we agree with them or not.

    We are called to love them and as you have mentioned above the LGBT community as one of love. I am praying that this will change one day!

    But great blog

    April

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  27. Hi Adam,

    I've read your post with interest.
    When I reached the end, I felt that you missed out on an important issue. Isn't it our task as Christians, and especially as pastors, to form our oppinion an what God has revealed to us through his revelation, both natural and special, through his Word. And should we not seek for the illumination of the Holy Spirit to understand the issue at hand? If we skip these steps, we only get a antrophological view on the issue and not a theological.

    Secondly, in your respponse to Peter, I feel again that we are heading in the wrong direction. Yes, we need to deal with each other and every issue in love. But the greatest way we can express our love for each other is to point them to the way of Christ. If in love we learn to accept each others as they are, we are forgetting to show them the Way so they can become as God intends them to be. Learning to accept each other when actually this leads them away from God's plan for their live, is not love, it's the opposite.

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  28. Wow - beautifully written and such inclusiveness <3

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  29. Hi,
    I am a teacher,father,brother and friend to many.
    I am also Christian.I am also same sex attracted and would love to have a meal with you if you are ever in Melbourne.

    Sadly, I was asked to leave my place of employment because I was gay. This taught me that when discussing issues of sexuality that Christians typically approach the topic dogmatically and are largely ignorant about what they are discussing. They therefore tend to be quite judgemental. It is a sad indictement on Christianity to see Christians act in this manner.

    Simon

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  30. Hi Adam,

    I am attending Mac Park Salvos (Ryde City Church). I was called into ministry in 1988. In 1995 I was ejected from a corps because of my sexual orientation. I'm a Christian homosexual. I'm also an ex-soldier that is reconciled back to The Salvos.

    I was also very nearly ready for training college in the early 90's. I would love to make contact - not just as a fellow believer, but as someone to have some salvo-contextual discussion with you.
    I won't write

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  31. My iPad hiccuped. I wanted to go on to say...

    I won't write a long essay here, but if you or anyone would like to make contact, please feel free to write: pete.zayonce @ gmail.com

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  32. Hi Everyone...
    Thanks for continuing to respond to this post.
    Andre... I don't disagree with you, but I don't think that is the "first" task of the church. This is where I think the church has been wrong in the past. The first task is to love people as they are, where they are. Then, once people are a part of a loving community (and therefore have a valid and welcomed voice within that community) can we together grow in the faith. Sadly, the opposite has been the method of choice which has drive LGBT people away.
    Simon and LifeChanging Pete... thank you for sharing your stories. Again and again I am hearing these heart wrenching stories of people being ostracised by the church. It saddens me to the core. I hope the church can continue to improve in this regard, and I hope I can contribute to that improvement in some small way... Simon, I'm not sure I'll be in Melbourne any time soon, but I'll keep the offer in mind.
    Pete... I'll send you a private message.
    Thanks
    Adam

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  33. Hi Adam I am a gay Christian and very happy to discuss the topic with you. I was a Baptist Pastor and missionary. This is what is has been like being a gay christian in church. I was referred to a doctor who was President of the Baptist Union in Qld and he arranged for me to undergo electronic shock therapy to punish me for being gay and to change me to be straight. It didn't work but it did prove medically that I was born gay as there isn't anything anyone can do to influence the outcome of the body temperature tests. The Dr is Sydney who did it, said NO ONE had changed their sexual orientation.

    Baptist policy is that gays practicing OR NOT are forbidden to lead, teach, exercise any ministry or do any act of Christian service. Last year at the last Baptist Church I attended gays were told they are "f..g.ts and p..ft.rs who are not welcome to even attend church." It is obviously a total waste of time that Christ went to Calvary for gays (us) as far as they are concerned. I have left the Baptist Church permanently, and am now discovering all these wonderful fruit of Spirit like love, joy and peace.
    I am still married to my wife after 40 years and I am not sexually active. Leaving the Baptist Church was the end of a highly abusive relationship.
    In a similar church a friend of mine, Craig, a teenager, came out as gay to his parents who told the elders and they arranged for a Dr Michael Craddock from within their church to come and he actually prescribed cyprostat to chemically castrate Craig to "cure" him of his homosexuality. When that didn't work, they excommunicated him, and his parents put him out of their home, changed the locks, and said they never wanted to see him or have contact with him ever again. That happened in 2010.
    If you check the original Heb and Gk of the clobber passages to the translations, you will find that in several key areas they have actually inserted words that don't even exist in the original languages just to help people gay bash.If two words are possible translations of a Heb/Gk word they have chosen the one that gay bashes every single time.
    I wrote a paper on this and in the first month, 7700 sent in emails about it and 7000 (90%) agreed with what I wrote. But there were 350 gays who said they had planned to commit suicide over this and had decided against it. Gays commit suicide at 6-8 times the national average (Drs Hamilton and Flood).
    Ron S

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  34. Great article. Bishop Forsyth (for whom I have great respect) looked decidedly uncomfortable and out-of-sorts on that Compass programme - not his usual confident self. Some conservative theologians and clergy have "painted themselves into a corner" in respect to biblical interpretation re homosexual issues. They can't bring themselves to swallow their pride and admit that they just might be wrong and should relook at the relevant "clobber" passages (as the gays call them). Rev Matt Glover is a Baptist pastor in Melbourne who has deliberately sought out gay people so he can better understand them. It's worth googling his paper "A Pastoral Response to Homosexuality in the Church".

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  35. I’m not sure I agree with you Adam. I think one of the reasons this issue has become so messy is the way it has been discussed. The people who are against changes in marriage are painted as mean and uncaring

    People compare the gay marriage movement with the American civil rights movement. The voice of the LGBT community may be marginalised but not to the lengths you suggest. In modern Australia a white gay man and a white minister are on fairly equal standing.

    What I am trying to say is the argument can’t be fought on these terms. An argument has to be fought on the merits of each position. If someone wants to be against gay marriage, let them! If someone wants to be for gay marriage then they need to engage with their opponents argument and not just murky the waters by painting them as the dominant voice which abuses its position.

    C’mon on guys we’re mature adults, I’d like to hear one discussion on this issue that doesn’t rely on painting the other person in a mean light but actually deals with the opinions themselves.

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  36. Thanks Adam, a very elequent way of saying we need to be like Jesus, rather than using our human constructs (which we claim are based on His example)to exclude. This is the main element of my religion I struggle with. One of the most amazing Christians I know must hide his true self at work and worship (emplyed by CEO as a Teacher). In our hearts we know what Jesus would do.

    Phil

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