Tonight: “The Argument for LGBT-Inclusive Christianity”

Get to the Bozeman Library tonight at 7pm…!

Kathy Baldock, a straight, Evangelical Christian and Executive Director of Canyonwalker Connections, will offer the public a chance to consider, discuss and debate the arguments for a Christianity that is welcoming and affirming of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered persons. All are welcome.
For More about Kathy and her experience, please visit http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/about-2/ .

This forum is presented By Montana Pride 2012

 

MT Pride 2012 Presents Kathy Baldock: The Argument For LGBT-Inclusive Christianity

I’m really very excited. Here’s why:

My friend Kathy Baldock will be journeying to Montana from Reno this week to join us for MT Pride 2012. She will be here to speak to faith leaders, join her LGBT brothers and sisters for Montana Pride and will present at least twice. The first is at the Bozeman Public Library on Tuesday.

Entitled “The Argument For LGBT-Inclusive Christianity”, Kathy will share her story (which is really remarkable) and her conviction that there is nothing that prevents Christianity from openly embracing and affirming LGBT persons. Here’s the blurb:

Kathy Baldock, a straight, Evangelical Christian and Executive Director of Canyonwalker Connections, will offer the public a chance to consider, discuss and debate the arguments for a Christianity that is welcoming and affirming of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered persons.

For More about Kathy and her experience, please visit http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/about-2/ .
This forum is presented By Montana Pride 2012.

Kathy will also present a workshop at Montana Pride 2012. Talking to Churches and Faith Leaders- How Do We Start? Evangelical Christian and LGBT ally Kathy Baldock will offer some guidance and understanding about creating a conversation with Christian faith leaders. She will share her experiences in changing hearts and minds about LGBT persons in churches and faith communities. She will also address the topic of creating “open and affirming” churches.

She will be hanging out with us all week and will be marching in the parade and participating in the Pride Interfaith Service, Sunday June 17th , 10 am at the Holiday Inn.

Kathy is also available to the faith communities of the area during the week she is here. If you’d like to speak to her, please contact me at dgsma@hotmail.com.

To my mind, equality will be won when we do two things:

  1. Win over the churches, and
  2. Engage the families of LGBT people in our struggle- especially the moms.

With Kathy’s help, we’re going to do our best to win over some churches in the next week- and maybe a few mothers….

Listening To “Christians”- They Don’t Speak For Me

by  

Michael Brown, “Line of Fire”

Michael Brown interviewed Scott Lively on Brown’s daily radio show “The Line of Fire,” October 19th .  Lively, President ofDefend the Family, is one of the more prominent staunchly anti-gay activists in the world and Brown, founder of Coalition of Conscience, is quickly gaining status in the US for his similar views. Both cite their Christian faith as the source of their passions in combating the “radical gay agenda.”  Both see themselves as God’s instruments in the final stages of this battle to wake up and involve fellow Christians.

Brown repeats often that at 16, he was “radically saved from heroin addiction,” and Lively attributes his immediate deliverance from alcohol and drugs to God.  In their zeal, Brown, Lively and others take the healing gifts and transforming powers of God and apply them to sexual orientation,  expecting gay and trans people to also be radically delivered.  The “if God did it for me, He will do it for you” attitude is Biblical, but not when applied to sexual orientation.

Scott Lively, Defend the Family

On the show, Lively was recounting the trauma of his weekend in Chicago.  He had gone to a ceremony at Christian Liberty School to receive an award from Americans for the Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH), hosted by Peter LaBarbera.  The  morning of the event, two brick pavers were thrown through the glass doors of the school with warnings to “shut down Lively and AFTAH.”

When reported, the Chicago Police would not pursue the incident as a hate crime.  Even as I listened to the exchange, I looked up the definition of “hate crime.”  A “hate crime” is “a crime where the perpetrator has a prejudice against the race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical or mental disabilities of the target.”  Although Lively, a trained attorney,  decried the event as a “hate crime,” the police registered it as “vandalism.”  Agreed.  This was not a crime against a Christian for his views; this was a criminal reaction against Lively and AFTAH, two groups both solidly anti-gay enough to score positions on the Southern Poverty Law list of “Hate Groups.”

The tossed brick

Brown and Lively continued the chatty exchange:

  • The police department in a “deliberate attempt to prevent the gay community from  getting any negative publicity” had decided to not call the action a hate crime, but vandalism” instead.  SL
  • “Chicago has been  under the control of the far left for a long time and the individual officers may have marched in the Gay Pride Parade themselves.   I would not be surprised.”  SL
  • “The fact is homosexual activists have accomplished a lot by adopting the underdog status.” MB
  • “This [homosexual radicalism] is the issue of  not just of our times, but of the end times.” MB
  • Christians “would be derelict in our duties as believers to not be involved in this issue.” MB
  • MB on SL:  Scott Lively “is standing for country, standing for rightousness.”  MB
  • Playing “devil’s advocate”, MB asks “Why go to Uganda to provoke them to write the ‘Kill the Gays Bill’?” Lively answers, he went to Uganda in 2002 as a keynote on a conference on pornography and obscenity and to assist in the “pro-family” movement.
  • Gay men from the US and Europe started going to Uganda in 2003 and “kicked off a sexual revolution”  “messing with the boys” and“paying little girls to recruit lesbians.” SL
  • Lively hoped to bring the first world model of “rehabilitation from homosexuality just like when I was rehabilitated as an alcoholic” to Uganda and “spoke to the Ugandan Parliament and churches.” SL
  • Lively, with the unique expertise of “overlaying gay history over mainstream history,” is able to cite gay people as the root of the holocaust because “Romans 1 teaches that the reprobate mind was lived out in Germany.”  He documents this in “The Pink Swastika.”  SL

How does a Book with a message of love, grace and equality get so tangled in this “the gays are destroying marriage, families and society” mess?  Clearly, there is danger in taking the tenets of the God-inspired Book of Truth and placing them atop man-biased beliefs of fear.  To Brown, Lively and  about half of the Christian Church, being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is a choice and a sin.  When you overlay a “sinful, chosen behavior” with a few verses in the Bible, taken out of context and mistranslated, it results in the attitudes so clearly expressed between Brown and Lively on “Line of Fire.”

If we, as Christians, fail to understand the natural diversity of God’s creation in sexual orientation and try to impose the expectations that Brown, Lively and others have on an entire class of people, we will join in the fear-based biases, the withholding of equality and the exclusion of non-heterosexual Christians from our faith communities.  Never could I have imagined Jesus and the Apostle John having the exchange I heard on Brown’s radio show.

I have given up on trying to influence either Brown or Lively, both with whom I have had extensive interaction.  But, watching and listening, are well-intended, good Christian people trying to discern the truth in this dialogue.  All one needs do is pay attention to the tone of the message.  Fear, lies, misinformation and discrimination are not Jesus-values.  Use God eyes and ears in truth-seeking; you’ll find it.

Charlotte Pride and “God Has A Better Way”- Competing Messages

From CanyonWalker Connections:

On Saturday, August 27, two events are planned in Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Gay Pride and “God Has a Better Way”.

The goals of Charlotte Gay Pride are to:

  • Celebrate LGBT families from the Charlotte area
  • Provide LGBT individuals with a place to celebrate without harassment
  • Advance LGBT rights and visibility in the Charlotte community
  • Enpower individuals to be themselves in a relaxed and accepting environment

Also planned for August 27th is “God Has a Better Way” (GHABW)  a joint effort of the Charlotte based Coalition of Conscience  and The Speak Truth Project. The goals of GHABW are to:

  • Gather hundreds of “worshipers, intercessors, musicians, soul-winners, walkers, talkers and believers of every age, color and size to stand together”
  • To “walk through or surround the (Charlotte Gay Pride) event to evangelize, sing, pray, hand out water and reach out with love to those in attendance while resisting the (gay) agenda.”
  • And, they “expect this to be a challenging day as sexual immorality, wickedness, and rejection will abound, nevertheless, into the battle (they) must go-and (they) have a plan.”
More on the story here.

Jesus Left Room For Same Sex Marriage- And New York Moved In

Kathy gives us more food for though in her journey to counter Christianists with common sense, biblical scholarship and (gasp) love:

What if clever, see-into-the-future Jesus, right there in Matthew 19, were saying to the disciples, “There are some people that do not fit into your husband/wife understanding of marriage, nor will they in the future. There will be some who cannot be confined by that one man + one woman dynamic, nor is this model given for them.”

“Don’t be messin’ with the Biblical model of marriage,” you may caution me. “Right there in Genesis 2:24 it says ‘a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.’ Right there.” Well, the Hebrew word translated to “shall” in many translations is best translated in the imperfect tense as “will”. Some men will leave father and mother and join with a woman. And, according to Jesus, some will not fit the mold. For them, the model will not work.

The term “Biblical Marriage” in itself is interesting. Shelves in Christian bookstores are filledwith advice instructing us how to live out the perfect “Biblical marriage”.  I suggest that our contemporary norm for marriage is the cultural adaptation of Biblical principles that have evolved over the past two centuries. Do I want a marriage mimicking that of the average woman of Jesus day (or prior)? Do I, as a woman, want to be treated as property, told who to marry or be one of many in a stable of cuties? No.

Actually, hell no.

Read it all here.

Kathy Goes To SF Pride

Kathy (and message)

My friend Kathy is on a crusade- to let all LGBT persons know that not all Christians are out to hurt them- and I heartily support her work. This kind and loving woman is a fantastic ally of our community, and I’m very happy to help her in any way I can.

This week she’s posted about her experience in San Francisco at Gay Pride- and it’s a great read.

Excerpt:

For four years, I’ve been going to San Francisco Gay Pride wearing  a printed shirt that says “Hurt by Church? Get a Str8Apology Here.”  Accepting and affirming churches are present. They host booths and walk in the parade, but I walk around with a big target on my front and back inviting conversation. The idea came to me one day on a hike  while I  was  wondering, “How I could make my experience of serving with a church in SF more meaningful?”

Last weekend, I went to SF Pride again. It’s never easy. Even I, who can engage a deaf, mute rock, can still be intimidated. The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community has been told by Christians that it is too far from the reach of God, unless, of course, they get rid of their non-hetero sexual orientation. I go to these events carrying  the message that God is sexual orientation and gender identity neutral God who loves them. Just as He loves straight, go-to-church-every-Sunday, Bible-reading me.

Read about her adventures- and the amazing people she meets- here. It’s inspiring.

Answering Hate With Love- And Sense

Dr Michael Brown, an ex-heroin-shooting Jewish rock drummer turned Christian theologian, has a thing about The Gays.  He’s written a book called “A Queer Thing Happened To America- and what a long, strange trip it’s been”.

I don’t read anti-gay Christian books. It’s completely humiliating for me. But my friend Kathy does- and she crafts excellent responses to them. She takes apart Brown’s book. Excerpt:

Dr. Brown writes: “Is it so hateful to believe that homosexual practice is harmful and that change is possible? (If a doctor takes issue with you or me being overweight, do we brand him or her an anti-fat, hate-filled bigot, or do we recognize that the doctor is expressing concern for our well being? Isn’t the doctor trying to be helpful rather hateful?)

That  analogy falls apart quickly. When you suggest that an overweight person cut back and deny themselves excess calories, they get healthier. When you tell a gay person to deny their sexual orientation, that is when you get all the symptoms from shame to depression to addictions to suicide at the extreme.

Amen. Read her entire response here.