(Australian) Gay Christians hope for church acceptance

LIKE four in ten same-sex couples, James Nevein, 49, and David Witte, 50, identify themselves as Christians.

They are part of a statistic that strikes at the heart of the debate around same-sex marriage, and one that many hope will validate them in the eyes of the church.

At the 2011 census, Christianity was the number one religion among gay and lesbian couples – with 40 per cent of couples practising the faith compared to 60 per cent of opposite-sex couples.

 Forty-eight per cent declared no religion, compared to 20 per cent of opposite-sex couples. Buddhism was the second most common among same-sex couples, at 4 per cent compared to 2.6 per cent of opposite-sex couples.

The census data was released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday as part of a report into the lives of people living in gay and lesbian relationships.

Mr Nevein, who is on the board of Freedom2b, a support group for gay people from Christian backgrounds, said it was evidence that he and members of the same-sex Christian community were not in a minority. ”In every church, from the Pentecostal to the Quakers, there are gay and lesbian people there,” he said. ”Churches are going to have to consider this issue.”

He said churches needed to acknowledge their existence in order to prevent same-sex couples from feeling alienated.

”Why would you identify with an organisation that, for most of the last 2000 years has hated you, either openly or silently, unless you had a very deep sense of belonging?

”The church has a lot to answer for, but there is also a lot of hope.”

Read more at The Age

Enhanced by Zemanta

Christians must confront their own ‘disgust’ over homosexuality, says Archbishop

Dr Rowan Williams acknowledged that the Church was still “scratching its head” about where it stands on issues like same-sex marriage despite its vocal public opposition to the Government’s plan to legalise it.

In his most frank public comments to date on the subject, the Archbishop accepted that the Church was in a “tangle” over homosexuality.

On one hand many Christians may themselves be “wrestling” with their own sexuality while others appeared to display only strong feelings of revulsion, he said.

The issue of women bishops – due to come to a head at the Church of England’s General Synod in York next week – was another matter which helped give the impression that sex was “the only thing the Church is interested in”, he remarked.

His comments came during a discussion day for a group of Christian teenagers at Lambeth Palace.

 – full report at Daily Telegraph.

Enhanced by Zemanta

New York councilwoman talks being gay in the church

A unique new voice has been added to the debate stirred by Bill Keller’s New York Times column: Should liberal Catholics simply leave a church that clearly no longer wants them? Her answer to that question may surprise you.

Christine Quinn is the speaker of the New York City Council and a leading candidate to succeed Michael Bloomberg as mayor. She is Catholic, and she is gay.

Quinn gave a free-wheeling interview this weekend to NPR, covering everything from her political views to her family history (her maternal grandmother survived the sinking of the Titanic). But toward the end of the segment, the topic turned to her sexual identity and her faith.

Quinn spoke movingly of how her father first rejected her when she came out but then apologized and reconciled. He now comes over to City Hall to visit her every day and was to march with his daughter in the Gay Pride parade over the weekend. All well and good, said NPR interviewer David Greene — but what about your faith and your church? How does that work?

She gave a very New York, no-nonsense answer:

QUINN: Well, it’s just who I am. I mean, I’m Catholic and I’m gay. There’s not much to deal with. It’s who I am. It’s how I wake up every morning.

GREENE: But your church, obviously, doesn’t, you know, officially accept that.

QUINN: Right. That’s kind of their problem, not mine. I mean, I just don’t dwell on it. I’m not really sure what the upside of me dwelling on it would be. I mean, I was raised Catholic, I take a lot of comfort and inspiration and motivation and support from my faith. I get what they kind of see in some political issues. They get that we’re not in agreement on that. But that doesn’t make me not who I am. It’s still who I am.

GREENE: Do you ever wake up and think I need to leave this church, I need to leave this faith, I …

QUINN: No. Well, how can you leave a faith? A faith is who you are. It’s what’s inside of you. It’s how you see the world. It’s what inspires you. It’s what comforts you. It’s what uplifts you in the dark days. You can’t leave a faith. The faith is who you are. It’s what you have. Why should I leave the church? It’s my church. They’re the ones who have the wrong perspective. I’m not going to leave. If I leave, it’s as if they won. I’m going to go into any church any time I want to, whenever I want to. It’s my church. And no one’s ever asked me to and no one ever will.

To me, Quinn’s directness and confidence about her place in the church was a breath of fresh air. There’s an honesty that even New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan might appreciate.

And she might even have coined a rallying cry for people feeling pushed out of the church by its current direction: “That’s kind of their problem, not mine.”

National Catholic Reporter

Enhanced by Zemanta

“Persons With An Inclination To Abuse”

Bishop Cordileone is in that group of Bishops who can be defined as carrying the cross of  ‘persons with an inclination to abuse’.

Oakland California’s Bishop Salvatore Cordileone has upped the stakes in the Catholic identity movement.  He is demanding the Board of Directors of the gay and lesbian pastoral outreach group CALGM take an ‘oath of personal integrity’ to Catholic teaching–his version anyway.  This is hubris beyond belief given the USCCB has once again refused to have their own integrity to the Dallas Charter policed by anyone other than their own individual conscience. No ‘oath of personal integrity’ for them,  Cardinal Archbishops like Timmy Dolan can continue to bribe predator priests to leave the priesthood while simultaneously inventing any dubious strategy under the sun to avoid paying victims.  On the other hand CALGM has to start referring to their intended pastoral group as “persons with a homosexual inclination” rather than as gay and lesbian. Oh, and take a loyalty oath to their fuhrer with a crozier.  Does it get anymore insulting or absurd?
-full commentary at Enlightened Catholicism
Enhanced by Zemanta

Gays & Lesbians in Luke

Introduction

Most people believe that Jesus never mentioned homosexuals. I have discovered that not only did Jesus mention gays and lesbians, he used two gay and lesbian couples to illustrate his teaching that celibacy for gay and lesbian believers was a non-issue.

The Evidence for the Same-Sex Theme

Luke 17:20-37 contains four pieces of same-sex thematic evidence.

  1. The story of the destruction of Sodom, a major element of which is man-on-man sex. (This is true, despite the core issue of hospitality.)
  2. The lightning and the eagles (verses 24 & 37), the primary logos of Zeus and his mortal companion Ganymede, who together were the ultimate cultural emblem of same-sex relationships in Roman culture.
  3. The “Two men in one bed” of verse 34, whose only O.T. antecedents were the Levitical prohibitions against a man laying with a man as with a woman.
  4. The “Two women grinding together in one place” of verse 35, whose double-entendre “grinding” is confirmed from both the O.T. and the Greek actually in use in the time of Christ and Luke. The word “mill,” which is present in Matthew, is absent from Luke, which absence leaves the ”grinding” ambiguous.

We need to recognize the striking same-sex element of each individual part before the meaning of the passage is clear.  The repeated phrase, “one shall be taken, and the other shall be left,” refers to the members of the gay and lesbian couples, who seem romantically involved ”in that night” (verse 34). Thus, according to Luke’s Gay Apocalypse, some non-celibate gays and lesbians are acceptable to God, and some are not.  Lesson: homosexuality is not among the criteria for non-acceptability to Christ or to God. (Note: this separation may or may not refer to what is known as the rapture. The nature of the separation is irrelevant to the argument.)

-full exposition at Bible Thumping Liberal

Enhanced by Zemanta

Committing the Sin of Honesty

Father Bernard Lynch, 65, who should know, estimates that half the men in the Catholic priesthood arae homosexul. Lynch has paid a severeprice for being one of the few to come out and affirm his sexuality, a story recounted in his timely and insightful book, “If It Wasn’t Love: Sex, Death and God“.

Father John McNeill, 86, wrote the grounndbreaking “The Church and the Homosexual” in the 1970s and attracted international media for his assertion that gay love was moral, eventually coming out himself. His unusual and inspiring journey is the subject of a fine new documentary by Irish – American gay activist Brendan Fay, “Taking a Chance on God, ” that is making the LGBT festival circuit. It premiered in New York on June 16 at a screening sponsored by Dignity New York, the LGBT Catholic group that McNeill co-founded 40 years ago.

I worked with both priests in my own Dignity days in the late 1970’s, as a readers of Lynch’s manuscript. apppeared briefly in the McNeill documentary, and am proud to be their friends. But unlike them, I left the Catholic Church 30 years ago. Despite my own firm atheism. I have deep admiration for the lives, work, and bravery of these men of God.

-complete profile by Andy Humm at  Gay City News.

Enhanced by Zemanta

An Introduction to the Theology of Gay Pride

June is Gay Pride Month.

Gay Pride is, simply, being proud of being gay, being proud of who God created you to be, recognizing the gift of human diversity, and that one’s sexual orientation is inherent, not “learned.”

June came to be recognized as Pride Month because the Stonewall uprising (“Stonewall riots”) took place in June 1969.

Some Christians who for various reasons do not like “Gay Pride” will often point to the use of the word “pride,” and say that pride is a sin.

Pride is, of course, a sin. But sinful pride is not what is referred to by “Gay Pride.”

Sinful pride is the desire to be more important or attractive than others, not recognizing the good work of others, and loving oneself excessively. Dante, when speaking of the “7 Deadly sins,” says of the sin of pride that it is “love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbor.”

If we consider pride (superbia) as vice, its corresponding virtue is humility (humilitas).

Gay Pride, then, is not sinful pride. This sort of pride is the antonym of shame, not humility. Shame has been used for centuries to control and oppress gay people. Therefore “Gay Pride” is liberation from that oppression, and not the vice of superbia.

For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.

Pax et bonum

Faith in the 21st century

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sister Jeannine Gramick Featured in Nine Short Videos on “The Daily Beast”

Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Dish, housed at The DailyBeast.com is running a series of nine short videos with Sister Jeannine Gramick, New Ways Ministry’s co-founder, on a variety of questions concerning LGBT issues, Catholic church and U.S. politics, and the LCWR crisis and American nuns.   The videos are running every day from June 18-24, and then two more on June 30 and July1.  The video for the day is posted at 12 noon, Eastern Time.

So far, two of nine questions for Sister Jeannine have been posted there.  You can view the video by clicking on each of these two questions:

What do you consider to be the most powerful scriptural basis for LGBT equal rights?

Do you think civil marriage should be available for gay and lesbian couples?

The blog offers the following short bio of Sister Jeannine:

“Sister Jeannine Gramick is a Roman Catholic religious sister and a co-founder of the activist organization New Ways Ministry, a Catholic social justice center working for justice and reconciliation of lesbian and gay people with the institutional Catholic Church. After a review of her public activities on behalf of the Church that concluded in a finding of grave doctrinal error, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) declared in 1999 that she should no longer be engaged in pastoral work with lesbian and gay persons. In 2000, her congregation, in an attempt to thwart further conflict with the Vatican, commanded her not to speak publicly about homosexuality. She responded by saying, ‘I choose not to collaborate in my own oppression by restricting a basic human right [to speak]. To me this is a matter of conscience.’ “

As always is the case when listening to Sister Jeannine, you should find the video interviews informative, respectful, forthright, and inspiring.

Enhanced by Zemanta

God loves LGBTs says ‬Catholic Filipino author

New book by Raymond Alikpala says ‘being gay is a special grace from God’

Coming to terms with one’s self is not easy for homosexuals in a society where gender is limited to either male or female.

Raymond Alikpala, 46, a lawyer and formerly a seminarian, knows very well the anguish of living in the shadows having done so in the first 38 years of his life.

“I came out because I was tired of hiding who I really am. I wanted to be able to finally live my life honestly and proudly. I stopped caring about what others would think should they find out I  ambakla (gay),” says Alikpala.

He shares his story of growing up a devout Catholic and harboring the secret of his homosexuality in a book “Of God and Men” to be launched June 16, 2012 at  3  p.m. at  Bestsellers Bookstore,  4th Level, Robinson’s Galleria, Pasig City.

Alikpala said a number of his friends encouraged him to write his story “as catharsis for my years in the closet.” He felt however that “it was much more than that.”

Perhaps because of his years in the seminary, Alikpala’s objective in writing the book is more evangelical. “To spread the good news that God loves bakla, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders and transsexuals as much as She loves all Her other children.”

Yahoo News, Philippines

Enhanced by Zemanta

Defining Exodus: A Letter from Alan Chambers (Extracts)

We want to reiterate that our mission is, first and foremost, to serve, support and equip the Church in providing refuge to individuals or families impacted by same-sex attractions (SSA).  Quite simply, our goal is to make the Church famous for loving and serving people as Jesus would and pointing them to Him.

While my office seeks to serve the Church, the 260 churches, ministries and counselors here in North America and our alliance of partner ministries across the world are there to serve individuals who freely come to them for support.  People seeking this encouragement and guidance do so because they have decided to pursue an identity or life based on their relationship with Christ over their same-sex attractions. In most cases these are Christian men and women who desire to live in accordance to God’s design for sexuality, clearly defined in scripture.   Exodus also has an extensive support system for family members or friends of those who are same-sex attracted and/or gay identified.

We believe that in Christ we have been given completely new hearts and the ability to have power over the sin that remains confined to our earthly flesh.  While believers absolutely can fall to temptation, the mark of a maturing believer is finding increased victory in areas that have, at times, overwhelmed us. Exodus does not believe in a punishing or demanding God, but One who loves us as a perfect Father and desires the very best for us. For our benefit He has given us boundaries in scripture on a host of matters relating to life, including human sexuality.

We respect everyone’s right to pursue their own course as it relates to seeking resolution for struggles. No one is ever coerced, forced into therapy, nor do we seek to ‘pray away the gay’ as many have suggested.  In fact we are no longer an organization that associates with or promotes therapeutic practices that focus on changing one’s attraction.  I found the greatest amount of freedom when I stopped focusing on my sin and struggles and started focusing on the grace and peace found only in Christ and the man He created me to be.  This life isn’t most about sin management but about living daily as the sons and daughters of God.  In part, it is the peace and rest found in that identity alone that transforms us daily.

-full letter at Exodus International

Enhanced by Zemanta