conversation, conversion, evangelism, gay, grace, homosexuality, lecture, lesbian, outreach, testimony, worldview
I listened to Dr. Butterfield’s lecture yesterday while at the gym. I’ll be listening to the balance of the Q&A when I drive in to work this morning.
This is a really, really excellent talk. She has a beautiful story, and tells it very well.
I think what worries me about this talk is the context this story is being told in, and the way that context may hear and then replicate her message. She is telling an honest narrative of her journey. However, I am assuming that her audience consists of primarily straight Christians who are ignorant of this subject. If that is the case, her honest narrative communicates several other messages as well:
That “gay” is synonymous with humanism, progressivism, and extreme secularism. Granted, she never actually defines what the word gay means, so people may walk away thinking it means attraction, behavior, lust, identity, and partnership. With such an assumption, the only reasonable conclusion is that “gay” and all it entails is utterly incompatible with a person who is not progressive, not humanist, and not secular. It is incompatible with a faithful life.
That simply isn’t true. There are a huge number of people for whom homosexuality is an unchanging reality and that co-exists, for better or for worse, with their faith. Her story presents a polarized world: that there are “gay people” on one side who are opposed to God, humanistic and the equivalent of idol worshipers, and on the other side are Christians, who give all that up. The experiences of thousands of LGBT Christians, ex-gay Christians, Affirming gay Christians, Non-affirming gay Christians demonstrate that that simply isn’t the case. People and their journeys are horribly complex, and infinitely varied.
I fear that, while she is honest about her own journey, that she is defeating the stated purpose of this talk in the first place. She is giving this straight audience a narrative that, ultimately, isn’t completely true to other gay people and will only hurt people when applied.
I have some similar, though not identical, concerns. I started to compose them here and realized I should probably write a blog about it.
If you do, I look forward to hearing your perspective.
I like this response to Rosaria’s story. I don’t think anyone wants to discredit her individual story. What is most worrisome is using this one single story to help perpetuate the sterotypes of gay people….. to use her story as the path for all gay christians. THAT is what most of these churches are doing. I could respect such churches if they were as willing to have someone like Matthew Vines get up and tell his story.
I completely agree…however, I haven’t seen much evidence of this in Rosaria’s case so far. Are you aware of any examples of this, James? (Or is this a drive-by comment?)