Record – Newsletter

Fall 2009

“People who portray gay adults as godless, hedonistic, Christian-bashers are not working with the facts”, says evangelical pollster George Barna, founder of the research firm, The Barna Group. Reporting in July on a nationwide survey of 9,232 Americans over the last two years, Barna states: “A substantial majority of gays cite their faith as a central facet of their life, consider themselves to be Christian, and claim to have some type of meaningful personal commitment to Jesus Christ active in [their] life today.” Read more →

Summer 2009

“People like you should be shot and killed!” That’s what was shouted at Don Dent and Terry Tebedo when they visited Northwest Bible Church in Dallas in 1987. They vowed never to go back. Terry died of AIDS the following year.

Don has since become a serious Christian and has come to know a younger generation of Christians who are showing him God’s grace as it was not shown before. He’s learning from them and they’re learning from him. Read more →

Spring 2009

Evangelical leaders are partnering with progressive think tank Third Way to find common ground in “culture war” issues such as gay rights, abortion and immigration reform. Mercer University ethicist David Gushee says that, at the core of the coalition’s Come Let Us Reason Together agenda is a “concern for human dignity”. He grants that some of his fellow Southern Baptists recoil at gay rights, but “denying someone a job in a secular workplace due to their sexual orientation violates human dignity and serves no public purpose.” Among other evangelicals involved in this common cause are Florida megachurch pastor Joel C. Hunter, Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Robert P. Jones of Faith in Public Life and Jonathan Merritt of the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative. Read more →

Winter 2009

“Which issue is most important to you in this election?” Evangelical publisher, Christianity Today, polled its on-line readers at the end of October and this was the response to the question: Abortion (29%), Economy (23%), Foreign Policy (8%), Same-sex Marriage (7%), Terrorism (6%), Health Care (6%), Poverty (5%), Energy 2%), Environment (1%), Education (1%), Immigration (1%).
On November 4, most Californians voted “Yes” on Prop 8, banning marriage for same-sex couples. The vote was 52 percent to 48 percent. But that was a shift in a gay-positive direction. In 2000, the percentage spread was 61-39 against same-sex marriage.
Misty Irons, a self-defined “straight, married with three kids, homeschooling, evangelical Christian of the Reformed variety”, voted “No” on Prop 8. She blogs: “I myself voted for Prop 22 in 2000. I’m one of those voters who swung to the other side. … Despite the fear-mongering, lies, misinformation, prejudice, ignorance, and yes, sincerely held religious beliefs that homosexual unions go against the moral teaching of the Bible (which I myself hold to), 48 percent of Californians somehow waded through all that and saw a simple truth: when it is placed in your hands to vote on somebody else’s marriage, somebody else’s life, somebody else’s dreams, have the decency to let them be.” Irons’ observations are at moremusingson.blogspot.com. Read more →

Winter 2008

“Disdain for gay individuals”, according to the latest Barna Research, “has become virtually synonymous with the Christian faith” so far as Americans aged 16-29 are concerned. “Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is ‘anti-homosexual’. Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young church goers say this phrase describes Christianity.” Barna president David Kinnaman discusses these findings in a new book, unChristian (Baker). Both Christians and non-Christians “believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians. One of the most frequent criticisms of young Christians was that they believe the church has made homosexuality a ‘bigger sin’ than anything else.” Kinneman says he was “surprised how much their perceptions were rooted in specific stories and personal interactions with Christians and in churches. When they labeled Christians as judgmental this was not merely spiritual defensiveness. It was frequently the result of truly ‘unChristian’ experiences. We discovered that the descriptions that young people offered of Christianity were more thoughtful, nuanced, and experiential than expected.” Read more →

Fall 2008

“That man is really disgusting.” This was Francis Schaeffer’s assessment of Jerry Falwell, “growled” to son Frank once the two were out of Falwell’s earshot. The apologist was reacting to antigay bigotry Falwell had suddenly blurted: “If I had a dog that did what they do, I’d shoot him!” Schaeffer says his father had tried to inform Falwell that homosexuality is “complicated”. This incident is recalled in Schaeffer’s 2007 memoir, Crazy for God. Read more →

Summer 2008

A. J. Jacobs’ first bestseller was on his reading through the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. Now he’s come up with an equally fascinating and humorous account of his Year of Living Biblically (Simon and Schuster). Christianity Today’s Books & Culture review sums: “At its heart, this is a book about all the various ways religious people pick and choose, the most famous being many Christians’ fixation on the six biblical statements about homosexual relations in comparison to what Jacobs claims are seven thousand – seven thousand! – biblical comments on how to treat the poor.” Read more →

Spring 2008

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is warning the Church of England to reject so-called “reparative therapy” for homosexuals. The psychiatrists state that attempting to change one’s sexual orientation “can be deeply damaging. Although there is now a number of therapists and organizations in the USA and in the UK that claim that therapy can help homosexuals to become heterosexual, there is no evidence that such change is possible. Read more →

Fall 2007

“By no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete.” This is what Alan Chambers, head of the Exodus “ex-gay” network, told the Los Angeles Times in mid-June. He admits to his own continuing sexual attraction to men while now married to a woman and identifying as “straight”. And he’s now joining a long line of “ex-gay” leaders who, when pressed, back away from the term, “ex-gay”. Yet they continue to speak of “change”. Chambers has said often: sexual orientation “is not a light switch you can turn on and off.” But Exodus still uses the term, “ex-gay”. And radio promotion for a recent Exodus conference promises change that is “sudden, radical and complete”. Read more →

Summer 2007

A Calvin College theater professor has compiled over 100 interviews with gay and lesbian Christians. She’s crafting the material into a play. Stephanie Sandberg says the gay students she’s known over the years have gone through “a lot of stress. They are under a lot of pressure both psychologically and spiritually.” Her play, Seven Passages: The Stories of Gay Christians, is “a theater of testimony giving voice to the voiceless.” The play’s title refers to the seven Bible passages used against gay people. Sandberg says scripture will be used in the play to offer a respectful balance. Though her “goal is to love one another”, she’s been told her project is “going to cause pain and divisiveness and lead many people to an eternity in hell”. Performances will begin in September. For details go to www.7passages.blogspot.com. Read more →

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