What Christians Must Do in the Wake of Orlando

Lastly, please avoid qualifying your lament in any way. To insist on saying that you “disagree” with same-sex marriage as part of your statement about murdered LGBT people is dehumanizing. It communicates that, even in our deaths, we are still an issue to be debated rather than people of inviolable dignity and worth. This is not an acceptable time to mention your opposition to marriage equality.

What we need to hear is this: God loves lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people unconditionally. You love us and are committed to making the church the sanctuary it always should have been for us. Sadly, I have never heard a pastor who opposes same-sex marriage give a sermon declaring God’s love for LGBT people without including caveats about his or her opposition to same-sex relationships. If there were ever a time to give that sermon—and to give it with genuine humility, compassion and an openness to learn and grow—now is the time. Churches will be marked in the LGBT community for years to come by how they respond to us in this moment. Please do all you can to let that mark be one of unconditional love.

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A Fresh Gay Face Is Shaking Things Up in Evangelical Land

When Matthew Vines burst onto the evangelical scene in 2012, he could have become another one-hit wonder of viral videos. A YouTube video of the 21-year-old outlining a scriptural defense of monogamous, Christ-centered same-sex relationships showed up on LGBT blogs and Facebook timelines all over.

Since then, he has established The Reformation Project, an organization aimed to change Christians minds on same-sex relationships, and he’s published God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. Three years later, Vines is an emerging voice in Christian conversations on the intersections of faith, gender, and sexuality.

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40 questions for Christians who oppose marriage equality

Kevin DeYoung wrote a widely-shared article at The Gospel Coalition this week called “40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags.” Given that I’ve already answered many of his questions in my book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, I decided instead to pose 40 questions of my own to Christians who oppose marriage equality.

Too often, LGBT-affirming Christians are the only ones asked to explain and defend their views. But there are many pressing questions that non-affirming Christians frequently do not address. Here are some of them.

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I’m Gay, Christian—And No Longer an Outcast

As we move into a post-Obergefell world, one of the defining questions ahead is what kind of peace conservative Christians can make with the LGBT community. It won’t be easy, and long-term acrimony and polarization are certainly a possible outcome. But if there’s a better way forward—and I’m convinced that there is—then that path will be forged by those best positioned to bridge the gap: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians themselves.

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Even Christian Evangelicals are warming to gay marriage

Evangelicals are starting to change their minds about gay marriage. In recent months, three large evangelical churches — EastLakeCommunity Church in Seattle, Washington, GracePointe Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and City Church in San Francisco, California — have announced that they no longer believe all same-sex relationships are sinful. Leading evangelical ethicist David Gushee changed his position on the issue in a landmark speech last fall, and celebrated pastor Campolo did the same in a statement on his website earlier this month.

This new pro-gay movement among evangelicals is still a minority, and staunch conservatives have been pushing back. But bit by bit, the number of American evangelicals who support marriage equality continues to rise.

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Gay evangelical Christian to speak at SF Pride

A young gay evangelical Christian will take the main stage at San Francisco Pride this weekend with a message he’s hoping the throngs of people will hear.

Matthew Vines, who stopped attending Harvard University after two years, is an evangelical Christian from Kansas. He’s on a mission to appeal to Christians who will listen to him about homosexuality and same-sex relationships.

Vines believes that he can be openly gay and hold on to his Christian community and tradition. The author of God and the Gay Christian , Vines will be speaking at the San Francisco Pride main stage Sunday, June 28 at noon despite never having been to such a large LGBT Pride event before.

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Atlanta Conference Focuses On LGBT Inclusion In The Church

This week, about 300 Christians will convene at the Sheraton Atlanta for what organizers call a “Bible-based training to advance LGBT inclusion in the church.”

Matthew Vines, author of the book “God and the Gay Christian” and the event’s organizer, says the conference is meant to reach evangelicals who already affirm LGBT people.

“They may already be in a place of much more openness and support, but a lot of times their friends, their families, their pastors are not,” Vines said on Thursday’s “A Closer Look.”

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Author Matthew Vines talks LGBT inclusion in churches

“This is about gradual, long-term change that endures. I’m not expecting mountains to move overnight. What we’re trying to do is lay the foundation for mountains to move eventually.”

The Reformation Project will hold a regional training conference Thursday afternoon through Saturday at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, 165 Courtland St. N.E. For more information, go to www.reformationproject.org/atl15.

He doesn’t want to blast Christians who believe same-sex relationships are sinful. “We don’t want to dismiss those people, but to honor and respect where they’re coming from by engaging them in a really thoughtful way and encourage them to revisit their interpretation of the Bible.”

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Evangelicals Open Door to Debate on Gay Rights

As a young, gay Christian activist, Matthew Vines considered it a victory just to get into a room at a conservative Christian university here with four influential evangelicals who disagreed with him over what the Bible says about homosexuality.

He ended up in a polite, heartfelt three-hour debate last month over Scripture passages about topics like celibacy, eunuchs, slavery — and the connections between sex and marriage….

Mr. Vines says he has held about three dozen meetings all over the country in the last year with evangelical leaders who oppose his ideas. Some of the gatherings have been public and high profile. He spoke at the Q Conference, a prominent showcase for evangelical thinkers, in Boston in April — an appearance denounced by some conservatives.

But most of his meetings have been private. He has talked with small groups of pastors in Phoenix and Nashville and shared his story over coffee or lunch, often one on one, in places like Atlanta; Chicago; Orlando, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; and Greenville, S.C.

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Half of LGB Americans Identify As Christian

The findings could represent a culture shift, says Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian.

“Many people might find that figure surprising, in large part because the majority of LGBT people represented in the media don’t identify as Christians,” Vines told The Advocate.

“The ‘Christians vs. LGBT people’ narrative that we hear so often is part of the story, but as the Pew poll shows, it’s not all of it. In fact, it’s the 48 percent of LGBT Americans who are Christians who are best positioned to change both religious attitudes about same-sex marriage and secular attitudes about religion. As LGBT Christians continue to find their voice, they’ll be changing both their churches and the LGBT community for the better.”

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