People Need to Talk

the_art_of_conversation_by_rttmsdag-d32q8ocTuesday January 24, 2017 I had these six interactions throughout the day:

  1. I spoke by phone with a pastor in our area who is transgender (female to male), processing his spiritual journey.
  2. A dear friend’s son had come out of the closet the previous week, and the dad was trying to figure out what to do about that.
  3. I received a call from a pastor who was planning on leaving our denomination because we’d become ‘unblibilcal’ (his word).
  4. I heard the story of a young woman who said she would come to Sunday worship because she couldn’t believe there was a church that talked about these things (she had stopped going to church because these things weren’t discussed).
  5. I processed with a dad how to respond to his 12 year old daughter who had asked him aggressively the night before, “Dad, what do you think about homosexuality?”
  6. My son called from college to process his experience with a Queer Christian Fellowship group on campus.

And that was just one day. The next day, I launched this blog.

It’s been two months since I started the LGBTQConversations blog, and as of the writing of this post, there have been 16,956 page views of this blog. I’m stunned by that number. Whether we are comfortable with it or not, people are interested in these conversations. And there are so many more to have.

Today, for example, I’m part of a denominational vote on whether marriage should be defined as only between a man and a woman. That’s a big conversation.

Yesterday an old friend wrote me a long Facebook message pondering these things, asking me if I thought homosexuality was a sin. That’s a big conversation.

This morning I was asked by a person who I’m guessing is transgender, “If you had a magic wand that could turn all the LGBTQIA folks into cisgender heterosexuals, would you wave it—why or why not?” That’s a big conversation.

And this morning I got an email from man I’ve never met who asked to grab coffee with me. He told me about being raised in a Christian home and coming out to his family earlier this month. As he ponders what’s next for him in terms of relationships and his process of thinking about what the bible says, he concluded with the line “I know that if I were to do my own thing without seeking God’s approval I would be ruined with guilt.” That’s a big conversation, too.

There are a lot of other really important things to talk about in the church. For whatever reason, this is just one of those things that God continues to bring to me.

So I’ll keep having the conversations.

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Author: Bill White

I am a pastor at City Church of Long Beach, a friend to many LGBTQ people, and a conversation partner for people all over the spectrum of beliefs about how being LGBTQ and Christian fit together.

6 thoughts on “People Need to Talk”

  1. Wow, Bill. What you are doing is incredibly important. Very important and overdue.

    I know that you know that but just wanted to encourage you in this.

    Love you, Mike

    On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 10:48 AM, lgbtqconversations wrote:

    > Bill White posted: “Tuesday January 24, 2017 I had these six > interactions throughout the day: I spoke by phone with a pastor in our area > who is transgender (female to male), processing his spiritual journey. A > dear friend’s son had come out of the closet the previous week” >

    Like

  2. You aren’t in Kansas anymore. That’s a crucial issue. If we as Christians have some role in defining our culture, then, these answers are clear and the bible is clear. We should be striving for Kansas. But here in LA, we are cross cultural, right? The bible has an old testament culture laid out in clear passages. You might say it was a public health purpose for Jesus to be born into a relatively healthy straight community. The new testament supports the cultural roles and reinforces the teachings. But, here we are post-all that. Chaos of new letters joining our LGBTQIA (you win) culture. We need to love this culture and plant churches. Are we able to create a culture? Should we? As the Crumudgeon, I don’t think you have a church without a culture. You may have a meeting and a building and a outreach, but there’s something more. Something the world won’t like. We aren’t called to be contemporary and relevant and hip. We can if we don’t loose the love, but that love has to include culture that is safe. Multi-generational safety. When Christ says to bring the children. That means something different to me now. Part of that message is keep it simple. Don’t focus only on the troubled world that twist self realization into a life purpose. Sacrifice to protect and raise healthy culture where children belong…So they can sacrifice their self focus on their own distorted body images, in order, to create a church, a multi-generational church. Something that doesn’t focus on sexual identities or body images. maybe a culture that focuses on children. Simpler Kansas style childhoods. I guess our focus isn’t on children, it’s on adolescents and where they stray. We can go after them, but let’s not pretend they have to like and be attracted to church. If we attract that much, there’s no culture. Yes, they’ll hate us. Yes, they will say we’re the problem. That’s a form of persecution. We are told to be clever with our persuasion, but expect persecution. You might be right here with me on this. I will say that you are clever enough not to offend my sensibilities. That’s why I have some comfort expressing this much this often. I trust you. We are into it. I hope you don’t mind the Curmudgeon at length. I have been grateful for your tolerance along the way. Again, I’m not sure if you agree or tolerate the disagreement. That’s why I’m still with you….

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  3. When I first read the title, I was curious. My first thought was, “no, people need to listen.” I knew that my quick response was indeed missing the point. I have to say that through all of these conversations though, it is evident that you have been available to listen. People feel comfortable enough to talk because you are someone who works hard to give safe space with an ear and mind open to what they are saying. We have to talk. It’s time. I feel like it is so important to go one step further and say we have to listen as well.

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  4. Just catching up on your posts Bill. I continue to be grateful you are writing and sharing. Thank you. That magic wand ask; whoa. No softball questions lobbed your way! 🙂

    Like

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