By Alan Bean
A conference on Christian sexuality in Decatur, Ga. has explicitly addressed the challenges and opportunities facing gay Christians. What’s more, the conference was sponsored by Baptists!
In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that the divinity student featured in the lead portion of Bob Allen’s article in the Associated Baptist Press attends my home church, Broadway Baptist in Fort Worth, Texas.
Here’s the crucial excerpt from Allen’s article:
Cody Sanders, a Ph.D. candidate at Brite Divinity School and member of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas — a congregation kicked out of the Southern Baptist Convention for its full acceptance of openly gay members — said without homosexuality many Christians might never be forced to think about things like power inequalities in heterosexual relationships or how idolizing the traditional nuclear family marginalizes others like single-parent and extended-family configurations to a second class.
“Rather than a tolerable but undesirable ‘Plan B,’ LGBT relationships are stellar examples of covenant forged in the fires of oppression and marginalization,” Sanders said at a three-day [Baptist] Conference on Sexuality and Covenant co-sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Mercer University’s Center for Theology and Public Life.
I’m not sure that Broadway has come to the point of fully accepting gay members, but we have decided not to adopt the default Baptist position on the issue, and we have been kicked out of the Southern Baptist Convention for our trouble. Broadway is a moderate church comprising a full range of conservative, moderate and liberal members.
I can’t tell you how liberating it is to hear my Baptist brothers and sisters facing these difficult questions in such a thoughtful setting, even if we remain far from agreement. Avoiding the issue is not a long-term option. Please read Allen’s full article and let us know what you think.