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I have absolutely heard of your position (and of the co-existence of ‘side A’ and ‘side B’ positions). I have great respect for your view and you should definitely be upheld as an example of living out your faith.

I have never heard anyone say that this view is ‘wrong’, however I’d say the idea that everyone who is born LGBT is automatically called to lifelong celibacy is too much of a burden for many people. I don’t think anyone would say your own position should change - you are called to live out your faith - but that other LGBT people who have prayed and wrestled with their faith the same way you have and have not been called to celibacy or who have found love and wonderful, faith affirming same sex relationships should also be allowed to live out their lives the same way we allow for these differences in the straight community.


There is often a misconception about bisexual people that they are equally attracted to male/female in a 50/50 split.  Often that is not the case, in fact the majority of bisexual people have a preference for one gender over the other.  Their preferences are no more of a choice than straight or gay people. 

If we assume there is no burden on bisexual people to limit themselves to heterosexual relationships we ignore how love works - that we fall in love with an individual person.  If a bisexual person is in love with a same sex partner, of course it would be a burden to tell them they can't be with that person because they can just find someone else of the opposite sex instead.

I hesitate to engage the monogamy question because this is so often brought up whenever LGBT issues are engaged - the slippery slope of 'anything goes' if we allow for LGBT people to be in same sex relationships (along with bestiality, etc. ). If we want to address the idea of polyamory, that is its own issue that has nothing to do with LGBT people.  But I will briefly point out just a few key differences in these topics:

There is an abundance of research that has been done with LGBT persons and how they have core identities at birth that has no equivalent with people in polyamorous relationships.  I don't know of young people struggling with polyamory and committing suicide at higher rates because they are 'denying themselves' the ability to be in a polyamorous relationship.  I don't hear stories of people saying they knew at age 5 or 8 or 10 that they were polyamorous.   If you have quality research showing there is suffering happening, suicide risk, etc then let's look at that and address it but I don't find it helpful as part of this discussion. If this is just meant as a slippery slope argument then I would point out that the same thing was said when we allowed for inter-racial marriage, so I guess we are already going down that slope.

I want to get away from the idea that LGBT people are living a 'lifestyle' or in a way that is 'right for them'.  We are not talking about allowing moral relativism.  When we talk about inclusion in the church it is simply to allow for LGBT people to be held to the same standards that we hold straight people, not taking away any and all standards.


When we talk about lifelong celibacy, it's important to distinguish between circumstantial celibacy (anyone, gay or straight, who never finds a partner, but would like to for example) and the calling to be celibate, such as those in the priesthood or anyone who feels called by God to be celibate.  If the church imposes celibacy on all LGBT persons simply for being born LGBT and no other reason, that is a burden very different than examples of people who 'happen' to be celibate for circumstantial reasons.  I know I would live my life very differently if I lived with the idea that I might meet someone someday, vs being told I never could. Of course there are individual cases where people have heavy burdens to bear because of life circumstances, but that is different than classifying a whole group of people into the 'celibate' group simply because of how they were created. In that case, the church itself is the one placing the burden.  

When it comes to other 'relationships' (again, I hope it is noted that every time the LGBT topic comes up, someone always brings up polyamory, bestiality, pedophelia, etc. and it gets tiresome and I won't spend a lot of time on this, it's been done before). What Jim talked about at this event was the flourishing of people in their relationships and also in their faith, and the fruit that comes from it.  He talked about shalom. When LGBT people are in relationships they flourish the same way that straight people do and in the same conditions. LGBT people are the same as straight people in their need for relational connection. 

If you are making the claim that polyamory, bestiality, etc brings flourishing, then it is up to you to show that is the case.  I don't think it's difficult to make the distinction between momentary or fleeting feelings of 'feeling good' vs long term, lasting peace and wellness. (I should also add that sexual identity and fetish are very different things, this is frankly insulting to our LGBT members to compare them.  I hesitate to even engage with this line of comparison.)

Why is same sex marriage the issue that 'opens the gate' to all other issues?  Why not divorce, or birth control, or men/women's role in the church/family, etc.  Christians are able to disagree on these topics and this is 'allowed.' What is different about this issue?  Saying the Bible is clear on this issue but not the others doesn't hold up for me, as has been pointed out before there are many people who don't think the Bible is clear on this issue.

I see this argument all the time but doesn't it make sense to take each topic individually as it comes?  History shows we have these same concerns every time an issue is contentious.


I'm not 'meeting your objections' likely because we are coming from very different presuppositions. You are giving examples of chosen behavior which is not the same thing as identity.  There is no evidence or research showing that polyamory, swinging, bestiality, and the like are part of a person's born identity, that is why I said they are not good comparisons.  LGBT persons who seek out relationships are doing so for the same reasons straight people do, not because it's a 'practice they favor' any more than a straight person seeking a relationship is a 'practice they favor.'

The burden on the bisexual person is not that they don't statistically have the same chance of meeting someone, it's that if they do want to marry a same sex person they're prohibited from that.  Forced celibacy.

I've been in the CRC for 40 years and I keep hearing these same 'slippery slope,' 'open the gate' arguments' every single time an issue of Biblical interpretation comes up.

All1Body (and others, like Wolterstorff, Justin Lee, Dr. Gushee, Gay Christian Network, etc. ) have provided detailed arguments, books, speeches, etc. explaining why they think same sex marriage is consistent with scripture and I won't reiterate all of that here.  If you don't find their reasoning effective I'm not going to tell you anything that would change your mind.

There is likely a 'multiplicity of arguments' because there is more than one reason to advocate for same sex marriage. 

For the past 5 years it has been my privilege to serve on the board of GIFT Grand Rapids, the non profit started by Jim Lucas. While GIFT is non denominational, I personally am CRC and by nature of being in Grand Rapids many of the people we serve are CRC or former CRC.

I am not sure who you would consider qualified to speak on this topic of whether the CRC is doing a good job walking with its LGBTQ members, but I do know that many people who come to us for help and support are telling the same story again and again, that they are not only not supported by their churches, they are told they must choose between their faith and their identity. If even a handful of CRC churches in West Michigan we’re doing an adequate job of walking with LGBTQ members we would have much less work to do (and God willing someday that will be the case!)

However, the only people that are truly able to answer that question are LGBTQ persons themselves, so I would encourage everyone who is not, to be open, listen, and listen some more to what they have to say about whether they feel safe in their CRC churches. 

I have spent the past few years listening especially to youth in our churches and Christian schools and while I am sure that there is some good one on one faith mentoring that happens, in general the best case scenario seems to be secretive tolerance. I am seeing many young people, LGBTQ and allies, with great hearts for Jesus and many spiritual gifts, leave the CRC for places that are willing to let them lead and serve as they are called.

I’d like to clarify that it is not All One Body’s position that story is more important than scripture, in fact they have taken great time and care to study scripture on this issue and have shared a document showing their position on this.

It is because well meaning, well educated, thoughtful, God fearing people on both sides of this issue respect scripture that they bring in story. Both sides are well capable of quoting scripture at each other but that seems to bring us to a standstill as neither side seems very convinced by the other’s interpretation. Personal stories like Jim’s are meaningful because they show the power of God working in a person as well as the hurt and damage even well meaning institutions can cause. Jim is as knowledgeable on CRC teachings and scripture as any other CRC pastor but he chooses to tell people his personal story and not simply quote the Bible as he explains in his talk here.

A1B has many public events, usually once a month or so, and many have open panels or time for questions as part of them. Past events have focused more on biblical reasoning and how they came to hold the positions they do.

Many well respected Pastors and Theologians would disagree with your chosen examples of what is clear and what is not. After hearing Pastor Jim speak about his education and how he prayerfully came to the conclusions he did, it seems disingenuous to say he was simply giving in to temptation.


Dr Wolterstorff is another who would disagree and I doubt many would say he is simply trying to justify his own actions. It is possible for people who hold the Bible in high regard to come to very different conclusions. Obviously, many books have been written in great detail about this - so I’ll just say I disagree but don’t think getting into debate about specific Bible verses in comment sections will change any minds either way.

I’m not an A1B board member so I can’t speak for them on specific statements, but from what I know of them and have seen at events I would say that they take the Bible seriously, they don’t rely on feelings over good theology, but that personal story is always important (and much of the Bible IS personal story!). Especially in cases where people are suffering, it is vital to hear directly from those people.

When good and genuine hearted people differ on Bible interpretation we may never agree on what is ‘correct’ - but we can’t ignore what LGBTQ persons are telling us, especially when the church itself is the cause of so much hurt.

We want to hear from you.

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