Comment: Are religious conservatives able to talk cordially about gay issues?
Pastor Dave Thompson, who is openly gay and works towards opening a dialogue within the church on gay issues, writes for PinkNews on the question of whether it is possible for those opposed to gay rights can still be cordial in discussions.
In short, the answer to the question is a resounding, “Yes!”
I recently had the privilege of being one of two guests on The Vipp Jaswal Report, Fox News Radio. The show was titled, The Battle in the Bible. My co-guest was Tacoma mega-church Pastor Dean Curry, of Life Center. “Pastor Dean’s” church boasts a substantial ministry, with over sixty staff and several thousand members. His denomination, the Assemblies of God, is a very conservative expression of the Christian faith. The denomination’s official stance has been to require celibacy of gay individuals.
My name is Dave Thompson and I am a gay pastor. I wrote a book called Over Coffee: A Conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith. I studied to be a minister in the same denomination as Pastor Dean. For better or for worse, I have been labeled as conservative in my faith – I’ll let the listener decide. As such, I talk with other conservatives about welcoming partnered gay people into the church alongside all the other unchangeable human circumstances we welcome.
It needs to be said, the host Vipp Jaswal was an exceptional moderator. His talent for asking challenging and straightforward questions, while maintaining a warm and engaging setting for our dialogue, was refreshing. Too often these types of dialogues become yelling matches with the only goal being the destruction of each other’s position.
My co-guest, Pastor Dean was a warm, thoughtful and courteous contributor. Listeners will find a fantastic example of a biblical-faith pastor who may disagree at times, but who is open to dialogue and is genuinely kind – a rare thing these days.
The nearly forty-five minutes show walks through biblical interpretation, celibacy, gay stereotyping, and even the Boy Scouts of America. Both Pastor Dean and myself share our thoughts and reflect on current biblical and social issues concerning gay people.
With so many countries passing gay marriage laws, the question of welcoming gay couples will only become more relevant for churches and pastors. Thankfully at least one pastor – well, two – have found a way to cross the divide and talk, not as adversaries, but as brothers in the faith.
Dave Thompson is an openly gay pastor, a regular columnist for the Christian Post, and a published author. His book Over Coffee, deals with the issue of homosexuality in the church. He is available to contact through his website.