What is this project?
In the past few years, there has been much activity in Washington related to the LGBT community. Whether it was the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, or simply the growing emphasis in our government to promote pro-LGBT agendas, it is fair to say that the issue of homosexuality is a topic of much political and public debate. Out of curiosity and concern, we decided to start a conversation of our own about the role and response of the Church in relation to the LGBT community. How are we, as the collective body of Christ, supposed to respond to individuals and the community that identify themselves as LGBT? What is expected of us – by God, our friends, and our cultures? What are we as the Church doing that is helpful or harmful?
With these questions in mind, we sought out several people who live and work in Washington, D.C. and asked them specific questions to uncover their expectations of the Church regarding its relationship to and views on the LGBT community and lifestyle. Most of our participants were in their 20’s and 30’s and, to some degree, they care about the Church’s response in this area. Many would describe themselves as Christians; some are active church members, and others are much less involved. Some of these people work for the federal government, others in the private sector, and still others are studying in one of the many universities in this city.
In the process of conducting these interviews, we found that most of the participants were happy to answer our questions so long as their identity remained anonymous. There was resounding concern that their answers to these controversial questions could have an adverse effect on their relationships and even their careers. This reaction emphasizes the sensitivity of this topic to many people in the Church.
However, the interview portion of this project was merely the beginning. Our primary motivation in this project was to create a much needed opportunity for people from varying viewpoints to gather and have a gracious and productive conversation about this often contentious topic. While there are many different views on this issue, the one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that there is room for the Church to grow in its reflection of Christ’s love to the LGBT community. Join us in this opportunity to grow in humility and understanding.
We hope these interviews will cause you to think critically about how you believe the Church should respond to the LGBT community. Please click the tabs below to navigate between interviews.
“For all of its faults, the purpose of the Church is to be Christ’s bride and to be His body. Meaning, we are His hands and feet to do His work on Earth. I think the overarching theme should be love…” – Ms. A
“I believe the Church is pivotal. Ever since Acts it’s been the key to the flourishing of Christianity. It really allows individuals to have a community of believers where they can grow. I think that’s the benefit of the Church; that we all have different parts to our bodies that work together well…” – Mr. B
“The Church is just as good as the people in it. I love going to church and I am fed the Word of God each time I go through praise and study. The Church should strive to improve each other according to the Word, as well as the community it surrounds or lives among…” – Mr. C
“I think ‘church’ is a big and loaded word and I’m still sorting out what that definition is for me. It was something that I was brought up in. Church was Sunday morning where you would go worship and see others, but I to like think of the Church as body and the larger group of people who are going out into the world and doing missions and following God…” – Ms. D
“Generally, I believe the church is community of people who believe in or are seeking to know more about Christianity…It can be a helpful or harmful community, inclusive or exclusive, homogenous or heterogeneous, seek justice for the community or hinder it, embrace its own brokenness or hide it.” – Ms. E
“[The Church] has been a part of my life for a very long time. There was a time in my teenage years where I didn’t want it to be. I saw religion as a catalyst for too many difficulties in life. If you study history and you look back, there’s evidence that religion can be used for barbarity, but it can also be used for understanding and cultivation. I came to a point where I saw that it’s not the religion; it’s the people behind religion and their interests…” – Mr. F
“I find the Church to be very disappointing. I think it is meant to be a conduit between God and people, but it has been used and abused for things it shouldn’t have anything to do with…” – Ms. G
“I believe the church is a crucial part of the Christian life – commanded by God to serve as his representation here on earth.” – Ms. H
“For me personally, the church played a really significant role in my coming to faith in Jesus…it was my church that took care of me and shared the Gospel with me in a way I hadn’t understood it before…” – Ms. I
“I think the Church’s purpose is to be like Christ in the way He acted when he was here on earth. He would invite the lepers, beggars, tax collectors, and prostitutes into the fold and to make them feel loved, cared for, and humanized…” – Ms. J
“I think the Church’s main mission is to minister to people who are most in need: psychologically, spiritually, socially, economically, and culturally. I think the Church has the unique role in penetrating social norms and boundaries that no one person, government or other institution can do alone…” – Mr. K
Relevant news articles
We have compiled several news article that relate to our discussion of the LGBT community and the Church. We invite you to check out these articles and think about how these issues impact the relationship between the LGBT community and the Church.
Churches Changing Bylaws After Gay Marriage Ruling – AP
What Ex-Gay Men Can Teach Us About Marriage – World News Group
The Quiet Gay-Rights Revolution in America’s Churches – The Atlantic
Pope Francis Calls For Inclusion of Gays in Society, Saying He Has No Right to ‘Judge’ – Washington Post
Finding the Word of God: Gay Christian Athlete Josh Sanders on His Search for the Truth – Outsports
Why I Can’t Say ‘Love the Sinner/Hate the Sin’ Anymore – Huffington Post
What do Christians have against Homosexuality? Tim Keller at Veritas – YouTube
Tell us your thoughts
We would love to hear your thoughts on this issue. What should the Church teach regarding the LGBT lifestyle? How would you like to see the Church respond to the LGBT Community?
If you are interested in learning more about this project, participating in an interview, or attending a dinner forum, we would be happy to help you.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.