If you were paying attention to Twitter over the last week you may have noticed quite a lot of discussion going on about something called “The Nashville Statement”. Basically a group called the “A Coalition For Biblical Sexuality” released 14 articles as part of a statement on their views of Biblical Sexuality and Gender.
Twitter was alight with tweets, articles and lots of varying reactions to it. Some found it a helpful statement that brought the focus back to what is “Biblical” about sexuality. Most of what you’d expect. Marriage is between one man and one woman only. If you are gay you can’t be faithful to the Bible. Or you are either born male or female and that’s the end of it.
Then there was of course, the reactions that weren’t so glowing in praise of the Statement. Those of us who believe that being gay is not a sin and were worried by the language that very subtly put anyone who believes in anything other than one man and one woman, as being out side of the Christian faith.
Including the many, many Christians in the LGBTQ community.
I, personally signed the one from the Liturgists.
My reaction at the time was one of sadness for my friends and family who are gay and Christian. I wanted to stand against what I viewed as a dangerous statement. I, along with the others who signed such responses, wanted to remind them that not every one thinks this way about them.
But then I thought about it for a while. I decided it wasn’t that dangerous a statement. I started to think, mostly from reading and considering Peter Enn’s response that the whole thing was pretty futile.
That even my signature on one of the counter statements was futile. But something inside me believed I needed to sign that counter statement just like those who signed the Nashville Statement believed they needed to sign it.
You see, the whole thing was futile but also extremely important. Now, this sounds like a paradox. And, you know what, it really is. But isn’t that what our experience of life is like?! That we can actually experience varying different emotions through out our lifetime. That just because “this” is true, doesn’t necessarily mean “that” isn’t.
These Statements are largely futile because honestly, scrolling through the names of those who signed the Nashville statement; who is surprised this is the stance those people take? John Piper believes that being gay is a sin and that marriage can only be between one man and one woman?! Is that really shocking? I would have pretty much guessed this if I didn’t really know this already.
And by the same token, is mine and others response to it surprising? If you know me or know some of my journey, it shouldn’t be a surprise.
In some ways it continues to create the echo chambers that we like to live in.
So one hand, it’s pointless. It’s obvious.
But also, at the same time, very very important.
It would be easy to just ignore something like the Nashville Statement. But let’s be honest. In today’s Twitter/Internet world, that was never going to happen.
But if you believe that the ideas which the Nashville Statement represent are hurtful and exclusive towards those it mentions; it’s your job to speak up in Love and Grace towards something better. More inclusive. More accepting.
But ultimately, it’s not what we say that matters. It’s how we act towards our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ Christian community that matters. Heck, in the community in general.
And that is what will make the loudest statement.