Gay Christian Conference Day 3

7 01 2008

Saturday our guest speaker was Jay Bakker. He took his text from Matthew 23, where Jesus was criticizing the religious leadership of the day with their hypocrisy and advised the people to “do as they say and not as they do.” Afterwards, about 8 of us went to lunch together …. 2 Lutheran Pastors, an Anglican priest from Australia, myself and 4 20-something conservative evangelicals, some of whom were in the ex-gay movement. Talk about when worlds collide! We shared our various views on sin as behaviour vs sin as a part of the human condition, the relation between works and grace, the wrath of God and repentance.

Repentance, we discussed, was a turning away from something and towards God. A great deal of what they spoke about was that salvation was about escaping hell and going to heaven, which I felt promoted a fear-based version of the Gospel and kept you focused on sin. I also suggested that if your message is based on fear in order to escape damnation, and that’s a constant thing in your mind, then maybe someone in that mindset hasn’t fully experienced the liberating and transforming power of Christ and maybe there really isn’t repentance after all. As Christians we believe in the transforming power of Christ, so as we follow him, we become more and more the person God has called us to be…We instinctively start doing things that produce the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians and start shrugging off the “old man.” If you can’t let go of this fear, then, are you truly free?

I don’t know how spot on these points were, but it was great that we were able to make these kids THINK!!!! All the way back from lunch they were chit-chatting among themselves and debating the new things we had brought to their minds.

We did our jobs.

More workshops during the afternoon … sessions on meditation, women’s issues, healthy relationships, and one on queer theology. Quite a nice assortment of things to choose from, actually! It has been commented more than once that this conference was much more ecumenical and broad-based than catering to evangelicals (which is the bulk of the membership of the boards) , so we were able to share things from our different traditions.

After dinner, there was a sharing time where people were allowed and encouraged to come forward and express how much the conference and GCN has affected their lives, and can be very powerful, and lasted until well after midnight.

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