This is my favorite resource—many different translations of the Bible (and many languages, as well) all on one site. I’ve found this really helpful to get a better handle on passages I’m struggling with, understand specific words and where/how they’re used, and has provided a more full understanding of individual passages and the Bible as a whole. Though this is by far my favorite resource, I also think it’s the most dangerous (as it’s been used by many people throughout history to validate their own perspectives and beliefs with devastating consequences). The Bible is an incredibly complex work of literature that combines the fields of history, archaeology, linguistics, theology, philosophy and mythology which makes interpreting and understanding very challenging. Along with a community of faith and the Holy Spirit, the Bible is one of the ways we learn who Jesus is, His heart for us, and understand how we’re to live in right relationship with each other. I recommend digging in, but with awareness that how we read, interpret, and understand Scripture is not necessarily the cake walk it’s often presented to be.
The Gay Christian Network
Hands down, this is the best general resource on a faith-based approach to understanding homosexuality that I’ve found.
Mathew Vines on the Bible and Homosexuality
Perhaps the most thorough resource approaching a Biblical verse-by-verse look at homosexuality. An excellent hour-long presentation that is the product of two years of research, this video was intentionally and respectfully created for Christians who consider themselves “traditionalists” on this issue. (For the less video-inclined, there’s a link to the written transcript at the bottom of the essay introducing the video, as well.) I appreciated the comprehensive research, and gentle spirit with which it is presented. Highly recommend this video (or transcripts), especially for those struggling to even understand why this is a conversation Christians are interested in having.
The Great Debate
The question of whether God blesses gay relationships or calls them to lifelong celibacy is a hot-button issue for many Christians. Though the GCN doesn’t take a position or enter the debate, they provide two essays here from Christians that take very different positions on this issue. (The “Side A” and “Side B” language that is used here can be helpful in facilitating conversations among Christians that struggle to put words to their perspective on this topic.)
- Side A: God blesses same-sex marriages http://www.gaychristian.net/justins_view.php
- Side B: God calls gay Christians to life-long celibacy http://www.gaychristian.net/rons_view.php
Building Bridges of Understanding: Tony and Peggy Campolo on Homosexuality
Audio series by noted authors, speakers, and Baptist minister Tony and Peggy Campolo detailing how they have been able to hold very different understandings of Scripture while still living together in community. (Tony does not support efforts to “convert” gays into straights, but believes the Bible calls gay Christians to celibacy. Peggy supports monogamous, same-sex relationships and believes the church should recognize marriages for both heterosexual and homosexual couples.) An encouraging and challenging listen.
Crumbs From The Communion Table
I had the opportunity to listen to GCN Executive Director Justin Lee speak when he was in Oregon, and was blown away by his humility, gentle spirit, knowledge of the Bible, and obvious love of Jesus. His passion to treat everyone with respect, regardless of where they find themselves in the conversation on homosexuality and the Church, is an amazing reflection of God’s call on his life to serve as a leader in this conversation. I heartily recommend this blog.
Rachel Held Evans: They Were Right (And Wrong) About the Slippery Slope
Beautifully written encouragement for those who struggle to engage faith honestly, to reconcile both head and heart, and to follow Jesus in the face of change, risk and fear.
“Imaginary Jesus” by Matt Mikalatos
A wonderful satire on the many ways people remake God in our own image, thus creating several Jesus Jesuses (Jesi?) who fit neatly into our wants, prejudices, and comfort zones. Our relationship with these imaginary Jesuses turn out to be non-challenging, lonely, purposeless, non-fulfilling, and non-productive (same color, culture, and denomination as us; no demands beyond what we offer, fits neatly into box, etc.) The quest of the protagonist to rid his life of the counterfeits (Legalistic Jesus, Perpetually Angry Jesus, Political Power Jesus, Emergent Jesus, Magic 8 Ball Jesus, etc.) in order to find genuine relationship with the genuine Christ proves way more complicated and difficult (and funny) than imagined. Hilariously funny, but challenging to consider the difficulty inherent in recognizing and accepting the inconvenient and challenging Jesus of the Gospels, for whom people will give up everything else in order to follow wherever He leads. (Bonus: written by a local author and set in Portland, hometown readers will roll laughing at the portrayals of favorite local joints, such as Powells.)
Gay Christian Network Hotline
A wonderful resource for parents or child in need of someone to talk to, especially who understand the tension that can be a part of coming out as a gay Christian. The GCN toll-free hotline is available Monday through Friday at 1-888-GAY-4-GOD, or can be reached by calling direct at 919.786.0000.
The Trevor Project Hotline
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Trained volunteer counselors are available 24/7.