Categories
Gender/ sexuality

Australian Christians to apologise and reconcile with the LGBTQ community

According to Buzzfeed News, a group of conservative and former Christians have come together to offer an apology to LGBTQ people who’ve been harmed by churches.

Equal Voices aims to confront the failures of Christians to respond to LGBTQ people justly and “be reconciled with one another in the Body of Christ”. An apology is a top priority.

The apology

The apology covers the following points:

  1. For being too slow to acknowledge that we need to say sorry to you.
  2. For not speaking up
  3.  Speaking about you, without listening to you.
  4. Not creating safe environments within our churches where people can speak openly and honestly about their struggles and understandings
  5. Perpetuating stereotypes, and for not taking full account of your actual lived experiences
  6. For talking to you or about you in a way as to suggest that sexual and/ or gender differences are not a part of your true identity as creatures made in the image of God, but are simply a result of brokenness or sin.
  7. Churches have told LGBTQ+ people that they can change their orientation/ gender identity.
  8. For not acknowledging that Christians who are seeking to be faithful to their Lord and to the Scriptures are coming to different conclusions on matters of gender, sexual orientation and marriage

One member has committed to:

  1. Honour and support LGBTQ people in any way possible
  2. Be open to gentle correction and guidance
  3. Hold others to account for harmful words or actions
  4. Resist efforts to “other” or exclude LGBTQ people
  5. Engage in genuine conversation to gain perspectives of LGBTQ people

In March, Equal Voices will post a letter to their website that people can sign.

 

These points, especially number six, are huge. Finally, LGBTQ Christians will feel safe, regardless of whether they attend a progressive or Evangelical church.

 

What’s the next step?

While this is a great step forward, I wonder what it’ll mean for Christians politically. Many Evangelical churches have closely aligned themselves with conservative political parties and lobby groups, including the Australian Christian Lobby. Recently, Activate Church in Adelaide separated themselves from Australian Christian Churches (formerly Assemblies of God) to fully support the LGBTQ community. The pastor of Hillsong Church, Brian Houston has come under fire for not allowing openly LGBTQ people to serve in the Church.

I don’t think anyone should expect all conservative Christians to jump on this. No doubt, the ones that have raised their voices do so knowing that they’ll pay a great price. Many Evangelical, and former Evangelical Christians, such as America’s Rob Bell, have paid greatly when coming out in support of the LGBTQ+ community. So this is no small feat!

I think this is so positive. Soon, LGBTQ people will be able to worship, rest and be a part of a church community without their identity being a barrier. Finally, people in church will be able to enter, knowing that they don’t have to hide. They won’t have to sit through a sermon feeling like they don’t belong, that, despite their belief and their heart for God, that they are not enough.

I believe that this will clean up Christianity’s reputation a bit. The Church may finally be seen as a beacon of hope, rather han harm. So, for those involved in the EqualVoices movement, good on you for having the courage to speak up.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

New year – a marketing dream

 

 

So, all the partying has stopped. Chances are, you have eaten or thrown out the Christmas lunch and you’ve gotten over the hangover from New Year’s Day.

Let me ask you something – how are those resolutions going? You may still have stuck to it…. it’s only the 2nd of January, after all. I’ve read some blog posts and it seems that there is a backlash aginst New Year’s resolutions as a whole. Mamamia founder, Mia Freedman has ditched new year’s resolutions and instead, has suggested focusing on a single word to focus on throughout the year. Nice idea. When I tried it, I thought of about ten words. Hmmmm, might need a bit more thought. Gemma Hartley of Ravishly believes that a better way is to focus on self love rather than abberation Michaela MItchell, also from Ravishly has rejected the ‘new year, new me’ mantra. Which is the thing I want to talk about.

New year, new me.

Sounds like a bit of a jingle, doesn’t it? An advertisement slogan. It’s short, easy to remember and has repetition.

Last year, marketing manager of Fitness First, Samantha Bragg told news.com.au that the number of people signing up for a gym membership rose 15% over the new year period. Also, take a look at what I found while scrolling through a tag on Ravishly:

First link – an ad for Tony Robbins.

 

A few days ago, I watched a bit of Todd Sampson’s show, Body Hack. He stayed with the Hazda tribe in Tanzania – one of the last surviving hunter – gatherer tribes in the world.

I remember when Sampson was watching a funeral of one of the grandparents who’d recently died. He said something that struck me. Unlike us in the West, the Hizda tribe don’t have the same concept of time like we do. When I heard that, I realised that they wouldn’t have a new year. Anything like that would be completely foreign to them. Why? Maybe it’s because they aren’t exposed to mass media and marketing. They would not be told for months that Christmas is coming, New Year is just days away. No posters displaying Boxing Day and end – of -year clearance sales. No TVs with Jenny Craig ads. When you think about it, we are reminded daily about time; dates and events coming up.

Reassessing priorities

I’m not against New Year’s resolutions. I get sucked in most years. However, last year, I left it late and did a rough goal list for the next two years. But I have made resolutions in the past, a big list of them. Have I kept them? Like most people, no. I do think the end of the year is a good time to plan, dream and reflect. Then again, that can go pear- shaped, too. I like Mia Freedman’s idea. A year focussing on a single word. Now to think of the word…

Discipline?

Love?

Family?

Friends?

Relationships?

 

I can think of one that I’d most likely stick to – writing. Yeah, that sounds good. If I can focus on this blog and the writing course I’m enrolled in. That would be great. Now, I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.

Categories
Uncategorized

New year, new blog and reflections of 2016

Happy new year!

I hope this year will be good for you. I know there were a few sour notes for many in 2016, and some downright tragedies. It was a year that saw fear, anger and sadness. It held some largely unpredicted events, like Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. Election. I’ve got to say, the reaction from some Hillary Clinton supporters has been appalling, and, if anything, hasn’t done progressive/centre -Left politics or causes any justice.

The backlash against centre Left extended to Australia, with conservative parties like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation winning major influence in the Senate. Things went pear – shaped when Pauline Hanson refused to help Rod Culleton pay personal legal bills. Culleton later resigned.

The same – sex marriage debate dominated the political landscape for a few weeks. So – called ‘respectful debate’ ended up in intimidation against Mercure motel staff in Sydney, and a bomb threat against Melbourne’s LGBT radio station, 94.9 Joy FM that caused thirty staff to be evacuated. Unfortunately, the second event got minimal coverage in the mainstream media, and little condemnation.

2016 in summary

The world had been rocked by terror. The Pulse Nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida hit the LGBTQ+ community hard.It did bring people together and many people did stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. I hope the solidarity continues. Please continue to support and love your LGBTQ+ family members and friends. And, when safe to do so, speak out against queer – phobic violence. That includes media personalities.

2016 saw a continuation of one of the worst human rights and humanitarian disasters in living memory. Reports have claimed that the conflict in Syria has caused the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. The reports, images and footage in the mainstream media and on – line have been absolutely horrific. There wascalls for a cease -fire.

The future

So, what about this year? Who knows. I hope to hear less about culture wars. Even though they are good to blog about, they can be emotionally draining. I really don’t know what else to say about Syria. It’s such a tragedy. I don’t see it ending any time soon, to be honest. I’ll just leave it at that.

On a more personal and a lighthearted note, I’m so glad to be starting this blog. I can’t wait to see what happens with it. Surprisingly, I had moderate success in the three blogs that I wrote before, which I’m grateful for. But I think it’s time to move on. Plus, I have study and other stuff I’ll be doing throughout the year.

 

What are you up to this year?