More Nuances of Bridge Building

My friend NakedPastor posted a cartoon this week that has stimulated some good conversation. It was kind of fun for me because I’d commissioned NP to do a cartoon for the cover of a new DVD resource we’ll be releasing soon – and the cartoon he posted was one of the possible submissions (but we chose a different one). In the comment section, a woman wrote:

[My partner] and I, a couple of weeks ago, were checking out a ministry here in Canada whose mission is said to be “bridging the gap” between the LGBT community and the church. It wasn’t long before we discovered they were formerly a part of Exodus International and we started referring to them as “Exodus Lite” because they were doing their best to take a friendlier, non-judgmental approach to the issue but still didn’t get it. In any event, we read this one particular blog post from the lady that leads this ministry where she was defending herself as she felt she had been misrepresented by a leader in the Exodus movement. Apparently, she had mentioned two women that had entered into what they termed a “covenant friendship”, which the guy from Exodus termed a “sexless marriage” as it had all the trappings of a marriage without the sexual relationship as they accepted the view that gay sex was sinful. The post we read was basically her back-pedalling on what she had said to save face with the Exodus crowd, which was enough to convince me that she only wanted to separate from the bad image of Exodus but was still looking to run an ex-gay ministry with a pretty veneer to gloss over the harm caused by ex-gay ministries. It all seemed rather backhanded and dishonest to me, though they may in fact be very sincere.

I wanted to use this comment to again try to bring some clarity to what this blog (and New Direction) is about ….. and I don’t mean to be defensive – so I hope it doesn’t come across that way. Our history with Exodus is not something we’ve tried to hide. It is a huge part of our history – and will always be there as part of our story. We’ve tried to learn from that story in the best way we know how. And we’ve tried to keep moving forward into what we believe God is calling us to. While we do want to focus on bridge-building ….. it would be rather audacious to suggest that we are seeking to be the bridge between the gay community and the church. Rather, I think there are many smaller more relational bridges to be built. Sometimes those bridges are between gay Christians who hold differing views on the acceptability of gay relationships. Sometimes those bridges are within families where there has been fractures in relationship over the reality of a gay loved one. Sometimes those bridges are within a particular congregation where there is difference and disagreement. Sometimes those bridges are with post-Christian gay people who feel t