resolving the conflicts
© Anthony Venn-Brown.
resolving the conflicts
History tells us the Christian church has not always shown God’s unconditional love. In fact, the church has often been the last to accept the growing understanding that all human beings should be treated equally and……dare we say it…..has even been a stronghold of prejudice. In the past, using selective texts of scripture, some Christians opposed the abolition of slavery, equal rights for people of colour, allowing two people from different races to marry and equality for women. Not only has this resistance to change caused great suffering to individuals but also damaged the reputation of the Christian church and hindered the redemptive message of the gospel.
Churches and denominations have been coming to terms with the issue of homosexuality for several decades now. But some are just beginning the journey, trying to work out what it means to welcome LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people into congregations, understand their relationships and allowing them to use their gifts to serve God and the church.
There was at time when the concept of being a gay Christian was impossible to comprehend; the term ‘gay Christian’ an oxymoron. In 1968 one man dared to believe that there was no conflict between his sexual orientation and his Christian faith. Since that time the number of voices has grown to many, many 10,000’s (Google ‘Gay Christian’ nearly 10 million entries). Not only is there a gay Christian denomination (MCC), but a growing number of gay independent churches as well (Pentecost, Charismatic and Evangelical). The amount of mainstream churches and denominations who welcome and affirm LGBT people increases every year. Once non-existent, the gay Christian movement is now strong, growing and vibrant.
This seminar is designed and relevant for:
1. LGBT people from Christian backgrounds
2. Heterosexual friends and family
3. Churches who want to be more informed and create a space of acceptance for LGBT people
4. Church leadership teams who want a safe space to explore LGBT issues
‘Homosexuality, Christianity and the Church - resolving the conflicts’ is an informative seminar that assists individuals and churches to resolve faith/sexuality issues by looking at underlying cultural influences, real and perceived barriers and practical models for change. Each topic is covered in one hour in a respectful and questioning environment with an opportunity for questions.
• Homosexuality and the Church – Why we got it SO wrong. 10 reasons why Christ-loving Christians have come to wrong conclusions about sexual orientation and the LGBT community. Once looked at logically it’s obvious the enemy is not people but ignorance.
• The specific issues faced by LGBT people from faith backgrounds and how to resolve them. LGBT people from faith backgrounds experience the usual issues of resolution, coming out and learning what it means to be gay or lesbian in a straight world. They often experience these things with greater intensity however and deal with additional issues. What are they and how to get unstuck?
• Sodom, Leviticus, Romans 1 and I Corinthians 6:9. What are they really saying? Often referred to as the ‘clobber passages’, only six passages in the Bible speak about same-sex activity. Does the historical and cultural contexts and consideration of the original languages change the meaning or have we come to conclusions from misinformation and interpreting through our own 20th century biases?
• The times they are a changin’ There is a developing climate of questioning in many Pentecostal and Evangelical circles. You’ll be encouraged and amazed to know what extent this is happening. Creating a Space for Change is a model that facilitates this process. People are moving from hatred of same-sex-oriented people to a place of acceptance and advocacy. How?
Anthony Venn-Brown is highly qualified to speak on these issues. Anthony was a leader in the Assemblies of God and a popular preacher in the mega-churches of Australia. After 22 years of counselling, exorcisms, 40 day fasts, ‘ex-gay’ programs and marriage he was forced to face reality. Nothing had changed: he was still gay. After his resignation from the ministry and public confession, he struggled to come to terms with the loss of his friends, faith and purpose.
Anthony is now a dedicated ambassador for the LGBT community, promoting respectful dialogues, educating people about sexuality and assisting others to resolve the perceived conflict between their faith and their sexuality. His award winning autobiography ‘A Life of Unlearning’ is now in its second print and he has appeared on national TV programs such as 60 minutes, Sunrise, the Morning Show and Mornings with Kerri Anne. Anthony is also the co-founder and Convenor of Freedom 2 b[e] and was twice voted one of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians.