It’s now obvious that progress to full lgbt inclusion is well under way in many mainline Protestant denominations, in both the USA and Europe. What’s less obvious, is that the process has also begun in Evangelical circles, as Matthew Vines describes in an article at Politico.
Vines first made an impact with his viral Youtube video on the Bible and Homosexuality, then followed it up with the launch of his “Reformation Project”, which has by now trained hundreds of fellow lgbt Christians to similarly conduct lgbt – friendly bible workshops in their own congregations. Then came his book “God and the Gay Christian”, which is now listed among the 1000 top sellers on Amazon.
In this article, Vines describes how even where Evangelical pastors still disagree with him, they are eager to listen and debate. Conversely, many gay leaders and organizations that have previously seen Christians as uniformly hostile to equality, now see him as an ally. Before last week’s Pride Parade in San Francisco, Vines was a guest at an Evangelical Church which blessed his work and prayed for the success of Pride. Note that the display of Freedon to Marry signs, above, are not in front of a courthouse, or at a Pride Parade, but in a church. Later, Vines took his place on the main podium at the Pride celebration.
As he notes in the headline to the post, lgbt Christians need no longer be outcasts – in Church, or in the gay community.
I’m Gay, Christian—And No Longer an Outcast – Matthew Vines
A generation ago, I would have been too gay for my fellow evangelicals and too evangelical for my fellow gay Americans. But, as Christians grow more tolerant and gay people grow more comfortable identifying with religion, the tension between these two identities is beginning to ease.
Last Sunday morning, I went to a traditional service at a large evangelical church in San Francisco. At the end of the service, they prayed about the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on same-sex marriage as well as the Pride event that was starting in their city that day.
In years past, the rhetoric from an evangelical pulpit like this one—even in the most liberal of cities—would have been entirely predictable: moral opposition to same-sex relationships, lament for the nation’s growing acceptance of sinful behavior, concern for the status of Christians in a wayward society.
So one could be forgiven for being taken aback by what this preacher actually said. He prayed for me, an openly gay Christian. He called me a “brother in Christ,” claiming me as one of his own, and asked God to grant me wisdom and clarity as I represented the church on the main stage at San Francisco Pride that afternoon.