Recent calls for recognition by the LBGTIQ+ communities have challenged long-held notions of sex and gender; the once simple gender binary is being called into question by diversity. The fact that the physical, emotional and psychological differences between male and female are no longer considered self-evident, begs the question: How do we as Christians respond to the current situation?
To be honest, until recently I had never given it much thought. Yes, I have had gay friends, but I have never known anyone in the church who falls into any of the other groups. Presumably, until recently, people of gender difference feared rejection and kept quiet, or perhaps they didn’t attend church at all. They were the largely invisible ‘other’ that did not require consideration. So now the conversation has changed and people are increasingly open with their sexual orientation, how does the Church respond to their needs in a loving and socially just manner, while also maintaining the integrity of Biblically based beliefs?
Of course, the LBGTIQ+ community is not a homogenous group and their needs reflect their diversity. Nevertheless, like all people, their greatest need is a relationship with Jesus Christ, and how the church responds to this need is a compelling responsibility. Any response must be out of love and guided by the fundamental question—what would Jesus do? How can the Church pave the way for people of gender difference to encounter Christ? How can we respond without hindering this most important process? These are some of the most pressing questions of our time.
These and other contemporary issues are explored in our course God, Gender, Sexuality and the Church.