Interesting story on BBC Radio’s Sunday Sequence this week – two guys talking about being gay, ‘ex-gay’, ‘ex-ex-gay’ and generally challenging how the Christian churches have treated them. The discussion will be available to listen to on-line til this Sunday.
Jeremy Marks, a man I’ve met and who is kind and gracious used to run a ministry called ‘Courage’, that believed it could offer gay Christians the opportunity to change their sexual orientation. Over time, he came to believe that this paradigm was unbiblical, bigoted, and contributed to the reasons why the rate of suicide attempts among young gay men is significantly higher than among men who aren’t gay. In 2001 he made a public apology, and now offers ‘Courage’ as a space for ‘gay and lesbian Christians who are seeking a safe place of friendship in which to reconcile their faith and sexuality and grow towards Christian maturity’. It’s a remarkable shift – and Jeremy Marks is a remarkable man.
Michael Davidson, another man I’ve met, and who is also kind and gracious, has just established a ministry in Belfast called ‘CORE’ that appears to run on the same terms that Courage used to – offering space for gay and lesbian Christians who consider their same-sex attraction ‘unwanted‘.
Jeremy and Michael discussed their differing perspectives on the BBC; and what was extraordinary was how generous they were with each other. I disagree with Michael’s theological perspective on sexuality, and it needs to be said that ‘re-orientation therapy’ has been subject to sustained criticism from psychologists and others; but his genuine desire to reduce the volume of this too often fractious debate, and to not condemn people who disagree with him is moving and offers a contrast to the way these questions are often handled.