AT Sabbath Seminar – 11 July, 1:30 PM Eastern (5:30 PM GMT)
8 July 2020 |
The link and password have now been posted, below.
Gay Morality and Church Acceptance
While many LGBT+ persons of Adventist background are deeply religious, they are so disappointed with their congregations that they have concluded that Adventism (and perhaps all Christianity) is either so biased that it is not relevant to them, or that the church (and, therefore, also Christianity) does not speak to the ethics of gay relations and behavior. Consequently, they are left on their own in working out ethical issues.
I continue to encourage gay and lesbian Adventists to consider the relevance of their Christian faith to their lives and to communicate with one another about it. I also wish to say to my fellow Adventists that if their congregations do not welcome LGBT+ people, they should not be surprised if LGBT+ people default to secular patterns of gay relationship as the only patterns available to them. If gay Christians have no Christian ethic to bring to bear as they construct their relationships and sexual practices, they are left with the norms of the secular gay and lesbian community. And quite frankly, there is so much diversity in that community as to provide little moral guidance. Imagine if heterosexual Christians, when looking for ethical relationship guidelines, were to consult only the variety of practices among their kind in the secular world!
When our churches expect us to hide who we are rather than welcoming us and our partners, they contribute to destabilizing those relationships. If you want to encourage LGBT+ people to behave according to a Christian ethical standard, it is your responsibility to include us in a community of support and accountability.
In the early decades after the birth of the gay movement in 1969, the secular gay community reveled in sexual liberation—which is hardly surprising, given the repression it had endured for so long. But within the gay Christian community, and certainly among the Adventist LGBT+ people in Kinship, the expressed longing was typically for a loving, committed relationship. In this, we showed that we had absorbed the Christian ideals we’d been taught. Back then, such relationships were often not easily achieved, since we’d had no homosexual socialization. We were unsure how to find and establish such relationships, and our churches did not celebrate and support them when we found them. Moreover, the fact that so many homosexual Adventists tried to hide their orientation from their churches led many of them to content themselves with fleeting sexual contacts.
However, as LGBT+ people have become known and appreciated in society, as same-sex marriage has become legal, and as many such couples have become successful parents, the younger LGBT+ generations have become increasingly focused on finding a committed partner and perhaps having children.
It is extremely sad and frustrating that the Adventist Church continues to refuse to recognize and support our marriages and relationships. Some church leaders apparently prefer that its members with LGBT+ orientations and identities keep them hidden. They do not grasp that as a result of this attitude, many have entered loveless heterosexual marriages in order to maintain a charade, while secretly engaging in serial same-sex promiscuity.
Since the General Conference remains so blockheaded about this matter, perhaps the best solution is to extend the network of Adventist congregations that make it part of their stated mission to welcome and include LGBT+ members. Surely this is what Jesus would have us do!
Dr. Ronald Lawson is a lifelong Seventh-day Adventist, and a sociologist studying urban conflicts and sectarian religions. He is retired from Queens College, CUNY.
Dr. Keisha McKenzie has led the program team at Auburn Seminary since June 2019. Keisha grew up in the U.K., completed college in Jamaica and graduate studies in technical communication and rhetoric at Texas Tech University. Since 2012, Keisha has worked as a communication/development strategist, faith organizer, and consultant, and supported several faith-rooted justice nonprofits across the United States in developing advocacy and justice campaigns and international partnerships for clergy and lay people of faith. Keisha believes that all people have inherent worth and dignity, that we deserve a world where all of us can flourish, and that people of faith must help to make that world of possibility real. She is a member of Adventist Today’s board and executive committee.
Loren Seibold, AT Executive Editor
Starting time depends on where you are. If you’re on the west coast of the United States, it’ll be 10:30 AM. On the east coast, 1:30 PM. Times around the world:
- Los Angeles: 10:30 AM
- Denver: 11:30 AM
- Chicago: 12:30 PM
- Brisbane: 3:30 AM (Sunday)
- London: 6:30 PM
- Nairobi: 8:30 PM
- New Delhi: 11:00 PM
- Oslo: 7:30 PM
- Moscow: 8:30 PM
- Manila: 1:30 AM (Sunday)
The class is intended to last about 2 hours.
How to join:
The link to join our class is this:
There password is the last name, ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS, of the most famous female founder and writer of our church, often referred to as “Sister – – – – -”
Meeting ID: 950 5629 0361
Password: There password is the last name, ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS, of the most famous female founder and writer of our church, often referred to as “Sister – – – – -”
One tap mobile
+16468769923,,95056290361#,,,,0#,,414387# US (New York)
+13017158592,,95056290361#,,,,0#,,414387# US (Germantown)
Dial by your location
+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
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Meeting ID: 950 5629 0361
Rules for our class:
- The AT Sabbath Seminar is intended to be a courteous forum. We discuss and ask questions politely. We don’t accuse, get angry, or put people down.
- Make your comments and questions short—don’t dominate.
- Keep your microphones muted unless you are called upon to make your comment or ask your question.
- Indicate your interest in speaking by writing a note to the moderator in the “chat” section.
- Those who make accusations or unkind statements will be muted or removed.
We look forward to getting acquainted with you!
- 18 July: Loren Seibold on our frightening eschatology and timelines and date-setting.