Category Archives: General

Put your pronouns into your bios

I wish more churches would tell this to their people this morning: you should put your pronouns in your social media bios.

The article below is one of the best explanations of why we should do so that I have read.

We need to normalise talking about gender and how, for more people than you think, it is not as obvious as it might first appear. Just because it appears obvious in some people (I am, as I appear, a cisgender, heterosexual white male), doesn’t mean it is obvious in everyone. And for those people dealing with a world that has not allowed them to discover and live out their gender and/or sexual expression, showing that you’re an ally is literally the least you can do.

PS. Jesus’ pronouns would have been “they/them” – think about it; I’m right on multiple levels.

PPS. If you read the attached article and the few swear words offend you more than the reason the author is impassioned enough to use them, you need to take a moment of self-reflection.

Continue reading Put your pronouns into your bios

There are no walls

I really wish more churches would preach this: there are no walls.

The attached Naked Pastor cartoon is one of the most powerful he’s ever done (and he even managed a touch of poetry too).

Over and over and over again in his ministry, Jesus demonstrated that those people the religious leaders were excluding and judging were actually accepted and welcomed by Jesus. The only people Jesus ever warned about being “outside” were those religious leaders themselves.

Am I saying “everyone will be saved”? No. Some people don’t want to be saved. What I am saying is that it is mainly the people who want to close the doors for others who are choosing to not be saved. They’re choosing instead to build something that is the opposite of the Kingdom of God: they’re choosing to build an exclusive, exclusionary club, and so – by their own approach – they will be allowed to choose a future where live in a space as small as they wanted it to be, as excluded as they were exclusionary, as rejected as they were rejecting and as sad as they made many seekers of love and truth. Their hell has already started.

This is not what God wants. The story of the history of God is a story of ever expanding inclusion and acceptance (or more accurately, of our ever improving understanding of God’s inherent inclusionary character). From one man and his family, to his tribe and a nation, to their neighbours and eventually to the ends of the earth, and all peoples, nations, tribes and tongues. The story starts in an empty garden and ends in a limitless, sustainable city, open to everyone and capable of accommodating us all.

And, yes: it specifically includes all genders as well.

Naked Pastor Cartoon

ALLin Podcast: Links to all the podcast platforms

We are gearing up to start Season 2 of the ALLin podcast. Season 2 will focus on what the Bible teaches and shows us about marriage, and why we are wrong to limit it to “a natural born man and natural born woman” as conservatives now frame it. We will also look at LGBTQI-positive interpretations of Scripture.

It would be really beneficial for you to listen to Season 1 before you dive into Season 2. Season 1 consists of 20 episodes that look at the seven “clobber verses” in the Bible that are typically used to argue that LGBTQI people are somehow breaking God’s natural order and are “abomination” to God. Season 1 also looks at some key issues around definitions of gender, sexual orientation and sexual biology.

To listen to Season 1, please subscribe to ALLin on your podcast player of choice:

If your podcast player of choice does not yet list ALLin, please add it using the RSS feed: https://allinlgbtqi.libsyn.com/rss

Or, if all else fails, listen to it on our hosting platform, LibSyn: https://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/17429297

Easter Friday: Why do Christians call it “Good Friday”?

Around 2,000 years ago a young, 33 year old, well-known teacher who had gathered quite a following and reputation was brutally beaten and then crucified on a Roman cross outside of Roman-occupied Jerusalem, while being jeered by crowds of Jewish religious leaders and their accolytes (who left their Passover preparations specifically to come and do that). What’s good about that?

You might not hear this in your church, but the answer is “nothing”. In the Christian faith, we don’t celebrate Friday (we commemorate it). We wait for Sunday.

The only thing “good” about this day is WHY Jesus was killed. The first actual Easter Friday was a complete horror show for everyone who supported Jesus. Their dreams were shattered, their hopes destroyed, their futures dark. They didn’t know that Sunday was coming.

So why was Jesus killed?
Continue reading Easter Friday: Why do Christians call it “Good Friday”?

How Evangelicals Changed The Bible To Support Their Beliefs (by Keith Giles)

Keith Giles has written a fantastic article on the Patheos blog site titled “How Evangelicals Changed The Bible To Support Their Beliefs”. In it, he gives specific examples of the ways in which conservative evangelicals have chosen to change the meaning of words in newer English translations to fit into their theological frameworks, rather than more accurately reflect the original Biblical meaning.

You can read the article in full at the Patheos website, or an extract of it below:

Continue reading How Evangelicals Changed The Bible To Support Their Beliefs (by Keith Giles)

ALLin Pod: Episode 19: Other Interpretations of Romans

Yes, we are still in the book of Romans. For many Christians, Romans 1 is the key passage against same gender sexual activity, so we need to cover it thoroughly. In this episode of the ALLin Podcast, we look at seven additional interpretative options for Romans 1.

If you’re satisfied with my explanations so far, you might want to just skip the rest of this episode. This one has a lot of detail and further options for interpreting Romans 1, for sake of completeness. While I have sympathy for these seven views, I do not endorse them all, and find some more compelling than others. I present them for two reasons. Firstly, for the sake of completeness – these are views held by committed Christians and qualified theologians alike. Secondly, and more importantly, so that those who might still be clinging to a traditional interpretation of Romans 1, despite the detail I have supplied about context and about the meanings of key words, can see that there are significant additional problems with the traditional reading of Romans 1.

There is a danger that by presenting a variety of alternative suggestions for interpretation I will bring confusion rather than insight. I hope not. I think it’s clear to see that the weight of evidence is actually pretty much overwhelming: Romans 1 does not condemn same-gender couples wishing to enter loving, lifelong, covenantal marriages.

Continue reading ALLin Pod: Episode 19: Other Interpretations of Romans

Best Modern Christmas Carols

Every year I try and get more people interested in good, quality Christmas music (yes, it does exist in amongst the schlock that gets released every year).

This year, I think the best new Christian Christmas Carol, that’s just perfect for 2020, has been released by Sovereign Grace. It’s called “O Come, All You Unfaithful”.

For more of my suggestions for best modern Christmas carols, see my ever-updating blog entry on best Christmas music here.

What are your favourite modern carols?

Part 19: The Importance of Marriage in the Bible and Christian Faith

Whether you agree with my analysis of the so-called Biblical “clobber verses” in previous blog entries or not, the discussion about LGBTQI issues in the church is really centred on the issue of marriage (and sex). The next few entries in this series will be focused on what the Bible says – and doesn’t say – about marriage.

Since I began my work on this issue over a decade ago, most Christians have shifted from being totally opposed to LGBTQI people to now welcoming them into their churches – even if only as “sinners” who need be “healed”. But they believe and teach that LGBTQI people should be celibate, and they believe that marriage can only be between a “natural man” and a “natural woman”. For them, the actual “sin” of homosexuality is same-sex sexual activity, and since they also believe that sexual activity is confined to marriage, LGBTQI people should neither marry nor have sex.

Most countries that have legalised gay marriage have actually created a new category called “civil unions” rather than including LGBTQI people in laws about marriage – this is largely been done to placate conservative religious groups. Churches are enabled to hide behind this legal distinction, by acknowledging civil unions as legal entities but continuing to deny gay “marriages” in their churches.

Continue reading Part 19: The Importance of Marriage in the Bible and Christian Faith