A few years ago, a good friend of mine, author and pastor Brian McLaren wrote a magnificent, thought-provoking piece about the type of Christianity the world needs now. It’s more relevant than ever.
For my friends who are Christian leaders, please read and re-read the last two lines a few times. That’s really the whole thing there. This isn’t something you’re likely to hear in your church – but it should be preached every week.
The deepest difference in Christianity is not what you think:
A Reflection during Lockdown on Good Friday, 10 April 2020:
It’s the hope that nearly killed me…
That’s a line from the amazing documentary, “Touching the Void”. Joe Simpson and his mountaineering partner Simon Yates were caught in a snowstorm on the Siula Grande in Peru. Joe broke his leg and in a failed attempt at a self rescue, was then left for dead on the mountain. He managed to get himself down the mountain, only to discover he was far away from any civilisation and had to drag himself across glaciers and rocks for a few days becoming dehydrated and frost bitten, before finally being rescued.
A Community of Radical Inclusion is a sermon preached by Graeme Codrington at the Melrose Campus of Gracepoint Methodist church in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016. It lays out both a Biblical and historical case for including LGBTQI in our churches, and affirming them as made in God’s image.
Sport is about finding the fastest and strongest human. Almost always, this turns out to be a man. In order to allow women to compete in elite sports, we created a category for “women”, and have excluded men from competing in this category. But for over 100 years, we’ve battled to define who a woman is in sport. Back in 1936, for example, both the gold and silver winners of the 100m accused each other of being men. A “nude parade” was required for all elite women athletes – to literally stand naked in front of a panel of judges to prove they were women. This was changed in the 1960s and 70s to a “female passport”. It then shifted to chromosome testing, and today a court has confirmed it relates to hormone levels. But none of these are adequate, and all have been flawed.
This bonus episode of the ALLin podcast looks at the fascinating history of how sport has tried to define who a woman is, and what it means for us that they have essentially failed to do so in over a century.
Of course, sport is merely an example. This also applies to how we might define who can go to a girls school, or who gets counted as a woman on your Board or Executive leadership team if your country requires a specific quota of women in those positions.
This bonus episode concludes the mini-series on “Are there only two genders?”. The answer, it is clear, is NO.
Genesis 1 and 2 tell two different creation stories, both culminating with the creation and marriage of two people. This was a Middle Eastern, black haired, brown eyed, cisgender man and woman. But does that mean all people have to Middle Eastern, black haired, brown eyed and cisgender? And does it mean all marriages must be between only a man and a woman? If not, how should we be reading Genesis 1?
This is another one hour long episode, and you should ensure you’ve listened to Episode 9 before you listen to this.
Once you’ve listened to it, please let me know your thoughts and questions.
ALLin Pod is back after a short break with a two episode mini-series on “God made them male and female”. In this episode we look at the question: “How do you know if you’re male or female?” The answer will surprise you, because it is not nearly as simple as you think it is.
This episode looks at the science, biology and creation facts around gender, sex biology, sexual orientation and a number of other factors that determine male and female. We’ll see that all of these exist on a spectrum, and between 7 and 20% of the population exhibit some mixture of genders based on these factors. In addition to our longest episode yet (at just on an 1 hour), there is a list of highly recommended readings below, and a PDF slide deck to download and follow along.
Our study of the Old Testament verses dealing with homosexuality concludes with a detailed word study of the concept of toebah ( תּוֹעֵבָה), translated as “abomination” or “detestable”. This word is used 117 times in the Bible, and it is very clear what it is referring to… and it is NOT sexual sin.
The ALLin podcast provides resources and insights for Christians who affirm the LGBTQI community. In this episode we look at the two Old Testament Laws that talk about male gay sexual activity. We look at the context, the Holiness Code and ancient Israel’s sexual ethics.
Summary: The commands against gay sex in Leviticus 18 and 20 were given to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land, and they were about the people who already lived there. Look at the first few verses of Lev 18 and 20 and you’ll see clearly that these Laws were about what the pagan nations did in their temples. These temple rituals included tattooing your body, shaving your head and having gay sex with teenage boys. They also included child sacrifice. And God said to the Israelites: don’t do any of these things in MY temple. These chapters in Leviticus are not meant to be a code of sexual ethics for all time, but a specific set of restrictions related to temple Worship in the pagan nations that surrounded Israel. They do NOT apply to gay people today. And they have nothing to say about gay marriage.
Episode 6 of ALLin pod looks at how we should interpret Old Testament Laws. Do they still apply to us, as Christians today? If so, how we do distinguish between those laws that do apply and those that don’t? And what does this mean for the two verses in Leviticus that prohibit “men sleeping with men as they would with a woman”? It’s a longer episode than normal (44 minutes), but well worth this deep dive into how to apply Old Testaments laws in our modern world.
The reason for the interest in this video is that James presents a compelling theory of why we need LGBTQI people in the world.
James presents his theory from the basis of evolution. As a Christian, if you prefer to refer to Creation and God’s choice rather than nature’s choice, it doesn’t change James’ theory. He suggests that at first glance it might seem strange that LGBTQI people exist – they don’t appear to make sense for evolution (or creation and God’s command to reproduce).