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Displaying all posts tagged "Sexuality".
January 30, 2015 | Jeanna Boase
The Colossian Forum’s work was recently recognized by a brief mention in Time magazine. In her article “A Change of Heart,” author Elizabeth Dias writes that we’re working with Justin Lee and Alan Chambers to “help evangelicals warm to the gay conversation.” This comment is so brief—and so easily misunderstood—that we thought we’d take a moment to clarify why we’re so excited about our work with Justin, Alan, and many other friends on these issues. It’s true that The Colossian Forum is heavily invested in helping the church engage difficult conversations, and questions surrounding homosexuality top most folks’ lists. The nuance that perhaps got missed is that our work isn’t about helping the church move towards a particular stance on gay marriage. Rather, we’re focused on helping the body of Christ, in community, to hold this difficult conversation in a way that builds up rather than tears down. This means that voices on the left and the right get heard and the brothers and sisters on the left and the right learn to love one another while still holding firm to their convictions. We’re firmly convinced that our differences on this issue do indeed offer an occasion, albeit a difficult one, for us to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. It’s exactly here that we learn to love each other with joy, peace, patience, and so on (Gal. 5:22-23). As we hold to our convictions—though they differ widely—we have the unique opportunity to also hold to the deep truth that in Christ “all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). In the summer of 2014, we hosted a weeklong Colossian Forum with Christian scholars and leaders on the topic of human sexuality. Some of these leaders rarely have opportunities to speak forthrightly from their very different convictions, to listen carefully to each other, and to worship our one Lord together. As part of that event, we invited local Christians to join us for an evening of worship and conversation. Our participants continued their exchange in this public setting, without any script, but with faith overcoming their trepidation. It was far from perfect, of course, with creaky floors and glaring lights serving as backdrops to painful questions and sometimes strained responses. We’ve still got a lot to learn and more voices to include, but in the midst of it all, the Holy Spirit’s presence was evident and it was a remarkable evening. As participants worked to extend grace to one another, even while maintaining strongly opposing viewpoints, the fruit of the Spirit was on display in beautiful ways. And because of it, the audience got to see something different from the typical FOX/MSNBC bickering: brothers and sisters in Christ modeling his love across their disagreements, thereby pointing to something deeper and richer than either one side or the other could have alone. The folks who attended the event as observers overwhelmingly described this as a positive first step, a faithful model of engaging difference as an opportunity for discipleship rather than a threat to our faith. Their experience encourages us to make footage of those evenings available as an introduction to our work. These films aren’t perfect, just like the events weren’t, but then, they’re not about us. They’re about the Holy Spirit who displayed himself in the midst of the broken yet incarnate body of Christ—the church, and we dare not hide this light under a bushel, even though it will inevitably draw fire. Despite the humble nature of the films, I think you’ll agree that they reveal the Holy Spirit doing something new, making possible a strikingly different way to engage these contentious issues, one which may help us all warm to a conversation that draws us into deeper, faithful discipleship!
Prayer Letter, September 2014
September 4, 2014 | Lori Wilson
Prayer Letter, September 2014
Then he said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." Exodus 3:5 In this week’s lectionary reading, Moses steps off the path to investigate a perplexing sight: a bush that burns but is not consumed. As he approaches, he hears a warning, and realizes that this odd and perhaps frightening vision veils the voice of the God! In some ways, a TCF forum isn’t all that unlike Moses’ odd desert experience. We invite our participants to step “off the path” of the usual and customary ways of disagreeing. We venture onto uncharted ground, hopeful that amidst the dry sands and crumbling rock of conflict, we might encounter the transformative presence of God. And like Moses, we often hear the voice of God calling out to us in surprising—and sometimes disconcerting—ways. During this last month, we hosted a gathering to explore Christian faithfulness in the midst of significant tensions about human sexuality. Not surprisingly, this conversation took us well off the worn path of the experience of many in the church today. The pain and confusion on all sides of this topic sometimes threaten to overwhelm. During our time together, however, it became increasingly clear that God is calling the church onto holy ground: into deep trust that we will not be consumed or destroyed by this, but instead transformed into deeper holiness. As a wise friend of TCF recently observed, “A safe space is not the same thing as a holy space.” We are grateful for this group of remarkable Christians who together took courageous steps onto difficult but holy ground. Thank you for praying with us as we venture into holy spaces.  
Resources to Explore: Christian Faithfulness & Human Sexuality
August 16, 2014 | Lori Wilson
Resources to Explore: Christian Faithfulness & Human Sexuality
The Colossian Forum has spent the last week with a variety of scholars, pastors, teachers, and leaders, engaging hard questions about human sexuality. For many, engagement with these issues is fraught with difficulty, confusion, frustration, and disagreement. As Christians continue to engage with these issues, however, it will be very important to understand and converse with a variety of perspectives and people, so that we can know better how to reach out together to our world with the Gospel. To this end, we have asked the contributors to this gathering to recommend for us some of their personal books, websites, and resources in engaging with faith, science, and culture on these hard questions. As you will see, these resources represent a broad variety of Christian perspectives. We share them with you as an encouragement that the church can enter into this conversation without fear, testifying to the truth that somehow, this too “holds together in Christ.”  Ron Belgaucityofgod.netspiritualfriendship.org Alan Chambersalanchambers.org Christopher Damianspiritualfriendship.orguniversityideas.wordpress.comWendy Gritternewdirection.ca Harold Heierespectfulconversation.netEvangelicals on Public Policy IssuesWesley Hillspiritualfriendship.orgWashed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality Justin Leejustinlee.cogaychristian.netTorn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-Vs.-Christians Debate Tim Ottoorientedtofaith.comOriented to Faith: Transforming the Conflict over Gay Relationships Mark Yarhousesexualidentityinstitute.orgfacebook.com/issi.siteUnderstanding Sexual IdentityHomosexuality and the Christian  This guest post was contributed by friend of TCF Christopher Damian, who graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2013 with a B.A. in philosophy. He currently serves as a Terrence J. Murphy Fellow at the University of St. Thomas, where he is pursuing a J.D. and an M.A. in Catholic Studies. He has broad and varied interests, including the history and philosophy of education, Christian philosophy, political theory, sex and sexuality, virtue ethics, professional development, and the new legal economy. He has written for Spiritual Friendship, Ethika Politika, The Intercollegiate Review, The Observer, The Irish Rover, Millennial Journal, and Crisis Magazine. In his free time, he enjoys playing piano and writing reviews of coffee shops in the Twin Cities area.

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