A plea for inclusion

Jan 9, 2018 by

by Ian Paul, Psephizo:

In response to my observation’s about the contradictions and inconsistencies in the Ozanne Foundation and its supporters, David Bennet, a gay celibate Christian, makes this appeal. David is originally from Australia and, having studied at Oxford, he is now undertaking research at St Andrew’s, Scotland.

As a gay celibate disciple of Jesus Christ, my first reaction to the creation of the Ozanne foundation was that it will most likely be a new effort to resist, persecute and reject celibate (or ‘Side B’) gay Christians (these include many who are in happy Mixed Orientation Marriages, missional communities, and living lives of joyful celibacy). We are a new generation that doesn’t carry the same baggage and who have come through in a context where we are loved and celebrated by our local congregations, even if we are often hated by the world. Unlike an older generation who dealt with real homophobia, and the idolatry and brokenness of the ex-gay movement in the Church that elevated heterosexuality, we have come to a far more complex and nuanced understanding of both our faith and same-sex desire. We chose to side with the Church’s historic teaching articulated, for example, in the St Andrew’s Day Statement, which is authoritative, orthodox, biblically profound and guards against the unchristian thinking that is knocking on the door of the Church to secularise it.

I fear that allowing a foundation to be established by the central administration of the Church indicates a failure to stand up for the thousands of young disciples of Christ within its walls who are silently hoping the Church will put an end to this pain-driven and polarising activism, and provide a model of flourishing for us and healty conversation between Side A and Side B. This polarisation has only been harmful to our generation, feeding off the old-hat conservative/liberal divide.

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