The YMCA and LGBT – thank you
I was the Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs 2011 – 2018. One of the potentially divisive challenges of those years was the LGBT – issue. Being an ordained minister of the Lutheran Church of Norway, I was passionate about the need for justice and full dignity for all our LGBT members. As I took office in early 2011, I initiated a process to lead the organisation to a transparent and clear conclusion to this issue.
Instead of leading a public discourse like so many other organisations did, with heated debates and hurtful formulations leading to unnecessary controversies and trauma, I invited the General Assembly of the global YMCA to appoint a group of representatives from all parts of the world and from all sides of the debate to establish a Safe Space group with time and space to work on these issues and to recommend solutions to the next General Assembly.
I already knew Anthony Venn-Brown of Australia personally. In my mind, he would be the ideal facilitator for this extremely difficult process.
Being a member of this Safe Space group myself, I could observe how this very diversified group of people felt at ease with Anthony’s facilitation, how the process went from phase to phase often with smiles and laughter, and often with deep emotional engagement, all due to the personal skill sets and values Anthony Venn-Brown represented.
After the first session of three full working days, the group was established, had found its methodology and trust and confidence was built, enough to bring the group forward to a phenomenal result a few years after.
The world’s largest Christian youth organisations had reached consensus to say:
Therefore – the YMCA movement is open and inclusive of all people regardless of their ability, age, culture, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and socio-economic background.
The long-term result of this process for the global YMCA movement is an unprecedented level of inclusivity of minorities and a clear and conscious stand against discrimination and racism of all kinds.
Anthony played a significant role in this process, and on behalf of the Global YMCA Movement, I wrote to him after the process had led us to a great result:
«Dear Anthony, I have a lot to thank you for. You should see your vital contribution to this and rate it as one of your great contributions to LGBT and the Christian communities. You opened a lot of doors and hearts and made this outcome possible.»
Hi Anthony, as a heterosexual born again Christian I took up your challenge to listen to alternative views and I have listened to both your audio messages you have posted. Firstly I wanted to say Thankyou for your honesty when sharing your story of shame and pain your adultery caused. I have no doubt you love your ex-wife and children and as the goal of our instruction is love, this is commendable.
Frankly I did find your teaching a bit sketchy, but perhaps it was for a Christian audience that condemn homosexuals for their orientation as distinct from the sin of homosexual acts. No Christian who understands the grace of God condemns the sinner for his sinful nature , for we are all fallen sinners saved by grace, un-redeemed man by nature is a sinner. So you are correct in pointing out the common fallen state of man for all humanity and so we, as forgiven , receiving the free grace of God also express that same grace and love of God to our neighbour, whatever their sexual orientation. May I suggest that you read “The Prodigal God” by Tim Keller. Although you may have experienced the wrath and judgement of the religious Elder Brother, you misinterpret the Prodical love of the father toward the younger son as having no atoning cost and turn the gospel into cheap grace message of “God is love and love is love”
The amazing grace if God cost him everything! Consequently those who encounter the crucified Christ have an immediate understanding that our response can only be everything! This includes our sexuality, sexual appetites. As a heterosexual man, this required celibacy prior to marriage and being faithful to one woman after marriage, despite the temptation to do otherwise by thought or act. I am unclear how your struggle with sexual sin is any different to the heterosexual? Lust is lust and Jesus provides the power to overcome , transforming us from slaves to sin to slaves to righteousness! How wonderful to be free of lust! Thank you Jesus!
You made it clear in your audio that you draw the distinction between homosexual orientation vs homosexual acts, but you were unclear in your audio if you , as the bible is clear, that homosexual acts are sin. No one is asking you to deny your orientation sexually or in what direction you are tempted, but as a Christian why don’t you take the higher path that others have done and become a Eunuch for the Kingdom. I have a heterosexual brother who chose that and a homosexual brother who did that. I also applaud Sy Roger for his stand , ok let’s face it, No one I knew thought he was really “straight” as in no longer had homosexual temptations , but he had the courage to not be identified by his past sin , or defined by his sexual orientation , rather by Christ.
I believe the biggest problem that the LBGI….. community has is that they are all caught up in their sexual orientation or gender expression as their identity, when an encounter with Christ smashes it all with the identity of a redeemed son. Ever since the fall man has been lost and searches for meaning and identity through idolatry. Everyone worships something and sadly your message supports the idolatry of self. Interesting that Pride was the original sin of Eve that “you can be like God” and I find the same message is dominant in the LGBTQ community where you are encouraged to explore your sexual and gender expression.
I may have misinterpreted you and you are a celibate christian with homosexual orientation , in which case , keep fighting the good fight.
I realise that many in the LGBTQ Community never will step into church because of the judgement of the elder brothers, but the ones I talk to have never heard the true gospel of a Prodigal God who runs to embrace them, then puts on their robe and signet ring , removing the satanic lie that they need to continue to be identified by their sin and they are transformed into sons who are free to be holy as their Father is holy. Sadly, I meet many others who want to be “spiritual” but not transformed by Christ. Jesus said that if anyone would follow him he must take up his cross , deny himself and follow. A cheap grace false gospel leaves out the deny bit! The gospel is for all, Jesus loves all and died for all, but equally He rightfully demands all. The amazing wonder is in dying, putting to death the old man , you are born again by His Holy Spirit and you are empowered to live a holy life of peace and joy , free , so free , from the bondage of sin!
When you say homosexual act. What are your referring to?
“the bible is clear, that homosexual acts are sin”. The Bible is clear about a lot of things. Homosexuality is not one of them as I pointed out in the audio you listened to.
thanks for listening and for taking the time to comment.