hey have you seen the NALT site yet? what are your thoughts?
To introduce this post I will let the man who inspired the project, Dan Savage, explain the background of “NALT” and the premise of the project:
I was also intrigued that Truth Wins Out, and a man named Jim Shore (I don’t know much, if anything really, about Mr. Shore) are the founders of the NALT project. Wayne, the founder of TWO, gave me my favorite activist-assigned title, “Exodus Spokes-Virgin.” He’s a clever one …
From the NALT website:
The purpose of the NALT Christians Project is to give LGBT-affirming Christians a means of proclaiming to the world—and especially to young gay people—their belief and conviction that there is nothing anti-biblical or at all inherently sinful about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
So back to the question; what are my thoughts about this project? I watched 13 of the current 20 videos and this post is my first response. I will briefly share my concerns and my hopes. Don’t be tempted to get bogged down in the concerns, and please read all the way through the hopes too .
My concerns are that this will turn into another activist organized effort of one group of Christians lecturing another group of Christians about what the “authentic” gospel is about, and how it applies to those of us with same-sex attractions. Sure some within the religious right has played the lecturing role very well, and probably deserves a bit of turnabout. However, those tactics aren’t life-giving, “bridgerly”, or new no matter who utilizes them. Simply stated, my concern is this might turn into a new face of the same old culture war. I am encouraged by some of the videos so far that this would be kept in check, but we will see.
My biggest concern is that the Gospel not be lost in the argument over who the “real Christians” are. As someone who was once caught up in activist talking points contextualizing my faith (from the “right” and yes I unfortunately allowed them that access), I am sure many in the videos would agree with my concern. We can all learn from the mistakes made within the religious right; a culture war talking point contextualizing the gospel is not *the* Gospel. For the Christian of any persuasion, the message is the need for humanity’s Atonement, the New Covenant, and the finished work of Christ; the Great Commission, our message, is the Gospel.
Of course not all Christians are exactly alike, but the Gospel is unchanging, the same for everyone, and available to all. Will we talk about Jesus Christ or make proving ourselves “right” on this very important issue the top priority?
I am not just saying this because the NALT project is drawing from the “inclusive” realm of Christianity. I am saying this because there is no attempt to hide that this is an activist organized effort (not that they should hide it.) I am in no way saying that these particular activists raise my concerns for simply being who they are, and doing what they are doing. I just know from personal experience what it is like to morph my testimony to fit a talking point, and talking points often constrain or distract from the broader and more important Message.
To learn more about the people in the videos.
I actually subscribed to the NALT YouTube Channel because while I don’t agree with some things shared, I love hearing first person stories. A large majority of what I heard was simply first person testimony, observation, and opinion. I love that! … especially if it comes from the heart. It doesn’t matter if I agree or not, it is interesting, informative, and humanizing. I consider it an honor to hear someone else’s story.
My hope is that those who are in the videos, would feel like they have been heard. That they may help some people caught in deep despair over the issues to find their home in Christ.
As I wrote on this blog before, when I was a homeless gay teen … God *did* use a Christian who happens to be a Drag Queen, to help save my life. I didn’t become a Christian in that moment, but this compassionate friend was the first loving witness (in words and deed) I had met in my darkest hour. I would have *nothing* to do with the “moral majority” type crowd, but obviously God is not constrained by any crowd. The 19-year-old Randy would have found a glimmer of hope from this project, and would ask these folks about Jesus long before anyone else. And because He loves and works with me, I know God can use whomever He pleases. I pray for His will, and His love letter sent in the person of Jesus, to manifest among the people (Christians or not) involved with NALT as they engage those who contact them.
I can’t agree with a few of the things shared in some of the videos, or their scriptural views on some of the issues at hand. That does not stop me from praying that these siblings in Christ will be able to help people know how deeply loved they are by God. That He seeks an honest two-way, and personal relationship with them.
A few years ago I would not have gotten past the first video. I would have scoffed, and gone back to braiding Karl Rove’s hair. Just kidding, the old fuddie-duddie never let me do that. But today, I am able to watch these videos without any angst or filtering for offense. I love the grace and peace of Christ … very freeing.
It is my genuine hope that NALT is not a new face on the old culture war. I do hope it will be an opportunity for those involved, or reached, to encounter Christ for the first time, or on a deeper level, right where they are at. He is already there.
I actually pray for that new or deeper encounter for all Christians. This side of heaven is a constant adventure in His grace .