A Shift. And It’s Not About Theology.

There’s been quite a stir lately.

North Point Church hosted the Unconditional Conference, put on by Embracing The Journey, a ministry serving parents and leaders wanting to restore relationships between LGBTQ+ individuals, their families, and the church.

Whereas Andy Stanley (@andy_stanley) and others have taken most of the heat, recent controversy was around myself and Justin Lee (@geekyjustinlee) two gay married men presenting.

Soon after the conference, Andy gave a sermon that defended the importance of the conference, while presenting what his church teaches and how they care for LGBTQ+ kids and their parents.

In regards to the critics, I don’t have much to say. I do think it’s poor form to mischaracterize people and a conference based on bias and limited research. And it’s not accurate to claim a theological corner on the market when there are varied scholarly thoughts and people seeking what is right and true.

I mostly have little to say because what the critics perpetuate is the wrong conversation, or at least a lesser one. This conference elevated the conversation, setting aside theological differences to explore matters of empathy, healing, reconciliation, and Christian duty.

In my session, I shared my experiences with faith and family, then hosted a panel of LGBTQ+ people who did the same. We presented no particular convictions around sexuality or marriage. Instead, our objective was to build empathy and hope. The long line of parents to connect with us afterwards was a good sign we accomplished that.

The lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people have long taken a back seat to rhetoric and debates. This conference chose the opposite, and gave us a voice. I’m proud to have been a part.

Since, I’ve reminded myself and others that the noisy news is merely a distraction, and does not represent the majority nor who we serve. Most all of us are somewhere in the quieter middle, seeking to reconcile our beliefs and our love for LGBTQ+ people. You are in great company. Don’t let the headlines fool you.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Where such a wonderful opportunity, and responsibility, awaits us.

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