Newbie - looking to learn
Hi, my name is Karl.
I probably don’t fit the usual profile of member for this forum since I am a straight 45 year-old ordained Anglican (Church of England) vicar living in the rural south of England in the UK.
I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember, the product of a Baptist father and ex-Jewish Anglican mother - being taken to Baptist chapel Sunday School from age 3 before joining an Anglican church aged 8 when the chapel closed.
My faith has had many highs and lows in 40 years, even years when I rejected God altogether but He never gave up on me and after returning to church in my mid-twenties I eventually accepted my calling to priesthood and was ordained 5 years ago as a Non-Stipendiary minister – a vicar who works a day job (as a warehouse worker) and serves the church the rest of the time.
I have studied the Bible for some 40 years and have been fortunate to have done so in the company of many learned individuals from a wide background of faiths & denominations such as Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Jewish, etc. and read both Greek & Hebrew.
I have also been blessed to meet individuals like Andrew Marin of the Marin Foundation who’s tireless work in building bridges between the LGBT community and religious & political organisations is an inspiration.
From this background I have developed a theology tending towards liberal and this has brought me into conflict with certain sections of the established Anglican Church. Due to my views on homosexuality NOT being a sin there are a small number of churches within my Diocese who have advised my bishop they will not have me preach or conduct services for them.
It has also led me into conflict with my sole surviving family member, my sister, who is a member of an extremely evangelical free church and who refuses to have any contact with me as long as I hold these ‘heretical’ views.
I hope through this forum to learn more of how the LGBT community is dealing with established religion, the struggles and successes, and hope to share my own experiences which in some small part may help to show that not all mainstream religious leaders are homophobic bigots but that a few of us endeavour to demonstrate God’s love to everyone in equal measure.
Welcome to Soulforce, Karl. You've had quite a journey. I changed some of my views about homosexuality when it was revealed that I was transgender. There's a book available here called 'What the Bible Says and Doesn't Say About Homosexuality' by Mel White. It's a good read. 'Religion Gone Bad' is another excellent book that I couldn't put down.
I pray that your sister will see the light regarding this.
I have just read the Mel White book - it is excellent - and I hope to take a copy with me to my next "coffee theology" session I run monthly with my senior youth group. As you can appreciate the subject of sexuality and religion is one which weighs heavily in the minds of 16-20 year olds.
Unfortunately I am certain that, given the spiritual environment she is in, my sister will never reconcile her differences with me over this matter so I leave this in the hands of God.
I will pray for her. "Coffee theology" sessions! Sounds interesting.
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