That was my initial thought as I read Freedom 2 b[e] :: View topic – …the death of alex…, which came my way through Anthony Venn-Brown’s latest newsletter, though this forum post is itself a couple of years old. The writer is a gay Christian and the occasion of the text was a resignation speech delivered at a Christian school.
I have been involved in Christian education for over 15 years. It has been an amazing privilege to impact the lives of these kids and even more so now that they’re adults as some choose for me to continue to be part of their lives. As an art teacher you have a strangely close relationship as kids grapple with trying to best conceptually express some very personal ideas. Sometimes I feel like a therapist. The opportunity to produce major events and to have artistic licence with crazy creative teams has been fun for me. I really appreciate Sue taking a chance with me with my marketing suggestions and very casually telling the Exec to change the college’s name …and the blank expressions when I told them that their logo needs to be more organic! …and also for trusting me with Senior School and the strong team who has built this big HSC boat and have confidently set sail in choppy shallow water…
I find myself in a strange situation where as a gay Christian in a non inclusive Christian environment, I feel a little like the character Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady where she is from a working class background but trained to mix with the upper class. Towards the end of the story Eliza discovers, to her horror, that now after her training …she doesn’t appear to fit in either group! I have come to the same horrifying conclusion that I don’t really fit in. In the same way, being gay all my life but also a Christian for 24 years, I find that I can no longer live with the internal conflict between my sexual orientation and a Christian culture that views me as sick, dysfunctional or some kind of super sinner…
After 15 years, it has only since being at Charlton, I now realize that Christian education is not ready for the Iain Wallaces [the writer’s name] of this world at this point. I tell others that Charlton has the most caring staff I have ever experienced, but it is actually here that I…
– have been told to word advertisements in a way that gay Christians won’t apply for jobs.
– have been told by a staff member that all gay people are diseased
– have read the hatred of gays in most of the job applications …and we seem to be ok with this.
– have been told by a staff member that all faggots should be shot in the head
As Christians we have been trained to be black and white. The greyer cultural issues of the Bible are treated as some sort of threat. The church has changed its position over the years often embracing a new understanding but never actually admitting we got it wrong. We have to concede that it has not been Christians but the scientists and social commentators who have helped us see new truths about God and the Bible. For example, we know now that…
– mental disorders and epilepsy are not actually demon possession
– black people do not suffer under the OT’s ‘curse of Ham”
– women ‘deserve’ the relatively recent basic privileges of voting, holding office, manage a business or a school, preach or pastor a church.
– the OT and NT’s approval of human slavery is no longer acceptable.
– there are many good reasons for divorce other than infidelity
– killing other people because they worship other gods is intolerable …yet we seem to be more okay with men holding guns than with men holding hands…
As I said, the bleeding obvious. But such things cannot be said often enough.