There is more than one way to skin a cat

25/06/09
My post today is part of a larger initiative of more than 50 bloggers all sharing their thoughts on how to ‘bridge the gap’. You can check out the other links at: www.btgproject.blogspot.com

are things we are all familiar with if involved in the Homosexuality/Christianity debate.
But which side am I speaking about?
Well it actually happens on both sides of the debate. Something new is happening though. An increasing number of people want to dialogue. More and more people are sitting down at the table to talk, having coffee, chatting over a meal, meeting behind closed doors, communicating via email. The major difference being that questions are being asked, people are sharing their stories and most importantly others are listening. It's a new day.
Why is this happening?
The increasing visibility of gay and lesbian people, their relationships and families has contributed greatly to the breaking down of stereotypes and misconceptions of same sex oriented people. We are out in the workplace, out with our families and loved ones, we are out in our churches. You see it's much easier to hate someone you can't see. Before Stonewall and law reforms it was essential to remain closeted as disclosure of ones sexual orientation meant imprisonment. In most countries around the world this is no longer the case.
Creating a space for change
After the release of my autobiography 'A Life of Unlearning' in 2004, I became a contact point for many 100's of people whose stories had not been told. The emails I received were heart wrenching and ignited a passion to make a difference and see what I could do to end the unnecessary suffering of so many GLBT people from church backgrounds. Too many lives have been lost through suicide, people traumatized and others estranged from family, friends and churches.
Being a new kid on the block I could see that some methods used to try and create change actually reinforced stereotypes. A THEM and US entrenched model appeared to be the order of the day. I created a model to work with that was more in line with my personality 'Creating a Space for Change' and so far it has produced some almost unbelievable results. I've often said the enemy is not individuals, churches or political parties the enemy is ignorance and the first thing we need to tackle is attitude and not theology. When a person's attitude is loving, compassionate and respectful then it is much easier to listen and talk.

It's working
In 2004 people laughed at me when I said the Pentecostal world will change their views on homosexuality .By creating and informed respectful dialogue some of things that have been achieved are:

It's easy to blame and accuse. It takes time and patience to create a dialogue. If it took me 28 years to resolve my faith and my sexuality (and I'm gay) then I have to allow my heterosexual friends some slack and give them time to sort things out. It won't happen though without dialogue. So I guess my question to you today is WHO WILL YOU INVITE TO THE TABLE?