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Session 6 of the Open Paris Conference was entitled “Building Bridges to LGBT Youth” and was led by Gemma Dunning, and Andrew Marin.  As usual, as the session is live blogged I apologise for any typos etc:


Gemma Dunning: Powerful clip from Bournemouth Space Project highlighting the issues around transphobia.      Youth group does table football, eat cake, talk, celebrate, cry, do real life.

Andrew Marin: Limited on time today so do check out if you’ve got more questions.

Question earlier this morning about what do you do if you believe differently but still want to love.  But the biggest issue is that we have to agree to have tangible love – that’s not true.  Equally it’s not blase chat, just because understanding of absolute truth might be different doesn’t mean there can’t be truth.

Key questions to ask

Grandma sent Andrew a terrible Christian magazine, never going to read it!  A couple of years ago there was a Billy Graham issue, and interviewed his daughter, and asked her what was her favourite memory of her dad, she said: President Clinton had a sex scandal, he lied about it, and then confessed on national TV, and the Republicans try to impeach him, so he decides to hold a rally for himself, and invite Billy Graham, and get him onto the top table, and maybe all the conservatives would leave Clinton alone.  Graham agrees to do it, someone from the Christian media asked Graham what are you doing supporting this man, and Billy Graham said: “Because it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love, and that’s what I am here doing.”

  • Do I have enough faith in the Bible to believe it is true when it says it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict?
  • Do I have enough faith in the Bible to believe it is true when it says it is the Father’s job to judge?
  • Do I have enough faith in the Bible to believe that I might be able to love people?

Originally, no, no and when I get around to it.  In Church we say iron sharpens iron, don’t judge but we have standards.

Example of Jesus

We haven’t earned the right to sharpen iron in some circles, for example, Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, “you who is without sin cast the first sin”, what did Jesus draw in the sand, it doesn’t matter as Jesus was kneeling and so they had to hit him to kill her.  He said sin no more, but after he’d risked his life for her.  We need to earn the right to speak before we speak.  Absolute truth is an earned right in the pluralistic society, internally it has come through Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Their social, moral baseline is completely different.

Mark 1 Jesus heals a man with leprosy, and he says to hte man don’t tell anyone what I did, go to the Temple and give your offering according to the priests and the law.  Jesus whole life was subverting the old law and the Pharisees, but Jesus told him to not tell anyone, we’d tell CNN, submit to the temple which I will rebuild, submit ot the law even though I’m fulfilling it, give the priests the offering even though the priests will be the same ones who kill him.  Why?  Jesus cared more about cultural capital then about being right.  Jesus took the broader world metric view which cared deeply about the temple, the law, the priests, and placed it upon himself, and says I know what you’re working from, so these are the boundaries I have to work within.

Constant of tension

We place our worldview on others, and say these are the boundaries in which something great might happen in your life.  We need to incarnationally step inside it, using validation and affirmation.

Martin Luther King Jr locked in a jail in Birmingham wrote a letter, which in this letter he said I am not afraid of the word tension, earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive non-violent tension.  Our world doesn’t like tension, we don’t praise God for it, we say we need to get round it asap.  It’s too political, needs to be solved.  How many of us look back, retrospectively to a bad tension.  Growth comes retrospectively.  If we already know this, and focus tension through the lens of how we will growth through it that will help us.

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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