Cross-Culturally Gay

Heather Newell is a guest writer whose voice we’re honored to share. You can read more about Heather in her bio at the end of the piece.

I spent over a third of my twenties living, breathing, and working in Rwanda, the small East African country known for its delicious Arabica coffee and the horrific 1994 genocide. Dubbed the “land of a thousand hills” Rwanda is inexpressibly stunning with its ornate, rolling green tea plots, bean fields, and banana plantations.

The beginnings of my life in Rwanda took place in an Eastern rural village that valued fresh milk, fat goats, Sunday visits to family, and most prominently, God. The United States Peace Corps decided I would be a good fit for this community as an English Secondary School teacher.

More than a culmination of projects and classroom lessons, my life in Rwanda probed me in pursuit of self-identity as I re-visited questions of my sexual orientation. Despite an unshakeable knowing of who I was since a young girl, I was too fearful to live authentically as a gay woman. I spent years of layered, internal resistance to “being gay” and hence, ignoring and denying that I might have been born differently than my friends, neighbors, and much of the population of our world.

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A LOVEboldly Thanksgiving

loveboldlythanksgivingThe previous few weeks have been difficult and heavy. I’m sure that, like me, many of you have been bombarded with story after story of injustices, hate-crimes and hate-groups, and fear, sorrow, and outrage in the wake of the election.Right now, it’s harder than ever to have real, honest, productive, civil conversations about topics that divide us. However you voted, or didn’t vote, perhaps your heart, like mine, has been heavy as you’ve watched folks around you respond in ways that don’t seem much like Jesus. Right now, it’s harder than ever to have real, honest, productive, civil conversations about topics that divide us. And now this week we prepare to gather to give thanks around a table with family and friends, who perhaps have wildly different viewpoints than we ascribe to, or who have hurt us with their words, or worse – have disinvited us from the table altogether.

The importance of creating spaces to have meaningful conversations on divisive topics is felt more profoundly today than what most of us can ever remember. I am reminded how vitally important our work is. God is still at work with us. He is transforming lives with these dialogues. I’m convinced the path ahead, while tough at times, is all the more necessary for us to navigate.

The importance of creating spaces to have meaningful conversations on divisive topics is felt more profoundly today than what most of us can ever remember. On Friday, we held a public dialogue on faith, sexuality, and gender identity. The presenters held vastly different viewpoints – from conservative/traditional to progressive/liberal. But we all came together, as Christian brothers and sisters, to turn our hearts and minds towards how we can find ways to move forward together. The experience left me reminded of the great hope that we have in a Savior that moved into our neighborhood when we were still his enemies. I pray that we might find ways to move toward one another in the midst of conflict, rather than away. If you need some encouragement this week that this sort of relationship-building and sustaining is possible, you can watch the recording of the event here.

There is much for us to be thankful for this year, but most of all I am encouraged by each of you who remain in conversation with us. As we quickly approach the close of this year, I hope you will consider a year-end gift to support our work. We need your support in these conversations now, perhaps more than ever.
Grace and Peace,
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Heidi Weaver-Smith
President & Founder

A Response to Intervarsity

ConsiderThis

Last week, my friend Veronica approached me about writing a piece on the Intervarsity “theological purge” controversy.  Veronica, as you will learn below, was deeply involved with Intervarsity for several years and is a great advocate for her LGBT+ friends.  With feet in both worlds, the news has affected her personally, and because I found her response to be helpful and insightful, I’d like to share it with you today.  As part of our Consider This Perspective series, Veronica’s views shared here are her own, and we are glad to share them with you.

By: VERONICA TIMBERS
Editor: HEIDI WEAVER-SMITH
Recently, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship USA, an organization that works in campus ministry, missions, and publishing, announced a policy that would result in hundreds of individuals losing their jobs for having a theology that affirms same sex marriage.

The news appeared in Time, where journalist Elizabeth Dias reported that Intervarsity employees who support gay marriage or disagree with the organization’s new theological position on sexuality would be fired starting in November. Employees are expected to out themselves on the topic, initiating a two-week termination process. Dias calls the situation a “theological purge.”

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