Musings and Prose of Greg Gough

An opportunity to experience my world

Thoughts on bridging two communities

Posted by ggough56 on June 24, 2009

Today I am participating in the “Bridging the Gap Synchroblog,” which means that I and about seventy other bloggers will be addressing the same issue of how to bridge the gap in our conversations with people about faith and sexuality. Be sure to check out the links to the other participating bloggers at the Bridging the Gap blog.

My interest in bridging goes back several years and starts with myself.  You could say that it started with me; it started with bridging within myself.  Having not come out until I was 24 and coming from a background that was fairly conservative, the notion of living as a gay Christian was unheard of.  In 2002 all of that changed.

What became important for me was having peace with each of these parts of me that wanted to take ownership of me entirely.  At some points it was trying to push down any sort of gay identity in hopes of having my faith soar and take over.  At other times it was allowing my gay identity to speak a whole lot to me and let my faith take a back seat.  I suppose that this echoes what I’ve seen in the cross-cultural debate, namely the broader gay community and Christian community.

While it’s true that not all gay people have difficulty accepting themselves and feeling accepted by others, it’s also true that many people in the Christian community don’t have difficulty accepting gay individuals.  I do feel that there are certain voices in both communities that claim to represent the whole and that do not, but that is another issue.

With respect to bridging, I’ve found that knowing the people with whom you’d like to put at a distance and disconnect from is powerfully humbling and extremely difficult.  Finding myself in both communities I see the reality of taking it day by day and challenging myself to accept the Christians that have difficulty with me because of my orientation and letting them be where they are and who they are.  Similarly, I can find it difficult to find acceptance among the gay community when you don’t subscribe to exactly the same philosophies and beliefs that they do about who you are as a Christian.  That I must believe a specific set of creeds in order to be at “peace” with being gay and being Christian is preposterous.  It actually sounds like another version of something that happens in the more fundamental and conservative traditions of Christianity.

I’m starting an organization called, Bridge Evidence Group (BE Group) and our focus is to help individuals and communities transform while focusing on being tangible to each other across this divide.  We want to create evidence of this transformation and tangibility in their lives.  I use the word create because what’s often lacking in bridging the gap is the understanding of newness.  The understanding of entering into a different space, a space that you have created for yourself or that others have created for you.  In that space you can become transformed and become tangible.  Some may not go beyond the conversation and discussion, but we want to create space for that to happen.

The body of Christ is profoundly transformed in Christ and we also become profoundly tangible in Christ.  I believe that Christ was the ultimate of becoming a bridge between any number of things that have gone to great extents to keep themselves separated.  Christ exemplifies bridging two communities.  I would argue that any connection in peace, joy, patience, grace, humility and love is afforded by Christ.  That He is in all and through all.  If we can create evidence of this within our own lives and communities, then we are joining in the expression that he has called us to.  Christ in us is what allows us to become united with what we have become so divorced from.

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