…I’m going to be a guest speaker at an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group on Grove City College campus.
I’m kinda freaking out. In a good way.
Grove City College is a conservative Christian institution. Their LGBT student group, Rainbow Bridge, has been denied official recognition and is not allowed to even put up fliers advertising off-campus get-togethers. The Princeton Review currently ranks Grove City as the #2 most “LGBT-unfriendly” college in the country out of their list of top schools. (Only Wheaton, another Christian college, is ranked more unfriendly to LGBT students.)
Likewise, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a popular and widespread Christian campus organization, doesn’t have such a great reputation with LGBT students. As I understand it, the organization’s official position is that gay sex is sinful but that merely being gay (attracted to the same sex) is not. However, I’ve spoken to a number of students who tell me that in many chapters, that’s not the message they’re hearing. Many students tell me that merely identifying as gay was enough to get them ostracized in IV and other similar groups. Then, of course, there’s been controversy in the past when IV leaders were asked to step down if they identified as gay and/or expressed doubt about the organization’s position on homosexuality.
So it’s kind of amazing to me that I’ve been invited to speak to an IVCF group on Grove City College campus, as an openly gay man.
Not only that; I’ve been asked to speak specifically about why I’ve come to different conclusions on this issue as a Christian.
This is pretty darn amazing to me, and it represents something important. The students in these institutions want to understand those who disagree with them. I’m not being invited in order to change minds about what the Bible says; rather, I’m being invited to build some bridges and increase understanding between two groups of people who have become increasingly suspicious of one another.
Do you know how rare it is for a group to invite a speaker to talk about an issue they don’t agree with him on, just to broaden their understanding of another group of people? Folks, that almost never happens. Major, major kudos to the IVCF students at GCC for boldly reaching out in love.
And that puts the burden on me to show that level of respect right back. This isn’t my chance to be subversive and make shocking statements to shake things up. No, this is my opportunity to respectfully help this group of students better understand those who disagree with them, and offer them ways they can build bridges even in the midst of their disagreement.
Those of you who are Christians, I’d appreciate your prayers. If this goes well, it could really open some doors.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do my happy dance.