Friday, September 05, 2008

Worth checking out!

Hi! I know, it's been a while, and once again, much has happened, including an excellent visit from my whole family a couple of weeks ago. But instead of back-tracking, I want to jump into where I'm at right now, and right now I'd like to make a recommendation.

Sexuality and gender identity have been hot topics lately, especially in the Christian circles in which I participate - at school, at church, at work. Though most Christ followers are well-intentioned (I hope), I've seen a fair amount of violence and insensitivity in ways many of us choose to talk about homosexuality (or same-gender-attractedness (SGA) - a term that I'm really warming up to), and more disturbingly, in the ways we behave (or don't behave) toward same-gender-attracted folks.

If this is on your heart and mind, as it is on mine, or even if it's not(!), I'd like to point you toward a wonderful Canadian ministry I've just discovered called New Direction. Danice told me about them after one of their directors met with her church staff. Their mission: "Creating a safe place for same-gender-attracted people to journey towards wholeness in Christ." Their vision: "That every gay and lesbian person in Canada encounter Christ through friendship with a Christ-follower; and every Christian struggling with same-gender attraction access redemptive ministry in their own region."

Even the language they use in those two sentences is SO encouraging! I find their approach really refreshing. As one person put it on their blog: "discipleship, welcoming and transforming - not rejecting and condemning, or welcoming and affirming...[this is] the harder, more paradoxical road, but one that brings more possibilities for true, deep, and lasting impact through the dynamic tensions of listening, learning, and loving ... without compromising truth."

The key is that New Direction recognizes that transformation is God's business, and love is our business. They recognize that the goal is to introduce people to Christ, not to convert people to heterosexuality. Please, please check them out - at least check out their new blog. I have been challenged and blessed by it.


Anonymous said...

This is really interesting. I've been mulling over Tony Campolo's chapter on Homosexuality in "Adventures In Missing The Point" lately (a must read btw) and wondering why we see certain things the way we do.

Apperantly Ray Boltz is gay. So...go figure.

Anonymous said...

Here's the link to Christianity Today's take on the story, for those who don't want the Homo-erotic Ads from the Washington Blade, but still want to read endless self righteous reader comments.

Sarah-Jane Melnychuk said...

Ray Boltz did come out as being gay in recent times... there's an artical in the "Washington Blade" a Gay Activist magazine published in Washington.

I actually know the founder of New Direction Ministries. I connected with her on-line a few years ago and then I spontaniously took the Greyhound bus to Toronto for an Exodus Global Alliance conference at Tyndale University. And there I met some people in the leadership of Exodus and International Speakers including Sy Rogers.

The Executive Director of Exodus Global Alliance, (who is also the brother-in-law of New Direction Ministries founder Pat Lawrence, who was also herself formerly the Executive Director of Exodus Global Alliance and stepped down from the position about a year and a half ago. -- I've connected with her brother-in-law on-line as well.) He comes to Vancouver for Missions Fest to present Exodus and holds seminars to educate and equipe the church to reach out with compassion and understanding.

There is also Focus On The Family's One Day Conference called "Love Won Out,"

When I was 15 I heard John and Anne Paulk's testimony on the Oprah Winfrey Show. That was the first time I had heard a testimony of healing and freedom from homosexuality. I was fortunate to have heard their testimony, and similar testimony's at a young age. So, while I began to recognize my own struggles in this area I just always heard that there was alternative solution then to embrace the gay identity and lifestyle. And also having a had a sister who knew how to love me and wrap her arms around me as I'd be reduced to becoming an emotional wreck and just cry really really hard and in the midst of that for her leading me to the only one who could truly forgive sins and take away the shame and guilt that come with it no matter what sin.

People get too caught up with trying to address the behavior of the person when really what many people need to know is that God still loves us and is faithful to walk with us in whatever circumstances that we might have to walk through.