Bridging to Other Cultures and Belief Systems
     Blessed are the peacemakers..the art of bridging

Whether you call it peacemaking or bridge building it is never an easy task.  
When Jesus said these words :"
Blessed are the peace makers.." in
Matthew 5:1-12, He was talking to an oppressed nation that hoped Jesus
would be the promised one who would throw off the oppressors and bless
them.  Instead He called for peace.  

When I talk about bridge building I am talking about building or facilitating a
bridge of respect and understanding between us and those who believe
differently than we do.  In order to be effective ambassadors for Christ
(which is what we are called to do) we must seek to understand the culture
and mindset of those we are speaking to.  This is true whether we are
talking about difference in nationality, race, religion, or orientation.
This requires dialog and understanding. All too often our understanding of
another people group is slanted by a lack of information, misinformation,
and stereotypes.  As Christians we should not allow this to happen.  Today
we would call this prejudice or bigotry.  James called it favoritism and warns
us against it (See
James 2:1-4)

When I refer to peacemaking or bridge building with
lgbt individuals I am
talking about a bridge of compassion and mutual respect between Side A
and Side B.  Side A and Side B are neutral terms used to describe two
sides in the question of homosexual sex and sexual morality and are
derived from
Bridges across the Divide and GCN. The purpose of bridging
is to provide a gracious atmosphere of respect and understanding where
people can come to faith in Christ and, if they are already a Christian, grow
in Christ.   

A description of the Sides follows...

Side A:  These folks believe that same sex individuals can have a sexual
relationship together. Similar to some straight Christian folks, some believe
in waiting until marriage or a committed relationship for sexual relationships
.. others do not.

Side B:  These folks believe you can embrace same sex attraction and /or
gay identity but do not believe that same sex sexual relationships honor
God.  Lgbt individuals who believe this either live a celibate life or have a
heterosexual marriage (sometimes called a mixed orientation marriage).  
They also may have a committed same-sex relationship but not have sex.

Side C: These folks are either not sure what they believe about the
issue or are uncomfortable with defining their view point as one or the
other.

I give more details and theology concerning the sides in the  
For the Parents
Page and the For Sons and Daughters.

Methods

Usually on the issue of homosexuality, people use one of two approaches
described as 'methods'. See below (derived from
Bridges Across)...

Method D:   Many on both Side A and Side B are opposed to our ideal of
respectful relationships and dialogue. Some of them think that such respect
is impossible to achieve, others feel that extending that respect to those on
the other side is wrong. The resulting dynamic is one which (in our opinion,
unfortunately) plagues most discourse on the moral/political issues
surrounding homosexuality today.  (This method is not the philosophy of this
web site) For more details on this Method click
here.

Method E:  Supporters of Method E do not deny that our disagreements
with the other side are serious and profound. Some may view the other side
as promoting evil and/or destructive practices and beliefs. To be Method E
is not to be naive about the other side, nor is it to be lukewarm about one's
own convictions. It is, rather, to insist upon acknowledging and respecting
the humanity of those with whom we disagree. As a Christian I feel that
Jesus' teachings about loving our enemies and blessing those who
persecute us call us to reject the approach of Method D in favor of this
method.  For more details on this Method click
here.


Some basic common guidelines for bridging to other cultures / belief
systems follow..

1.  Every human being is of immeasurable worth and deserves to be treated
with respect.

2.  We are definitely against any violence or inflammatory language towards
each other.  

3.  Dialogue involves careful listening (as any counselor would tell you).  We
must listen carefully to one another and not make assumptions that we know
what the other person thinks and feels.

4.  Although we do disagree sometimes quite intently on some issues, we
oppose attacking others through innuendo, slander, or violence.

5.  The best way to get to know one another,  respect one another, and learn
from one another is through providing a safe harbor for all who visit here and
also for all we may meet out in the world.  
Coming Out for Christians