"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" – John 3:16
This is the book which was selected for our book club this year. The author, Ed Shaw, who is the pastor of Emmanuel City Centre in Bristol, experiences same-sex attraction. He wrote this book to share with us his story and also to explore the missteps in current Christian approaches to homosexuality.
Misstep 1: “Your identity is your sexuality”
The ways we define ourselves or other people define us matters because we tend to live out those identities and it can restrict our openness to the potential of change. So instead of such labels as our sexuality, our job, our role in the family, it is important to remember we have our identity in Christ. God says it himself that we are his perfect child (Ephesians 1:4-5), Jesus’ holy sibling (Hebrews 2:11), one of his heirs (Galatians 4:7), precious and loved by him (Isaiah 43:3), his image-bearer (Genesis 1:27).
– Remind ourselves of our new permanent status in Christ rather than any other worldly labels.
– Ask ourself how we are going to live our lives as children of God.
Misstep 2: “A family is Mum, Dad and 2.4 children”
Jesus defined his family as those who follow him rather than those who are related to him (Matthew 12:46-50). Unless we take Jesus’ definition of family and really live it, it could make the single life incredibly lonely.
– Start by talking to people of different ages and life situations to find out what they most need and appreciate.
– Acting like a church family doesn’t necessarily add a whole host of new things to the “to-do list”; it just means involving your brothers and sisters in Christ in what you were planing on doing anyway.