Interlinc's a great youth ministry organization -- and they're also one that leans more to the conservative side. So publishing this article (granted, alonside several articles that present the issue from a much more conservative viewpoint) is a big thing. It definitely acknowledges the need for conversation on the wedge issue of homosexuality.
From the Interlinc blog:
Here's the article I wrote -- it's on page 18:
You probably won’t agree with all or even many of these viewpoints or opinions… but that’s okay, we don’t either. But we simply thought that as you help your kids deal with a sexual culture spiraling out of control, having a big list of resources (from ministries, news, research and others) would be a good idea. We want you to be aware and we want you to be prepared (as much as we could find).
Faithful and intelligent Bible scholars don’t always agree on Biblical interpretation. Concerning wedge issues like homosexuality, folks share passionate rhetoric and experiences on both sides. It seems that it is not only difficult, but also seemingly impossible to have a conversation about homosexuality without emotions flaring. Among Christians there are vastly different opinions about the subject. No matter what the side, those speaking are sure that their interpretation is the correct one.
And this article and this magazine aren’t going to settle any debate on the issue.
Instead, I’d like to suggest that although the church is very skilled in the emotional debates and the all-too-often caustic language about homosexuality, we have also marginalized and missed out on the opportunity to minister to some wonderful people.
We need to change. We need to reach out and invite young people who identify themselves as homosexual into our youth groups. We need to remember that the rule of love trumps any conviction on the issue of homosexuality. We need to remember that God is the one who changes hearts and minds. We need to remember that God’s time in changing hearts and minds is rarely synced with ours. And we need to be ready to welcome those youth into our youth groups exactly as they are.
Some I’ve talked to worry that welcoming – with no agenda other than love – homosexual youth is impossible with existing church policies. We need to change that, or at least start talking with church leaders about the policies.
Others I’ve talked to are worried that welcoming – with no agenda other than love – those youth opens the door to, among other things, same-sex couples in youth group. My usual response to fears like this one is, “Open, frank, and age-appropriate talk about sexual issues is something I think belongs in youth ministry, but I don’t want any students who are in relationships with each other to be displaying their romance to the rest of the group. Girls are pink; boys are blue. No purple, okay? And for that matter let’s not have any hot pink or dark blue, either.”
To welcome with love as the only agenda will be easier for some than others. The desire to bring in an agenda on any side of the issue will be strong. Please remember, however, that in youth ministry we aren’t ministering to issues or settling debates. We are sharing God’s love with God’s precious children. No matter whom we have in youth group, we must remember to treat God’s children with the love that we experience in Jesus.
I think that’s the way we should minister to all youth.