Revoice 2019 Workshops

By Rev. Thomas Littleton                                                                                             4/18/2019

Revoice 2018 was  a major story and raised many concerns in the Evangelical Community  because of its new/ radical language and the leadership for it being provided by recent graduates of both the Southern Baptist (SBTS)and Presbyterian Church of America’s  (CTS) flagship seminaries.

The new web site updates for the Revoice 2019 event are up and open for public view . Here a just a few for consideration . Little commentary is needed .

https://revoice.us/

Coming out as a gay pastor

What does it look like for a church not only to embrace gay people in their congregation but also to include them on their staff? Jeff and John share from their experience of creating a church culture where John was able to come out to their congregation as a celibate, gay pastor. Together, they reflect on the principles and practical steps that led up to John’s coming out and the spiritual impact this has had on them and their church.

Queer Culture: Missiology and Contextualization

In the beginning, God created human beings in his image and commanded them to, among other things, create culture (Genesis 1:26-29). At the end of time, diverse worshippers from around the globe and throughout time will bring “the honor and glory of the nations”, and their cultures, into the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:24-27). In the meantime, followers of Christ are faced with the task of approaching every human culture with wisdom and hope, discerning what is to be rejected, redeemed, or received with joy (Acts 17:16-34). When we consider queer culture through this biblical lens, what “honor and glory” do we see? How might God, through the beauty already present in queer culture and the faithful witness of his people, enrich the Church and bring more people to Himself?

Non-Traditional Families Are Biblical Families

What does family really look like in the Bible? Contrary to most contemporary teaching, family goes well beyond a dad, mom, 2.5 kids and a picket fence. In this workshop, we will briefly examine non-traditional families in scripture and talk about how non-straight Christians can find family in a variety of ways. From fostering to adoption to community living, family is available to us all.

Becoming Churches where Gay Christians can Thrive in Celibacy or a Mixed-Orientation Marriage

Even if churches speak carefully about sexual ethics and offer gay Christians compassionate pastoral care, gay Christians often don’t have an answer to their biggest question: How will I find family? The Church has historically offered Christian marriage between a man and a woman or singleness for the sake of the kingdom as the two paths for stewarding our sexualities. But, are those paths currently working for gay Christians? Are our churches places where gay Christians can actually thrive in either of those vocations with reasonable effort? This workshop will explore how our churches can become places where gay Christians thrive in celibacy or a mixed-orientation marriage. We will explore practical steps pastors can take to teach what the Bible has to say about celibacy and marriage, help teens and young adults discern God’s call for their life, support gay Christians as they step into celibacy or a mixed-orientation marriage, and continue to celebrate their callings.

The Intersection of Race and Sexuality: God’s Call to Humility, Love, Justice, and Service

The call to Christian living demands that we pick up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow him. This is no small ask when you mix the hurt, pain, anger, and bitterness of being a sexual minority with being a racial and/or gender minority. It is indelibly even more difficult as a racial minority feeling underrepresented or even having the sexual minority experience  compared to that of your own. Regardless of race and sexual orientation, we have an undeniable call to make Jesus preeminent in our lives and ministries, for the common good and justice for all.

On Being Sisters, Brothers, and Friends to Sexual Minorities

How can straight Christians who hold a historic biblical view of sexual ethics provide much-needed support and encouragement for sexual minorities in our churches and communities? In this workshop, we’ll share stories of giving and receiving this type of “allyship.” Together, we’ll reflect on what these stories can teach us about the barriers and opportunities that exist for straight Christians willing to risk entering a difficult arena for the sake of their gay, lesbian, bisexual, and same-sex-attracted sisters and brothers. We’ll grapple with our own experiences, hopes, and fears, and wrestle with the question of how God might call all of us (gay and straight and everything else) into risky, unapologetic love for others.

My Journey to Integrity: How an Ordinary Guy Came to Understand He Can Be Gay and Christian

Do you ever wonder how one person can be present in two worlds? How can we hold together two ideas that seem to be opposed to each other? How do we live in integrity when presented with such a challenge? As a lifelong and committed Christian who also knew he was gay, Scott Herr would often ask those same questions. He never knew the answers until the Lord helped him to understand. In this workshop, Scott will share his story of coming to understand how to live in a place of integrity as both a Christian and a gay man.

Gay Girl, Full House: Living in Christian Community as a Nonstraight Person

Two years ago, Meg packed her bags for a cross-country move. As a young Christ-follower discerning a call to celibacy, what could it possibly look like to find love, commitment, and purpose in this new chapter?

Meg began studying historic expressions of Christian community—and was inspired to try something counter-cultural. In a faith-filled experiment, she signed a lease with a family of four and two other singles committed to following Christ together.

Join Meg to consider a biblical vision for spiritual family that is radically inclusive, uncomfortably diverse, and surprisingly practical.

Fighting for Fullness of Life: Emotional Health as Sexual Minorities (for Men)

God created us to live lives of passion, purpose, and delight, but shame, fear and loneliness too often rob us of this fullness of life.  These two workshops—one for men, another for women—will discuss the unique causes and consequences of shame, fear and loneliness for sexual minority believers, while exploring ways to combat these experiences and live life to the full as God intended.

Life after Spiritual Abuse

Healthy relationships support thriving and flourishing. Abusive, neglectful relationships crush the spirit. Though abuse is painful and can be crippling, it doesn’t have to have have the last word. This workshop will be a place where we talk about the nature and characteristics of spiritual abuse, specifically as it has been inflicted on LGBTQ+ individuals, offer hope and guidance for those seeking to find their way out of spiritually abusive dynamics or recover from previous abuse.

Sexual Minorities and Ministry: “Already” Kingdom Living in the “Not Yet” World

There is a lot of discussion in the Church today about ministry to sexual minorities, but what does ministry with sexual minorities look like? How can we provide helpful pastoral care while encouraging sexual minorities to discover ways in which they too can love and serve in their churches? What role is there for the unique experiences and gifts that sexual minorities bring to the table? How do we live in the difficulty that comes from being gay and Christian while serving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as a living testaments of the work of the Holy Spirit?

Join Stephen and Christina—who are both actively involved in fostering supportive community for sexual minority Christians in the St. Louis area—as we discuss a community-based ministry model that provides compassionate, biblically-based care to sexual minorities (the “not yet” reality of the world we live in) while also encouraging and equipping sexual minorities for their own ministries and callings in the Church and world (“already” Kingdom living).

Mission and Sexuality

In 2 Cor. 5:20, Paul says “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” What does it mean to be ambassadors to the LGBT+ community in 2019 and beyond? What does it mean for those of us who experience same-sex attraction to be ambassadors for Christ? We will think together strategically, missionally, and biblically about these questions, so that you will leave with practical ideas to implement in your context.

Parents and Families Focused Interest Track

When LGBT+ loved ones come out, parents can experience shock. Fear and grief can disable their initial reaction. Emotions erupt. Hurtful words spill. Relationships can become disconnected. Meanwhile, in the church, LGBT+ people often face impossible hurdles and suspicion about their faith. One courageous disclosure can be met—at home and at church—with a response that communicates, “We don’t understand you.” Bill’s resource, Guiding Families, offers a relationally honoring, biblically sound best practice care plan. Learn from other parents who were surveyed on insights they have gained walking this journey ahead of you. This focused interest track is designed for every pastor, every parent, and all who care for LGBT+ loved ones.

Stranger Things Have Happened! — Exploring God’s Goodness in Mixed Orientation Marriage

On one hand, mixed-orientation marriages are just like other marriages. On the other hand, they provide an opportunity to explore God’s goodness and faithfulness through unique joys and struggles while bucking cultural norms. In this workshop, we will share our story; the gifts, the laughter, and the tears we have experienced over the last 24 years of marriage.  We look forward to your questions. And we will explore the unique gifts mixed-orientation marriage bring to the church and broader community.

My Story Is Sacred

They say that testimony is the most powerful way to move hearts and bring people to Jesus. But sometimes we share our stories and they’re retold by others in a way that might not fully capture the heart of our struggles and how God has been working in us and through us as gay/SSA Christians.

How can we authentically share our stories, without them being appropriated, in ways that help churches and families understand and love us better in our unique journeys? Join Ray for a workshop on how to write and tell your testimony in a way that promotes compassion, challenge, and call to action.

 

Sexual Minorities and Ministry: “Already” Kingdom Living in the “Not Yet” World

There is a lot of discussion in the Church today about ministry to sexual minorities, but what does ministry with sexual minorities look like? How can we provide helpful pastoral care while encouraging sexual minorities to discover ways in which they too can love and serve in their churches? What role is there for the unique experiences and gifts that sexual minorities bring to the table? How do we live in the difficulty that comes from being gay and Christian while serving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as a living testaments of the work of the Holy Spirit?

Join Stephen and Christina—who are both actively involved in fostering supportive community for sexual minority Christians in the St. Louis area—as we discuss a community-based ministry model that provides compassionate, biblically-based care to sexual minorities (the “not yet” reality of the world we live in) while also encouraging and equipping sexual minorities for their own ministries and callings in the Church and world (“already” Kingdom living).

Loneliness and celibacy: A death sentence or an opportunity?

Many people today would say that celibacy is not a sustainable path for anyone, let alone gay, lesbian, bisexual, and same-sex attracted Christians. But when it comes to research, we know very little about the experience of celibacy for Christian sexual minorities. Stemming from a qualitative study done by the presenter, this workshop aims to shed light on the experience of celibate Christians with same-sex desires, and identify helpful/unhelpful coping strategies that individuals have turned to when faced with loneliness. This workshop will also make space for dialogue and sharing insights about managing loneliness. Is singleness a death sentence? Is there a viable pathway forward where you can thrive, even if marriage is not in your future? What would that even look like? Together, let’s find out.

Ecstasy in Celibacy

Contemporary American culture—very much including Christian culture—finds it hard to understand celibacy as anything other than a deprivation. And lots of us also experience celibacy as mostly deprivation, rather than an arena for love. In this workshop, I’ll look at Christian history, theology, and art, in order to suggest ways in which celibacy offers unique forms of openness to love, intimacy with God, and witness to Heaven. I’ll also share my own story of discovering beauty in celibacy even though I never wanted it—if celibacy is a “gift,” I’ve finally stopped looking for the returns counter.

Experiencing Intimacy with God & Others as the Antidote for Shame in Your Sexuality

Experiencing shame surrounding your sexuality isn’t a ‘maybe’, it’s a given. So how do we wrestle well with being ‘out’ in our faith communities even when we experience shame messages, misunderstanding, and loneliness? Ty will give real life examples from his journey and those he has counseled as to what it looks like own your sexuality (even the messy parts) and show up in relationships w/ God & others—being known, experiencing intimacy, and walking free as a son or daughter of God.

Learning to Understand, Support, and be Enriched by Celibate Gay Christians

This workshop will discuss clinical and life applications of the new research of 300 celibate gay Christians described in the book Costly Obedience: Listening to and Learning from Celibate Gay Christians. We will focus on strategies and insights that mental health counselors, pastors, and family members should know as they engage in support and discussions with Christian sexual minorities who are considering or pursuing the life of celibacy. The diversity of this population in terms of their definition of celibacy and decisions to pursue mixed-orientation marriage as a part of same-sex celibacy commitment will also be discussed.

( This workshop is by Mark Yarhouse research partner : Dr. Olya Zaporozhets is an associate professor in the School of Psychology & Counseling at Regent University and is a Director of Research at the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity. She is a co-author of the book Costly Obedience: Listening and Learning from Celibate Gay Christians that included the survey of about 300 celibate gay Christians and interviews of people who serve them as families.  She has also directed the analysis of qualitative data from 200 interviews of Christian parents whose children came out as LGBTQ, which led to several publications and national conference presentations.)

REVOICE  2019 REVELATIONS

The above workshop titles and descriptions do provide a window into the goals of Revoice 2019 and into the  “LGBT Lens ” through which the conference is presenting it’s views related to the church and LGBT issues.  There are more on the Revoice website and likely more information will be added by the organizers .

 

WHY THIS EVENT AND THE MOVEMENT BEHIND IT MATTERS TO THE CHURCH

Revoice a movement and not a one time event . The assertions made in the presentations here and in 2018 are based upon the presumed existence of homosexual or LGBT “Sexual Orientation ” which is derived in large part from the American Psychological Association and the interfaith /religious studies for applying there conclusions in Counseling across the broad spectrum of faiths. The research by and for Christian application which is developed by Mark Yarhouse and his associates is outlined in the above paragraph and is admittedly very limited in the number of people involved and begins from both APA and an interfaith perspectives . Its most objective conclusions would still not be faithfully applied to a Biblical understanding of faith and Christian conversion based upon repentance and faith and a new identity based solely on Christ indwelling Spirit in the heart of a person who is ,in the eyes of historic Christian faith , a “New Creation ” where old things are passed away and ALL things have become new. II Corinthians 5:17.

The Revoice movement and others like it are promoting something the Bible does not provide classification  for or confirm the existence of . There is no Biblical basis for LGBT, “Queer “, Gay or Transgender Christianity.

Whether Christians today are willing to accept of deny these new terms as faithful to Biblical salvation is not yet clear. What is now clear in the 2019 Revoice conference is Mark Yarhouse presence as a keynote speaker and the continued assertion across the workshop topics – that Gay or LGBT Christianity  is being  promoted to the mainstream Evangelical community . Also it is clear that these influences behind Revoice have deeply impacted our seminaires .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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