Vaughan Roberts on why the church sucks at talking about homosexuality

Vaughan Roberts is an evangelical. An Englishman. A minister at a growing church. He’s also same sex attracted. He recently revealed this in the foreword to a book he wrote, then he put out a press release and did this interview.

He’s a man who speaks with clarity, and sensitivity. He brings a much needed perspective (particularly needed in the English Anglican Church).

You can read big chunks of the release and interview at David Ould’s fantastic blog… but I particularly liked this answer to the question of why the church communicates a negative message on homosexuality. The whole interview is a worthwhile read.

“The problem is largely caused by the fact that most of our comments on homosexuality are prompted, not primarily by a pastoral concern for struggling Christians, but by political debates in the world and the church. We do need to engage in these debates, but it’s vital that we’re alert to the messages that some of our brothers and sisters may be hearing.

Media reporting often doesn’t help and can give the impression that we think this particular sin is especially heinous. Also, in countering the simplistic binary model of the world that people are either born gay or straight (or, occasionally, bi), we are prone to make overly dogmatic comments ourselves about causation and cure. These can be heard to imply that homosexual attraction is just a matter of personal choice. This only increases the sense of shame already felt by those who experience unwanted same-sex attraction and can leave them with the impression that this is a battle that is not safe to share with others in the church. I have become convinced, therefore, that we need not only a greater openness in discussing issues of sexuality, but also a more positive vision and presentation of the nature of faithful discipleship for those who struggle in this area.

We need to be better at this.