Supporters encouraged to challenge the Nashville Statement
OneBodyOneFaith notes with grave concern the issuing of the so-called Nashville Statement by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, based in the US. The Statement has been signed by over 150 conservative evangelical leaders, overwhelming male, and including fewer than five based in the UK. It asserts a fundamentalist and uncompromising perspective on both gender and sexuality, one which dismisses LGB people, trans and non-binary people, and those who identify as intersex. It hurts and harms those of us who know ourselves to be uniquly created and loved by God, a God who is revealed, and delights, in the diversity of our humanity.
For those of us who have lived as LGBTQI people in and on the fringes of the Christian churches, very little in this Statement comes as any kind of a surprise - but it is nevertheless difficult and painful to be presented with such views, neatly packaged as the last and authoritative word on the matter. It is helpful to be able to identify those amongst us who hold and affirm these views - and we need perhaps to acknowledge their courage and clarity in standing up for their beliefs. But they are also to be challenged and called out by those of us who belive they are wrong, and who know that their words cause damage both to individuals and to the mission and witness of a church which seeks to live out the compassionate and radical Christian inclusion at the heart of the Gospel. That is, very clearly, where OneBodyOneFaith stands.
There have been a huge number of responses to the Statement online - from John Pavlovitz' helpful anaylsis of the Statement in the context of contemporary US culture and politics, to Nadia Bolz-Webber's Denver Statement, crafted with and by the LGBTQ people in her own church, and Roman Catholic James Martin SJ's affirmations which you can read here. If you find yourself unsettled by the Nashville Statement, make sure you prioritise your self care by connecting with some of these many, many affirming responses online, and by keeping connected to your own networks of support.
If you feel angry about the Statement, there are numerous ways you can respond. OneBodyOneFaith has signed a Statment by Christians United, initiated by Brandan Robertson and with the support of Steve Chalke in the UK, and we encourage our supporters likewise to sign. You can find the statment on the Christians United website here. Please share, and encourage others to sign too - and let people know about your signature online, and on social media. It's just a signature - but it means a great deal to young people and those in the process of uncovering and inhabiting their identity.
And then - the work goes on. The work of building a church and a community where people are no longer exposed to this harmful and discredited theology, and all alike are enabled to flourish, and to proclaim that the Christian message really is good news - for everyone.