Same sex conversion
An anonymous visitor to our church website had a look at my talk from 5 years ago, "Spiders' webs and skeletons
" (part of the Six on Sex series) and left the following comment and question:
"I have been in a gay relationship for over 15 years. I wholeheartedly believe in Jesus Christ. I want to come to your church, and appreciate the fact you welcome everyone. However, I don;t want to come to your church if your aim is to subliminally try and convert me somehow. How can I be assured that you will not do this? I love Christ and we should all be celebrating and embracing Christ together. And me showing love for another human being (despite him being a man) should be seen as a positive thing - because that is exactly what it is".
Here is my response:
Hi, this is David Flowers replying. I am not sure quite what you mean by “convert” although I am quite sure that we are not trying to do anything “subliminally”!
To convert someone, in the traditional sense, means to lead them to a decision to follow Jesus. Frankly, that is our main business – it is not subliminal at all. We believe that Jesus is the only hope for a broken world and we are completely committed to sharing that message with as many people as possible. It’s at least 50% of the reason for Leeds Vineyard being here.
However, as you say that you believe in Jesus already, I suspect that by “convert” you are referring to an attempt to convince you that you are not gay. Or maybe that you assume we think of same-sex orientation as an illness that needs to be healed.
I can promise that I will not try and “convert” anyone in this sense – and I really hope that no one at the Leeds Vineyard would try to do so either. You will have read about my convictions in my various papers and podcasts but one of our values here is that people are encouraged to make up their own minds - so not everyone agrees with me on these things. And that’s OK. It means that people will hold a range of opinions on same-sex attraction.
Nevertheless, I hope that would never give rise to a clumsy (or even subliminal) attempt to force an opinion on another, far less to “convert” someone’s gender orientation (either way!).
If you do decide to visit, come and say hullo, I would love to meet you.