Some years ago I discovered that my son is gay. We came to different understandings of what the Bible says on this topic. This in no way dented my love for him, and in many ways deepened my admiration for his amazing example of Christian discipleship. At the same time parts of the church were falling prey not only to division but at times to vitriolic and un-Christlike behaviour in response to this topic.
This book is an exploration of how Christians can live with deep disagreements. It is about what is important to a healthy church (and society) in rapidly changing times when anger and division are the easy and common responses. Starting with how Jesus lived, the books examines what it means for individuals, and for a church to be Christlike.
What does it mean to say that Jesus was fully human? Unless we give this it’s full weight, how can we realistically be expected to follow Him?
Why did Jesus invite obedience, but never coerced it? Should the church ever take on the role of a law enforcer? Can institutions be Christlike? Does a multicultural and diverse society illuminate understanding of the Bible? Is there a healthy place for human anger? What is truth? Is it ideological, or is it personal, and what are the implications of all of this for politics and civic life in an age of populism?
It is far too undemanding to seek simply to be ‘right’. We aren’t called to be ideologues, we are called to be Christlike. Grasping this afresh will help us be good news, not only to gay and straight people, but to all sides in the growing ‘culture wars’, and to those weary of ‘religion’.