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Monday, June 29, 2009

Bridge the Gap Synchroblog

My post today is part of a larger initiative of more than 50 bloggers all sharing their thoughts on how to ‘bridge the gap’ between the straight and gay Christian communities. You can check out the other links at: www.btgproject.blogspot.com

I have been incredibly slack and am a little late but I encourage you to check out the great work of "Bridge the Gap". They have a wonderful dvd project to encourage evangelical Christians to listen to some other sides of the "gay" story.

Here in Newcastle, NSW I have been holding the germ of a Christian discussion group at the city's gay bar. This Tuesday we begin a fortnightly Bible study as an inclusive Christian study group to supplement the discussion group project. The plan is to form the nucleus of a group that will be the basis of an inclusive Church.

Always in my ministry my heart's desire is to positively connect with those outside of the church. The gay community has been pushed away from God in many ways and my desire is to find ways of engaging in conversations about God and authentically loving people of same-sex orientation.

Please check out "Bridge the Gap" and the other wonderful synchrobloggers. Some people might say that I am focussing too narrowly on a specific group. My Masters thesis will be looking at a positive perspective on same-sex orientation and so I can understand the concern but I feel a strong calling to reach out missionally to a group of people who have been marginalized and who need to know that God loves them passionately.

Please pray for the project here in Newcastle. I have a small nucleus but few resources and would value support however you may feel called to do that. Please pray for this ministry and if you can help with purchasing books for my Masters study through Amazon then I would welcome the assistance.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Study Direction

I am 3 subjects into an 8 subject Masters but there seemed to be a potential stumbling block in terms of my tentative proposal exploring a reframing of same-sex relationships for helping evangelical Christians (primarily in Australia) to come at the issue from a more wholistic, ethical perspective and not simply from the issue of semantics and hermeneutics.

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with the Professor of Theology at Newcastle University, John McDowell. John is Northern Irish and has spent the past few years lecturing at Edinburgh University. At the beginning of this year he took on the role of establishing the new theology department at the university.

John and I got on very well and he is interested in, and supportive of, the basic proposal for a doctoral thesis. I have to stress that it is very early days and we are currently in the process of establishing the best method for me to get on a track that will lead to a PhD thesis.

I will cease my current Masters of Theology because there is not sufficient connection for a transfer. I will commence the Masters at Newcastle Uni specializing in Religious Studies. This is a purely research-based Masters. John has tentatively suggested that I work with Moltmann and Bonhoeffer in formulating an ethical thesis for approaching the issue of supporting and affirming same-sex relationships from a Christian perspective.

I will use the Masters to become more familiar with the nuances of Bonhoeffer's work and then if the research is progressing satisfactorily I will be able to move onto a PhD late next year. I am very excited about these developments and feel God's purposes are being worked out in my life. I have a strong desire to develop a professional academic and teaching role as well as the missional ministry through the pub.

If anyone has significant knowledge of Bonhoeffer or helpful resources please let me know.

Thank you all once again for your love, interest and support.