Home Christian News A Gender-Neutral Homecoming Court? Church Leaders Weigh In on Our Cultural Moment

A Gender-Neutral Homecoming Court? Church Leaders Weigh In on Our Cultural Moment

Clinical psychologist and author Dr. Juli Slattery stressed the importance of recognizing that behind what we perceive as agendas are real people who do not know Jesus. These people are struggling to find peace for their own pain and to help others find peace as well. Regarding bills seeking to protect trans rights, she said, “I think we have to begin with an understanding and an empathy that the reason these bills are coming about is because people genuinely believe that they will bring about human flourishing and happiness.”

And if we remember that we are all sexually broken and that we are all lost apart from the grace of God, those truths will entirely transform how we approach the LGBTQ conversation. “One word really grounds me, and it’s the word ‘humility,’ because humility is really the posture Jesus showed us,” said Slattery. “While humility before God is going to ground me in truth, humility before everybody else is going to ground me as being a gracious person.”

McDowell did acknowledge the “need to thoughtfully and wisely support people who are defending religious liberty.” But for pastors in particular, he emphasized the importance of not just knowing what to believe about sexuality and gender but also of loving the LGBTQ community. “Don’t practice what you preach; preach what you practice,” he said. “In other words, if we want to talk about loving the LGBTQ community, go out and find people wherever they are in your community and build relationships with them, and not as a project.” 

You might have no idea how doing so could change your outlook, said McDowell. He told us that a friend of his who is a youth pastor was completely changed when he started getting to know and to love LGBTQ kids. “Honestly,” the friend told McDowell, “I actually was homophobic. I didn’t realize it, but God broke my heart for these people cause I saw these kids suffering.”